Marketing is all about messaging. It is about brand
promotion and meeting customers where they are. These days, people are stuck at
home in self-isolation as we collectively attempt to defeat COVID-19. Does that
mean we marketers stop doing what we do? Absolutely not. It only means that we
adjust our strategies to account for current circumstances.
As you might have guessed, digital marketing is now more
important than ever before. Now is the perfect time to seize those digital
marketing opportunities you have been thinking about but have not yet acted on.
Now is the time to develop new digital marketing strategies as well.
Shifting to B2B Clients
Business-to-business (B2B) organizations tend to put a ton
of their marketing resources into live events. They invest in conferences,
trade shows, and the like. Well, those live events are now virtually extinct.
Those who would have attended them are stuck at home. This is an excellent
opportunity for digital marketing.
Efforts that would have gone into public events can now be
directed toward digital marketing. Those same B2B clients can be targeted via
social media, blogs, guest posts, and videos. Buyers can learn about products
and services online in the absence of trade shows and conventions.
Plan for Different Scenarios
The most successful marketers in the 21st
century rely on customer personas to give them an idea of what target audiences
are thinking. Let us take that to the next level and apply it to digital marketing
in the COVID-19 era. Rather than customer personas, think customer scenarios.
Imagine the marketing team taking a good look at every
customer and every active campaign. Imagine them considering multiple scenarios
for each one. In a best-case scenario, one client is likely to do X. A
worst-case scenario would probably cause another customer to do Y or Z.
Developing customer scenarios allows for better planning.
It also allows for responding more quickly when those scenarios do play out.
Work to Build Trust
Times of crisis tend to erode consumer trust in brands.
Perhaps this is because their trust in government and institutions is also
eroded. However, marketers do not have to stand pat and allow that erosion to
continue. During times of crisis, marketers
should be working harder than ever to build trust.
How do you do that? By developing customer-centric
marketing campaigns and backing them up with unparalleled customer service that
makes people feel valued. Right now, the most important marketing messages
align closely with traditional family values. When we begin to emerge from
COVID-19, customers will be looking for more positive messages that speak of
the importance of local, small businesses.
Companies with voice of the customer (VoC) programs already
in place should listen extra carefully to what customers are saying about their
circumstances. The absence of a VoC program should be all the motivation
companies need to develop one.
Accommodate Operational Changes
There is an old industry joke about marketers promising
the sun, moon, and stars without any regard to how such promises are kept.
Marketers cannot afford for that joke to have any basis in reality while we
struggle with the COVID-19 crisis. They must accommodate operational changes in
In short, messaging should not promise what a company
cannot deliver. There are going to be supply chain disruptions for the
foreseeable future. There are going to be layoffs and staffing shortages. Cash
flow is going to be reduced. All of this points to marketers having to temper
their messaging so that they are not promoting unrealistic expectations.
By the same token, digital marketers have the opportunity
to combine their messaging with additional messages of hope. They can use
social media channels to share positive information and encourage people to
hang in there. They can let customers know that, despite operational changes,
all will eventually return to normal.
Concentrate on Content
More than ever before, marketers should be concentrating
their efforts on creating the best possible content. More people being stuck at
home means more opportunities to reach a larger audience. But it also means
more marketers competing for the same audience. As such, strive to do more than
just create content. Strive to create compelling content.
Compelling content does not have to be controversial,
scientific, or academic. It can be anything from lighthearted encouragement to
thoughtful analysis. What makes content compelling are those characteristics
that make people want to consume it.
This is one area in which digital marketers have struggled
for years. Many marketers are particularly good at understanding audiences and
choosing marketing channels. They are not so good at actually creating
compelling content. There is a solution, though: turn to professional content
Content creation specialists are more important now than
ever before. As marketers embrace the digital arena, they need the assistance
of those who know how to create compelling content. This is no time to keep
Ramp up Social Media Campaigns
Hand-in-hand with compelling content is social media.
Those of us in the digital marketing sector have known of the power of social
media for years. Now those companies that have pretty much avoided digital
marketing have to be brought into the fold. They have to be introduced to
Facebook, YouTube, etc.
Never forget that people put a lot of stock in social
media impressions. What impresses one person gets shared to dozens or hundreds
of others. With every share, the audience multiplies exponentially. Thus, it
should be obvious that social media marketing should be a priority right now.
As the months pass, we will see gradually more social
media competition among the major political campaigns. Just five months from
now, we will hopefully not be talking about COVID-19 any longer. We will be
talking about presidential politics. Now is the time to seize the opportunity
to get into social media and start promoting one’s brand.
COVID-19 has certainly changed the way marketers do
business. It is turning brand attentions from non-digital marketing to digital
spaces. It is up to us to make the most of it.