You are not alone if you feel like you cannot escape news
the COVID-19 crisis these days. The crisis is dominating every water cooler
discussion, every newspaper headline, and every cable news broadcast. It is even
influencing how we marketers do our jobs.
First, we want to encourage our fellow marketers not to
abandon marketing out of a sense of guilt. Business activity must go on or the
economic damage of COVID-19 will be far worse than the harm to public health.
We marketers must do our part to keep the economic engine chugging along – even
if at a slower pace.
To that end, we have put together a collection of do’s and
don’ts related to COVID-19 marketing. Hopefully they will offer you some much
needed guidance as we navigate a crisis unlike anything most of us have seen in
Do Focus on Local Needs
It is true that the COVID-19 pandemic is global in nature.
However, anxious people are not thinking about their counterparts on the other
side of the world. They are thinking about how the crisis affects them and
their families. As such, local information is far more important to them.
Now is a good time to focus marketing efforts primarily on
local audiences. Content should meet people where they live. It should provide
them with relevant information for getting through the crisis at home.
Do Focus on Helping
One of the benefits of a free market economy is that
businesses can use their resources to promote the common good. During this
time, marketing with a focus on helping people is ideal. Helpful marketing
provides people with important information. It steers them to those products
and services they will need to avail themselves of throughout the crisis.
Do Not Jack up Prices
Unfortunately, there are always those unscrupulous
business owners who prey on people during times of crisis. Do not be one of
them. Do not jack up your prices beyond what is reasonably necessary to cover
your own costs. Price gouging is not good marketing; it is exploitation. And
make no mistake about it, companies that exploit COVID-19 for their own gain
will suffer for it in the long run.
Do Not Spread False Information
Another thing that marketers should not do is knowingly
spread false information. For example, telling people that a daily dose of
vitamin C will protect them from the coronavirus is a bad idea. There is no
scientific evidence suggesting as such. Do not spread false information as a
means of selling products and services. Again, doing so is not marketing. It is
Do Adjust Your Content
The vast majority of online marketing centers around
content. During times like these, it is more important than ever for marketers
to adjust their content accordingly. Now is not the appropriate time for content
that divides or points political figures.
Adjust your content in such a way as to guarantee that it
contributes positively to the current situation. For example, set the scathing
op-ed’s aside for now and produce helpful ‘how-to’ articles that offer readers
proven tips for coping with lockdown. That is the kind of information people
need right now.
The wheels of business cannot grind to a complete halt
over COVID-19 if we expect to have any economic strength on the other end of
the crisis. As far as we marketers are concerned, our contributions to local
and regional economics continue. But let us do everyone a solid by adjusting
what we do in accordance with current circumstances. As long as we are going to
market, let us do it right.