Marketing strategy during the Coronavirus.

I don’t need to remind you of the current situation we are in and, as a marketer it may feel odd trying to sell to people whilst the whole world is engulfed in this pandemic. However, if your business is experiencing a downturn in sales and you’re wondering how you can help, then now is your chance to show your worth and develop the Marketing Strategy to support your business during the Coronavirus. Here are my top 4 tips:

marketing strategy during the coronavirus
  1. Whatever you do don’t reduce Marketing spend.

This may be a tricky one to convince the MD that marketing spend should remain the same – or dare I even say it, increase – when they may be watching sales diminish, having to furlough staff and close the shop doors. But right now, the last thing you want to do is take the foot off the marketing pedal. If you remove yourself from the game, it will take you a lot of effort to recover when this all passes. There have been many studies that evidence the correlations between brand spend, share of voice and performance in previous economic crashes such as the chart below. 

Kantar brand recovery statistics
Kanar – Brand recovery following 2008 financial crisis.

But to summarise the key findings, brands that continued to spend on marketing during a downturn, recovered 9 x faster than those that do not. Continuing to advertise through the crisis will be key to recovery and long-term growth.

2. Shift from performance to brand building.

So, marketing must go on – but now is the chance to review your choice of channels. Cinema advertising is clearly a no go, and Outdoor and Radio spend has tanked as we’re all indoors. But that’s not to say that you should totally discount these channels, there is probably a good deal to be done – just remember your likely audience will be keyworkers on their way to work or Joe Public on a supermarket dash so be sensitive to what their mindset maybe. 

With us all stuck in our homes the volume of online activity has soured, whilst at the same time, due to the number of brands pulling out of advertising, the online inventory is at a great price. Therefore, focusing spend on digital channels is an obvious choice. But as much as performance tactics are still relevant, lower your expectations of click through rates. People just don’t feel like buying right now. Instead, use that budget to build positive brand perception. Invest in the channels that allow you to connect to customers in a way that makes them feel better about what’s going on and is helpful to them. Social media, blogs, newsletters, PPC and display all have a place here. But don’t forget we’re also watching much more TV, listening to podcasts, reading the papers so these remain good channels too. 

3. Narrow your focus

Now is not the time to be all things to all people. It’s correct that “this too shall pass” and we will leave our homes and go back to our places of work, the kids will return to school and “normal” life will resume. But this pandemic will no doubt be followed by a period of economic recession. So now is the time to think about who your best customers are, how the crisis may be affecting them and direct your attention to ensuring that they remain with you when we all come out the other side.

3. Get the tone of message right.

Brands will be remembered for what they do now and how they make the customer feel at a time when they are feeling anxious and scared. Building awareness and associations that don’t look crass will be important. You don’t need to bang on about the Coronavirus – but be even more sensitive to how your customers maybe feeling. I like the following quote from System1 – a company that track how the Coronavirus has impacted consumer feeling & behaviour around the world

People will want brands to be generous, modest, self-aware, have a sense of humour and demonstrate spontaneity. Orlando Wood, System1

It’s also a good idea to think about what kind of content you could create that would be amplified by those that have an influence on your customer – eg journalists, social influencers etc. Look for the content sweet spot where you all share an interest and create content around those things. Remain human in your communications, your fans love you because you share the same values so bring these out in a variety of ways.

So right now, when all feels a bit weird take the time to focus on what value you can add to your business in refocusing marketing. If you need any help, a fresh pair of eyes or simply a sounding board for your ideas then give GingerTree a call. We’d be glad to help.

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