Marketing in Coronavirus Times is getting more difficult than ever. The virus affected not only people and healthcare but it also profoundly changed the way brands think about marketing and communication and deal with them.
Marketers have to rethink their marketing strategies. The emergency is changing everything and, in particular, is forcing us to re-think the marketing strategy to adapt to the Coronavirus time.
There is not only social distancing and hand washing to consider, but also the way economy – and, in our case, marketing and communication – will respond to this emergency.
Since now, marketing has been a dichotomy. There was online marketing, and there was offline marketing. Right now, because of the worldwide situation, marketing is mostly online, and this caused quite a bit of change.
There is no use in denying that Coronavirus put a lot of brands in a challenging position. A lot of them saw their profit fall, especially tourism and events companies.
How Marketing Audience changes in Coronavirus Emergency
Our audience has changed too. We have no idea if this change will last forever or not, but it is clear that we have to deal with it right now.
At the present moment, the physical communication has become (even more) digital, and marketers and brands have to deal with it.
COVID-19 is hard to deal with, but what happened to market strategies and brands? And what is going to happen in the future? Nobody knows, but right now, we can try to deal with it in the best way possible, changing our habits and bracing ourselves for the time of the return to routine life.
Crisis times are a great moment to reflect on your communication, make it even better, and plan how to behave when the problematic moment is over.
So, today we discuss ten tips for a smart, COVID-proof marketing strategy.
10 Tips To Have A Smart Marketing Strategy In Coronavirus Times
Check marketing campaigns and scheduled editorial calendar
There is nothing worse than bad timing. As marketers, we all love the chance to schedule our work. We can plan anniversary posts for all the year-long advertising campaigns for a client, even our entire communication, and then simply forget about it, focusing on more important and urgent things.
It usually works like a charm. But now we are not in usual times, and we have to act carefully and rethink about what we planned when our life still was normal.
First, a good marketing strategy in Coronavirus has to include a double check on what is going to be published.
Control if something is inappropriate for the time. Clean up if possible, or otherwise, turn down.
You have to decide if some campaign or advertising pieces have to stop immediately or if you can still make them work, but be careful to imagine all the possible scenarios. When in doubt, cancel it and do it again from scratch.
However, canceling the campaigns altogether may not be the only workable solution.
For example, you can rearrange them to make them usable for this moment, or make them a way to spread your news messages – see below to know more about it.
Also, you can anticipate a more appropriate campaign that you had planned to air in July.
The only way to make it is to check, check, check again, and then rearrange!
It is a delicate time already. You sure don’t want your customers to remember you for an inappropriate campaign about a discount on the tickets for a music festival in May, right?
Adapt your Marketing Strategy to Coronavirus tone of voice and topics
One of the signs of a well-crafted brand is the capacity to adapt, even with the tone of voice and topics.
Such a delicate moment asks for more delicate behavior from all of us, marketers included.
Communication includes several shades, and you have to control them all if you want to adapt it to COVID-19 times.
Rethink about your tone of voice. Could you use a more soft and gentle one?
There are several ways in which you can talk about Coronavirus and usual topics but, even if your general tone of voice is more on the sarcastic and funny side, maybe you could consider softening it for a bit. It will create more empathy with your customers, and they will not perceive you as inappropriate.
Moreover, there are some sentences that you should probably avoid for a while, even if in our daily communication were utterly innocent – such as “get in touch” or “we get closer to you.” At this moment, this is not the best way to say it.
The same happens with the topics you may want to share on your social channels.
If you always discuss the beauty of being in groups to drink something fresh, and you pair it with pictures of happy students, maybe you may think to express the same concept differently and with a less “threatening” – and out of context – picture.
Be flexible, and prepare to change your plans. If you are in love with your ideas and your schedule, we may have a bit of bad news for you.
We can summarize the concept like this – if it’s not essential, you can postpone it. There are several elements of a daily workflow that we take for granted.
Avoid marketing and communication fails
It may be easy to slip on a couple of fails, but right now, you must avoid them as much as possible. So, what can you do to have bomb-proof communication and not to slip on gross mistakes?
For example, try to focus on long term strategy. If you decide to sell now every piece of your stock, your customers will not feel you as emphatic, and you may have some issues when the emergency is over.
Use SEO wisely. There is no use in putting everywhere the terms linked to the pandemic to hope for a bunch of visits to your website. Again, remember that you need to keep a valuable reputation even after – better to say, especially after – the emergency.
Moreover, even if this part is pretty delicate, try to be emphatic with your customers by assuring them that you are aware of what they are living.
Focus on online and digital marketing even during Coronavirus
Digital marketing is the only way we have to connect with our customers these days, so better start doing it fast and well.
Maybe you neglected your communication. Perhaps you were not such an expert before. So, what better time to learn something new and make your digital communication shine?
Once you stop your campaigns, you may have time to focus on a secondary project that you have postponed for three years. Or change your e-commerce with that feature you wanted to implement from Christmas.
Moreover, you could also study a new strategy for your social media channels, or see if the old ones still fit you. Refresh your buyer personas, clean up your SEO techniques, start learning something more about Google Ads.
It is the time when we can even learn something more and prepare for the times to come, so why not come back to our normal life with a brand-new strategy and a lot of added knowledge?
Help marketers doing better Marketing during Coronavirus
So, what can marketers do? There are a lot of things that are better “not to” do, practices to avoid, communication to manage carefully. Yes, we know, it may look overwhelming.
However, there are some ways to create something virtuous out of this Coronavirus situation, and one of them is to help people with your daily work.
Being helpful is always a good practice to follow, also for your marketing strategy.
When things come back to normal, people may recall what you did and even decide to become your customers.
What do we mean by helping people selflessly?
See what you do and use it to create value for the people who follow you.
Let’s see a couple of examples.
Do you have a tool useful for marketing research? You could release a new free tool, as Ubersuggest did.
Or you may let your customers download a freebie for marketing research or communication canvas.
There have been several examples of this behavior in the last few weeks. A lot of cooks recorded videos in which they cooked tasteful yet simple dishes in their home kitchens. Yoga instructors ran live courses on Facebook to have a class altogether. Marketers decided to provide free samples of their online, expensive courses. Every day you can find several books at a special price or even for free, and so on.
Ask yourself what you do for people and how you can make it useful for them at this moment.
And then do it!
Keep people informed without alarming
Do you want to share pieces of information about the COVID-19 emergency, to reassure your customers and keep them informed?
Remember that you are not the World Health Organization. If you want to do it, keep your communication controlled, informed, gentle and, most of all, relevant for your business.
For example, you can discuss how your brand is dealing with the emergency – if you closed your physical store if you provide home delivery, how you sanitized your workspace, or even more.
Also, keep a tone that does not sound alarmist and always check twice that you are not going to share any fake news.
More important, try not to use COVID-19 as a way to brag. People are worried, and the last thing they want is to see a promotion of flies for Gran Canaria at 50% with the slogan “COVID sales.”
It’s unethical, and your reputation may have a lot of problems from that.
Show your brand’s core values and soul
If there is a time to show your true colors, it is this one. It does not mean you have to show off, but that you have to return to your core identity and show it to your customers.
Moreover, it is a great time to link your values to practical actions. Which costs and benefits do you provide to your users? Can they use your services from home to make their life better? Who are you, and why your users should choose you?
Be personal and focus on what it is more important to your brand
Remember some essential parts of your history, share your deep reasons and values, talk about what is essential for you too. There is no reason to look like a superhuman – or a super brand. In this case, the more emphatic, the better.
Focus your branding activities on creating an emphatic and human contact with your customers instead of trying to sell them something. They will remember it.
Create a connection with your employees
Talking about humans, do not forget the people closest to your company – your employees.
Care about them and try to bond a relationship with them, as much as possible. For example, if your company allows it, let them work from home.
Giving your employees work from their houses will not only keep them safe but also happier and more relaxed.
You may ask them how they are going, or look for the possibility of mental help if needed in case of burnout or stress.
There are several ways to connect with them – for example, with a weekly coffee appointment. Everyone will sip their coffee in front of Skype while chatting for a few minutes with their colleagues. It will make communication more comfortable, and everyone will have a chance to relax and ease a bit. And this is super valuable.
Think about UGC content from your team. You have no ideas for more content, and you are suffering a lack of ideas? Take advantage of the quarantine!
The “behind the scenes” kind of content is always hugely popular. This is a great occasion to show how your brand is handling it.
You could show how your brand is working and dealing with home working, showing the moments of meeting. Or even share what your team does to keep healthy, organized, informed, and as calm as possible.
It does not matter the location. The spirit and the quality of the team counts!
Think about the future of your Marketing in Coronavirus
This situation will eventually end, sooner or later, even if we do not know precisely when it will happen.
You can’t allow yourself to believe that you will think about the communication “later”, when everything will end, because it may be too late.
Again, think about how you want your audience to remember you during these times (a psycho that shares fake news or a calm, comforting and useful brand) and especially what you are going to do when it is over.
Think about the plans you want to develop, and the goals you will achieve, the renewal of that website and the launch of the new service you dreamed of.
Or even imagine the first coffee you will have with your team because, even if the coffee is that dull, watery beverage from the coffee machine, it will taste great.