March 20, 2020 - Brittany Garlin

How To Navigate Marketing During The Coronavirus

With the uncertainty of the coronavirus businesses have begun scrambling to navigate the pandemic. Large organizations and small businesses are facing challenging times as the economic impact of the coronavirus starts to hit. Companies will need to adjust their current work flow process and business strategy to make it through these trying times. Stephen Hawking said it best, “intelligence is the ability to adapt to change”. Here is how to navigate marketing during a pandemic:

Focus On The Customer

This is always an important part of every marketing strategy – but as consumer demands change, it’s important to understand what your customers developing needs are. If you’re continuing to promote services that require customers to be in a store, it’s not relevant to the current demands. If your business relies on conferences or events, think of taking it online for the time being through virtual events, webinars, or live streams. Try to think of creative ways to market your business that will appeal to and help your target audience – some marketing ideas to test out are:

  • Encouraging customers to buy a gift card to your business for a later use
  • Promoting your delivery and courier services instead of in-store options
    • If you’re a local restaurant, this is a great opportunity to promote your business being on UberEats, SkipTheDishes, DoorDash, etc.
    • Local businesses can promote their products or services through online buying options
    • Offering ‘happy hour’ discounts to increase online sales
  • Virtual events and webinars instead of big conferences 

One company that is doing an exceptional job at putting the customer first is Orangetheory Fitness (OTF). With the rise of people working from home, gym members are concerned about falling off track with their daily routines by not having access to equipment and guided fitness training that they have become accustomed to. The OTF team decided this was an opportunity to put together modified workouts for people to stay active, healthy and safe.

Orangetheory-Fitness-At-Home-Workouts-Coronavirus

Provide Value Through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

3D printing companies are helping save lives by making ventilator valves for overwhelmed hospitals – and Zoom CEO is giving video conferencing tools to K-12 schools for free. Businesses are stepping up to do right by society, their community, their customers, and employees. Review your current marketing strategy to see if there are areas you can be more socially responsible. Interestingly, the philanthropic practice can be a good business tool as well. “Some 52% of U.S. consumers factor values into their purchase choices,” seeking brands that “proactively promote beliefs and values aligned with their own,” noted a 2017 presentation “The Power of a Values-Based Strategy,” by Forrester Research, a market research company that advises corporate clients. Here are four excellent examples of businesses being socially responsible to inspire your own ideas:

Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban Is Starting A Program For Hourly Workers Hurt By Coronavirus Shut Down

Mark-Cuban-CSR-Coronavirus

Asiyah and Jawad Javed, who run a corner shop (bodega, quickie-mart) in Scotland, are giving anyone over the age of 65 free face masks, antibacterial hand gel, and cleaning wipes to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

Corner-Shop-CSR-Coronavirus

Humanitarian Chef José Andrés Is Turning His Swanky Restaurants Into Gourmet Soup Kitchens During Coronavirus Outbreak

Jose-Andres-CSR-Coronavirus

U-Haul To The Rescue—30 Days Of Free Storage For Panicked College Students

U-Haul-CSR-Coronavirus

Be Transparent With Your Customers

For B2B companies being transparent with your clients is crucial to better serve current customers and attracting new. Being transparent can be a little scary for business owners, especially with the idea of giving customers access to information that doesn’t portray the company in the best way possible. During a time like a pandemic with employees WFM, it’s important to be honest about pricing fluctuations and setting attainable deadlines. Over communicating is the only way to minimize misunderstandings about services. 

Businesses can use this time to share information to their customers about any changes that can be expected. Use your company channels to communicate with customers about how your business is doing – clients tend to respond well to straightforward answers. Customers want trust now more than ever, and that trust that is built with your customers can be invaluable. Transparency is a key way of creating trust because it helps eliminate any suspicions or anxieties your customers might have about the value of what you’re offering.

Identify New Areas Of Opportunities

As businesses have more time to plan and research – you’ll want to take advantage of this by appearing where they are searching. A great way for marketing agencies to do this is through creating a free Agency Vista profile. Organizations will have the time now to thoroughly look into performance and partners during this time as business slows down. It’s nearly impossible to break through all of the digital noise right now from the coronavirus to ensure your business is still relevant in search or social media. Every Agency Vista profile comes with 10+ supercharged for SEO pages complimentary to your free account when you connect 3 or more social channels. Creating a profile only takes 10 minutes of your time and can improve qualified lead generation for your business. 

If you’ve been looking to collaborate with a business, now is the time to start that conversation as key execs will have more time to thoroughly read their emails and respond. Reach out to these companies with goodwill letting them know that you hope they’re staying safe and healthy. They’ll appreciate the kind gesture and will remember it for future collaborations. Remember to be human during a time of a crisis and help out others in any way you can – no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted. 

If you want to talk social media, you can always find me on LinkedIn. I love connecting with social media marketers and creatives so don’t hesitate to reach out!

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