MARKETING THROUGH COVID-19

Many businesses went in to ‘freeze mode’ when lockdown was first announced, cutting costs wherever they could and hunkering down to save whatever they could…but, just over 4 weeks in and I think we’re starting to see a positive shift in professional behaviours. Gradually, the business developers amongst us are slowing ‘un-hunkering’ and starting to see the opportunities amongst this forced change.

If my years of personal development have taught me anything, it’s that we must find an opportunity in the face of every challenge and the current pandemic is no different. There are opportunities for us all out there if we look hard enough, BUT, I do fear that if you’re not prepared to be digitally strong right now, Q2 could be a write off for many businesses.

So, should you be ‘marketing your way through COVID’19’?  Absolutely. 

As Proctor and Gamble quite rightly put it; ‘This is not a time to go off air’.  Whilst many of us can’t be physically present, we must stay mentally present for our audience to maintain trust in our brand(s).

I have heard (and seen on LinkedIn) people say that they are ‘worried about marketing their business during the current situation for fear of looking insensitive’.  Yes, we need to be responsible and speak with tact and empathy, but it is barmy to consider not doing anything for fear of looking insensitive.  If we all simply stood still, there would be very few businesses who survive this and bigger than that, the economy needs us to continue as best we can.  The billions of pounds worth of support that the government are providing to businesses is a display of how important it is for the economies future that we don’t all go bust on them.  For every 1 person who might think it’s insensitive, they’ll be millions of people who will also be seeking the opportunities throughout this time.

Take some of the bigger brands for example. Here’s an extract from a recent THE DRUM article; ‘High street retail is not dead. We are seeing a huge shift in their budgets from experiential and in-store to e-commerce’.

We are also seeing a huge increase in spending across comfort foods too including brands such as Ferrero, Pizza Express, McVities and Cadbury who have dramatically increased their ad spend on video. This is because consumers are spending time at home and looking for a chance to indulge in their much-loved comfort foods. Whilst luxury food items may be struggling, there is a huge opportunity for challenger brands who are providing more in demand alternatives.’

It’s a very sad fact that we won’t all make it through to the other side and we will all lose competitors during this pandemic … so let that be a lesson to us all.  Don’t freeze up for too long because the danger is that the competition will overtake you and once they do, it will be very hard to regain position.

How to approach your marketing campaign:

1. Context – What does your brand mean to the world right now, given the current circumstances? Speak to your audience in context.

2. Think digital! You must must must be digitally present right now. Whether that’s via social media, PPC (google adverts), banner ads – and consider you’re website too. There’s little point in investing digitally if your consumer then gets faced with less than an average site.

3. Constantly assess campaigns – in a circumstance which is changing every single day, it’s imperative that you monitor your campaigns closely. We must be ready to adapt at a moment’s notice.

4. Be creative. Think outside the box. How do you get your brand noticed in a world where we’re all competing for a position on similar platforms.

5. Engage with contacts more than ever! If you weren’t interactive on LinkedIn beforehand, it’s imperative that you are now! Don’t fall under the radar. Let your contacts know that you are present, ‘business as usual’ and ready to take their call.

As awful as this all is, lockdown won’t last forever and neither will this chapter of our business.  We must keep going.  We must keep moving forward and we must keep our brands alive.

Dare to up your game during COVID-19! #SurviveOrThrive #IChooseThrive

Be back soon and stay safe!

Gem