Five Ways Marketers can help your Business in Covid-19
The Coronavirus pandemic has rattled big businesses, SMEs and start-ups alike. Quarterly revenues have spiraled downward as more and more people are put up in their homes. Supply chains of essential items are under increased pressure to ensure availability and deliver within timelines.
In such a scenario when survival of a business is top priority, the general opinion is that marketing activities have to be cut down or maybe, shut completely.
However, this situation requires marketers to rise to the occasion as they have to tactfully deal with the challenges of limited finances, macroeconomic slowdowns and changing customer habits to deliver results.
So, how do marketers (or the marketing guys in a company) deal with the pandemic? Here are a few ways to navigate these muddy waters and emerge unscathed.
First up, no harakiri, please!
The last thing you can do as a marketer is run away, stop spending on all mediums and halt all kinds of marketing activities altogether. This is an opportune time for a brand to show that they are in for the long haul, and that an adversity does not throw them off gear or force them to wind up.
So, first get the communication sorted. Have genuine and clear communication with your customers through various media (including social) on how you’re allowed to operate and would be operating (partially/fully) in accordance with the rule of law.
This would allow your customers to be informed and also build credibility in the market, which is very valuable at this point in time. It may also reduce complaints of slow response from your customer care teams or any trolls which can harm the brand’s reputation.
Create content on social media
Most of your customers are likely to be at home, due to the lockdown still underway in most parts of India. This means that they are likely to spend more time on digital media, especially social media.
So, you have a great opportunity to reach out on social media with relevant, engaging and relatable content. Share your brand stories, achievements and anything that can build trust among your buyers.
Redirect marketing efforts online
Agreed. Some industries do have strong preferences for offline marketing and the plans could well be laid out in advance. But as most of your customers would be found online (as the stores are shut), you must follow them there.
Focus on organic search and social media ads with relevant Calls to Action (CTAs). With e-commerce firms gradually allowed to open up their sites for more items, focus on the e-commerce channel and boost your presence there.
Brand commitments and Public Relations
In these times, people would like to know about your commitments on product availability, safety and hygiene standards and controlling the price of your offerings.
As per a survey report on Search Engine Land, most customers expect brands to convey commitments on product availability (38%), product safety (24%) and product price controls (14%).
If you can ensure the above are taken care of and set in place action plans (which can be shared with your buyers), then you’d be in the good books of your users on the trust and relationship fronts.
Be agile to meet changing buyer wants
As the situation due to Coronavirus changes over a period of time with the lockdowns likely to go away in a few weeks, marketers would have to be on their toes to meet customer demands at different points of time.
So, what could be in demand now (say raw materials for cooking) may not be in vogue a few weeks down the line. Wants can change again after a month (there can be a wave of ready-to-eat buyers driven by online trends), and some behaviours and expectations may change permanently.
Agility and speed of execution will make a difference when most other brands would be rushing to do the same.
To summarise, customers are expected to be frugal, selective and cautious about buying, as nobody knows how long the situation will last. But, they also expect brands to care, take responsibility and be responsive to meet their needs at every point of time.
Marketers have to adapt their messaging and strategy to be in sync with these short term shifts. Else, it can severely erode trust and credibility built over years in a span of weeks.