These are unprecedented times.
It goes without saying that these are unprecedented times and that we are all navigating serious concerns about the global spreading of the virus, the short- and long-term impact this will have on the economy and, most importantly, the health and safety of our employees and families.
We’ve been working with clients to swiftly and proactively assess their individual marketing situation and come up with an individualized plan that gets them through the next few weeks and then the next few months. Looking beyond that right now is tougher, but we are advising customers to hold steady for now on long-term plans until we see how things develop.
The short-term, however, is a different story.
- Should you pause your advertising?
- Are consumers going to continue responding to campaigns?
- Is it smart to stay the course with active marketing efforts?
- How should I revise my messaging or creative to be more sensitive to the situation?
All great questions we’ve been fielding all week. I asked our team to compile some of the answers to the questions above and to describe some of the short-term modifications and optimizations they are making to help clients adapt to and address the current situation. Here is some advice we’d like to share:
Marketing’s primary goal to build relationships has not changed.
It is in these trying times that you can show support and be there for your prospects and customers by providing constant, honest communication. From a marketing standpoint, it is crucial to continue dialogue with your audience and customer-base in an authentic and effective way by ditching the buzz words and hard-sells and replacing them with helpful ideas and messaging that show you care. Everyone is experiencing the same challenges, and consumers do not expect brands to disappear or drop off the face of the earth until this crisis is over – they simply want companies to understand and empathize with what they are going through and to offer help, flexibility and assistance when needed.
Authentic, frequent communication will help you to maintain and even strengthen relationships with customers and prospects, and it will put your company in a better position as you come out on the other side.
Evaluate and modify your strategy but maintain a presence.
With the uncertainty of how consumer behavior will be impacted and for what length of time, it makes perfect sense that companies closely evaluate their strategies to determine if their campaigns are appropriate to continue running. In some cases, we found the campaigns absolutely were fine to run with creative changes – such as altering a dine-in restaurant campaign to a take-out campaign for the same restaurant. In some circumstances, we found that changing media platforms was the right move, so that rather than running a LinkedIn campaign for an event no longer happening, we pivoted to promoting inspiring brand support and promise messaging via Facebook to boost customer engagement. Some of our bank clients shifted dollars from one product to another – such as diverting ad dollars to Home Equity and Mortgage campaigns due to a high spike in consumer searches for those products.
The point is that although these challenging times likely call for immediate evaluation and adaptation of your marketing investment, the activities that support building your brand and awareness need to continue. Otherwise, you risk losing ground to competitors and weakening relationships.
Leverage analytics and data to understand customer behavior to meet them where they are.
We all know that customers have lots of worries today that can distract them from completing planned conversion goals, purchasing your products or responding to your current lead generation campaigns. But, did you know that customers are more active than ever on digital channels including web, social media, search and email?
It may seem counter intuitive that at a time when the world is in crisis, customers would be on your brand’s website. But, as we look deeper into analytics, we are finding that customers want, sometimes need, to engage with you, just in a different way: rather than looking for product information on your website, they may be asking you support questions on Facebook; instead of interacting with your paid search text ad, they may be doing their research a different way. Being home with children may also allow them more time to digest their personal email or browse social media.
If you aren’t present on those channels to meet them where they are, you will miss incredible opportunities to strengthen relationships and brand loyalty.
Be supportive and communicate often.
Above all else, modify your strategies and messaging to show you care. Be empathetic and proactive in your communications to external customers and prospects, as well as to employees. This will take you further than you can imagine.
We’re here to offer our help and support.
If you aren’t sure how to modify your current approach or if you wonder if you should continue with the marketing investments you are currently making, please contact us.
We are happy to offer honest guidance and support to anyone who needs it during this unprecedented time. We will get through this together!