How to shift your marketing messages the right way as COVID-19 restrictions lift
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
As a marketer dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, you've learned to pivot on a dime — a strategy that has served you well and will continue to serve you well in the future. It's essential to look ahead now, though, and begin the process of tweaking your message to your customers in a timely and sensitive way.
Sensitivity and customer consideration should be the hallmark of your strategy at this time. It's key to focus on the following five key planning points:
Continuing to meet your customers' needs with compassion.
According to research from Forrester, 52% of U.S. customers surveyed want to buy from companies that show they are trying to protect consumers from COVID-19. You want to do everything you can to show your audience you'll keep going the extra mile for them in any and every way they need.
Keep all customer care options and flexible payment assistance plans in place, and let your demographic know that. Also, continually emphasize that customer safety is your top priority. If applicable, use advertising to stress your ongoing commitment to cleanliness, social distancing, and contact-free service as much as you possibly can.
The world and the economy will not flip back to normal as if a light switch is being turned back on, so you need to read the tea leaves and not dismiss the pandemic as history too quickly in your messaging. Plan to keep updating your ad content as conditions warrant and stay operationally flexible.
Also, use pacing in terms of your messaging. You don't want to be running content emphasizing your pandemic policies one day, then suddenly shift to a brand-new paradigm the next day in which your content does not address COVID-19 at all. That would be too jarring to your audience and would give the impression you are focused on profits, ignoring the emotional and financial toll your consumers have had to deal with.
Ease your way back and stick with social listening to know what your audience wants and needs on a day-to-day basis.
Begin to shift your message in a measured way.
It's OK to begin weaving new product availability info into your marketing message after people are getting back on their feet a bit, but continue to focus your main points on the practical necessity items your brand sells, not frivolous impulse items or extremely expensive products.
And of course, lower your profit expectations. This doesn't mean you should be pessimistic, but it does mean you need to be realistic — your audience is not going to spend freely again for a long time. Understand that, and work with it.
Adjusting your technology strategy.
Search Engine Land reports that YouTube has seen a 15% increase in traffic during the pandemic, and that makes sense — as people have stayed home, they are seeking the entertainment and ease of visual messaging.
Shift your marketing strategy to platforms that you see your customers have turned their attention to very recently. Also, White Shark Media suggests now is the time to begin shifting your focus from laptop/desktop advertising to mobile traffic again as your customers begin to leave their homes more often.
Discount, discount, discount.
Keep your customers' loyalty by giving them as many incentives to spend painlessly as you possibly can. Be hugely generous with promo codes, BOGOs and percentage-off deals. Plan to do this through the end of 2020. You'll maintain your current customers' long-term admiration by respecting the financial challenges they are no doubt facing now and in the near future.
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