As people around the world become used to lockdowns as the new normal, business leaders are working to redefine what marketing means during the COVID-19 pandemic. Airlines, sandwich shops, and bars are struggling to stay relevant, but they are not the only shops that have been affected. Thanks to tips from Luke Lazarus and other business leaders, companies around the globe are starting to shift their marketing strategy to adjust for the new reality the world is facing today.
Create a Marketing Vision
According to Luke Lazarus, businesses need to define their limitations, financial models and vision whenever they start a new project. For a business plan to be successful, it has to show the product’s story. Then, the company has to create a cost-effective strategy for marketing their product or service throughout the project’s lifecycle.
While the pandemic is changing how companies interact with customers, many business concepts remain the same. Researching market demographics, building a brand image and creating a marketing image continue to be important. For a brand to tell its story, it needs to figure out its sense of purpose. This sense of purpose can define how the business responds to a crisis.
Chatbots Are Key
Even in areas where it is still possible to go to a store, many people are avoiding face-to-face interactions. Instead, customers are using chatbots, live chat, emails and phone calls to reach interact with companies. Before the crisis, an estimated 1.4 billion people interacted with chatbots each year. A total of 80 percent of companies previously planned on investing in chatbots in 2020.
Now, chatbots and live chat are even more important. Your support line shows how much your company cares about its customers. Instant responses, effective communication and 24/7 service are appealing benefits for your customers. Plus, chatbots and live chat can help you save money on customer service representatives and boost your overall efficiency.
Embrace Interactive Content
Before the crisis, business experts like Luke Lazarus were already predicting that interactive content would become a marketing trend in 2020. Now, this trend seems to be guaranteed. Since users are unable to view products in person, interactive video content and virtual reality (VR) play a key role in selling products. Video content also has a higher engagement rate than other forms of content, so smart companies should spend time building interactive content for their campaigns.
Social Media Advertising Is Still Important
People are stuck at home, which means more people are on social media. In 2019, Facebook had more than 2.38 billion active users each month. Social media sites like Facebook help you build a relationship with your customers and market your business. If you are primarily focusing on brand awareness right now, social media posts and advertisements are an excellent choice.
When you communicate on social media, you may need to reframe your language and change your visuals. Because of social distancing, you should avoid visuals where people are touching or working right next to each other. You should also adjust your figurative language to avoid references to things like working hand in hand. If it is too late to change a campaign, you can always wait until after the pandemic has ended to launch it.
During a crisis, it is important to send out emails and newsletters about your company’s updates. For example, Fred Meyer recently sent out an email update with the precautions it is taking to protect customers and employees. This type of communication is important for informing customers about changes, but it also serves a marketing purpose. Fred Meyer is differentiating its services and showing that it prioritizes its clients’ health.
While email updates about health matters or delivery changes are useful, you have to be sensitive about addressing the current pandemic. When it comes to cultural marketing and current issues, there is a fine line between being relevant and looking like a plague profiteer. Businesses must be sensitive to the fear and uncertainty many people are experiencing right now, or they will face a backlash and negative publicity.
Go for Educational Content and How-to Guides
If you are uncertain about how to walk the fine line between running COVID-19 promotions and being insensitive, you can always stick to educational content and how-to emails. These coronavirus messages do not seem like marketing materials because many of them do not actively advertise products. Instead, coronavirus emails are a part of a company’s larger strategy. Like the previous example of Fred Meyer, these emails show that the company is sanitary and ethical. These are traits that consumers want right now.
This is also a good time for your company to start doing charitable activities. By contributing and helping people in need, you are showcasing your company in a positive light. The news articles you generate from giving to families in need or supporting COVID-19 research are an excellent way to build your brand image and reputation.
Paid Advertisements Are a Great Investment
If you decide to run a paid campaign, Facebook and Google advertisements are an excellent investment at the moment. Cost-per-impression advertisements on Facebook have fallen significantly, which means you can buy the same advertisements for a lower cost. News sites are also dealing with high traffic and low advertising revenue. By advertising with Google and social media sites right now, you can reach more customers for the same marketing budget.
Build Brand Awareness
It is impossible to know how long the pandemic and its effects will last. Once a vaccine or cure is found, many of the pandemic’s cultural changes will most likely remain. Over time, people naturally adjust their buying behaviors and lifestyles. Because of this, businesses should use this time to build brand awareness and adapt to the changing situation. By adjusting to this new environment and building brand awareness, your company can successfully navigate this crisis and position itself for growth.