By Cathryn Fish Stephens
No matter your company size, industry or location, every business has been and will be affected by COVID-19 for years to come. Our business environment is likely forever changed, and we now face the task of adjusting to and embracing the “new normal”.
From a marketing perspective, businesses now face the challenge of adapting their marketing strategies and plans to adapt to this new normal. Many of the fundamental marketing principles remain constant in this changing environment and at the same time, there are emerging trends and changing behaviours which require a change or adjustment in marketing tactics.
How do we adapt to evolving and uncertain market conditions to ensure we can continue to reach our customers, build meaningful connections with them, and convince them to purchase our products or services?
The Marketing Principles Which Hold Constant
While much is changing it is worth considering the fundamental principles which have not changed, which are to know your customer; that your value proposition is a valuable asset; and that people buy from people.
1. Know your customer
It’s always important, but now more than ever, don’t assume your target market or ideal customer is unchanged. Start by speaking with your current customers to understand their needs, challenges, and fears and in particular what has changed. How have their purchasing behaviours changed? What are their current concerns and considerations? And what are their immediate needs which your product or service will address? It is an immutable fact that a customer-centric approach is the best approach. Consider your product or service and marketing from your customer’s perspective in light of their current viewpoint.
2. Your value proposition is a valuable asset
Being able to clearly articulate the value of what you’re offering is always crucial. Take the time to review your value proposition or craft a compelling value proposition that speaks to your ideal customer. If you can clearly and concisely communicate how your product or service will benefit your prospective customers and address their immediate needs, then your marketing efforts are more likely to be effective.
3. People buy from people
Even as our purchasing processes go more online and social distancing requires us to keep our distance, we are still social creatures. People buy from people not businesses, and will always require trust and connection to commit to purchasing decisions. Find the opportunities to build trust and relationship with prospective customers, connect and be authentic. Even if it might be happening more online.
Analyse the Trends and Look for the Opportunities
Many of today’s big brands were founded during a recession such as General Electric (1890), IBM (1896), General Motors (1908), Disney (1923), Microsoft (1975), CNN (1980) and Uber (2009). This list of brands demonstrates that growth can be achieved even during an economic recession. Tough times are often the catalyst for creativity and innovation.
While some of the changes we’re seeing may seem like challenges, agile and innovative businesses are finding ways to adapt and to turn these changes into opportunities.
Trends we’ve seen during this current crisis such as rapid technology adoption, increases in online shopping and social media use, the increase in demand for delivery and contactless services may be here to stay. Look for the ways that these trends can offer an opportunity for your business. Can you adapt an existing product or service? Can you move your business online? Can you adopt new technologies for your business?
Marketing Tactics to Consider in the COVID-19 era
The right marketing strategy and tactics for your business will depend on many factors, principally your product or service, target customer and industry. However, there are a few common tactics that a number of businesses are adopting to meet the current environment.
1. Embrace technology
It’s no surprise that Zoom’s market value has skyrocketed in recent months. Technology such as Zoom, GoToMeeting and Webex offer a way to connect with prospective customers without having to meet in person. Webinars, online learning, and remote meetings have been readily accepted as convenient and legitimate channels to connect and will likely remain for some time.
2. Connect via social media
Social media use has continued to increase in recent times and so it has become an even more valuable channel for many businesses. Use social media to share content, connect with customers and networks and to advertise your product or service.
3. Produce valuable content
As we all go more online to both seek out information and conduct our purchases it is important for businesses to show up and offer answers where customers are searching for them. Produce informative and valuable content that aids your customers in their purchasing journey and helps to build trust with your brand. Video is becoming an ever more important format, both for SEO purposes as well as that it is increasingly the preferred format for how we consume content. Consider creating simple but valuable videos targeted specifically at your ideal customer and sharing them on YouTube. In the current environment, businesses should focus less on promotional content and more on educational content, and lead with value.
While uncertainty can be challenging for many business owners, there are ways you can pivot to meet the moment. Keep your focus on your customer and the value that your business is adding for them at this time; embrace the new trends and ways of connecting and continue to adapt.
If you are seeking strategic advice or support with your marketing strategy, contact us today to learn how we can assist your business.