How and why your marketing messages should change during Coronavirus
In our current state of uncertainty, it can be hard to know how to tailor marketing messages. Here, Kavita Singh shares advice on how to navigate your marketing messages around the Coronavirus with both empathy and consistency.
Marketing in different economic situations
Let’s start by asking ‘is it important to factor in the state of the economy when coming up with effective marketing messages?’ This entirely relies on whether you need to change the way you position yourself and your products depending on the state of the market. In response to the Coronavirus, the answer for all but the very few, is a resounding ‘yes’.
Right now, business is far from ‘usual’ and spending has significantly slowed. No one will thank you for thoughtlessly pushing products and services that aren’t needed. However, at B2B Marketing we’re conducting daily social listening and have found that after a quick flicker of distaste, people are no longer condemning those actively marketing their businesses - so long as they are tactful.
So what does this mean? In the B2C world, Cadbury is no longer running its planned Easter ad campaign showing a grandfather setting up an Easter hunt for his grandchildren, because it simply isn’t safe for these two age groups to mix.
Instead, many businesses are using this time to build brand trust and recognition by demonstrating what they are doing to help. Telia Finland, an ICT & media corporation in Finland, is giving away its national advertising space to struggling SMEs such as car repair shops and craftsmen. They’ll be marketed through national television,newspapers, social media and online. The first wave of the campaign began on 23rd of March with a goal of helping 100 SMEs during the first week.
Our social listening also tells us that many are already tired of the run of marketing messages updating customers on their Corona policies. Indeed, you shouldn’t have to tell the world that you’re taking measures to protect your staff or the public - that should be a given. How are you going above and beyond?
Why you should consider tailoring messages to the economic climate
Economic uncertainty can make everyone reconsider how they spend and save, and this should be central to your decision-making as you develop messages moving forward in 2020.
With the Coronavirus affecting the marketing climate at a fast pace, it is absolutely essential for marketers to be in tune with the changing market and adaptable in their messaging. Right now there’s general pragmatism - a recognition that all businesses will be struggling to make money, but it’s important to bring support as a brand rather than sensationalising what’s happening or trying to heartlessly capitalise on sales.
If you’re considering changing your messaging, here are a few things to bear in mind.
1. Find the sweet spot between silence and storytelling
While your business might be focused on trying to seem ‘together’ during this pandemic, it’s perfectly fine to take a pause and redevelop your marketing strategy, as long as you’re not taking a complete halt. You can still remain visible as a brand, even if that means you won’t be producing the same flow or marketing the same products. In fact it’s best you take a step back and put yourself in your customer's shoes - really think about what they might need right now, rather than in the grand scheme of your company’s growth.
Times are unpredictable so be adaptable and communicative with your audience. Right now, you need to offer your customers as much empathy as you can, while still adhering to your brand. Your customers are confused and uncertain and the last thing they would want is for your marketing message to completely glaze over this uncertainty.
2. Think about your existing customers
It’s important to keep in touch with existing customers, even if they’re not looking to buy anything right away. Treat them well and they’ll be eager to return as soon as they can. Reassure them that you’re there for support, regardless of where they may stand in the pipeline.
Customer loyalty can go a long way, so give them the respectful experience they need during such a confusing time. Crucially, you must listen to them and what they need from you right now. How can you make their lives easier? Remember that many businesses - both in B2C and B2B - are offering this innovative support free of charge. Check out these opportunities to ensure your offers are well aligned.
3. Watch the language you use
There are two things to keep in mind while redeveloping messages. Firstly, don’t be too negative. If you steer your audience into panic, it’ll make them believe your company is in panic too. Your customer’s inboxes are being flooded with emails and adverts about Coronavirus. New headlines appear on media outlets, LinkedIn and Twitter every few minutes, they don’t need more negativity from you.
Secondly, avoid corporate talk and bring a personal, yet positive approach to your messaging. Sherpa provides a great example after sending emails to its customers stating: “The time is right for tech firms to keep marketing and build interest for the medium term, so please let us know how we can help and we can all get through this together.” This is the type of messaging that B2B marketers will want to see.
Economics is hugely important in marketing, and of course it really pays for businesses and marketing professionals to consider current economic trends. However, remember that in time, this will pass. Your customers will re-engage and your brand is here for the long haul, so protect it. While the coming months may raise new challenges for marketers, the world is in this together. And, we will get through it together.
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