MARKETING IN THE AGE OF CORONAVIRUS

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Effects of Coronavirus on businesses

Of the many factors that have affected the global economy, consumer hysteria is the most lethal. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the panic amongst the public throughout the globe is spreading faster than the virus. The impact has been vast, affecting both the supply and demand side. The estimated cost to the world economy has been a staggering $1 Tn given the current impact. Lockdowns and social distancing have impacted the daily working of businesses, both big and small, across all sectors. Amongst this, the major challenge lies ahead as to how should brands keep their business going. And when with challenges like this, it’s time to face The Godfather for that inimitable advice

“Go to the mattresses”

Which means, prepare your businesses for a long overhaul. Working smartly and being ready to manage the challenges ahead is the need of the hour.

How should the brands address the coronavirus pandemic?

Redesigning the business delivery model

With several infrastructures/live functioning of events/organizations being canceled, it is the best time for smart businesses to build their presence online. Few of the first things that should be worked on are:

Ensuring that the website content is well-optimized for search. Also, you may address coronavirus on the website, depending upon the business type. For example, if you’re in retail you’ll want to make sure that you call out changes in hours, e-commerce availability, any change in shipping or other issues the customers might face.  In case of a service-based company, the blogs should be updated with relevant information. One should also focus on improving the website user experience to increase their online conversions.

Additionally, one should also work on below marketing checklist:

  • Update the Google My Business page with the latest information
  • Explore new paid advertising opportunities, including social media ads
  • Developing engaging email marketing campaigns
  • Using video marketing to stand out in customers’ crowded newsfeed
  • Perform a content audit across the website
  • Increase presence through blogs

Re-evaluate marketing campaigns

A host of brands have suspended, delayed or shifted planned marketing campaigns in light of the coronavirus.

Some of the leading examples are KFC which pulled advertising that focused on finger-licking after receiving complaints it was inappropriate during a time when hygiene was of utmost importance.

The best way for brands to navigate through this unchartered territory is to respond with empathy and sensitivity to the world’s concern. That includes carefully considering all social media posts, an audit of website content and the like.

For instance, many companies in healthcare, online learning, business technology, environmental services and the like will be in greater demand. Brands in these industries should see how searches related to their services are evolving and ensure they have targeted message and content which helps prospects learn more.

Alternatives to live events

There have been innumerable cancellations of trade shows and conferences. This has resulted in many companies losing a major source of leads. However, with the complete world going digital, here are few things to consider:

  • Host webinar series on pressing issues across the industry
  • Engage with social media influencers
  • Take your trade shows on a virtual platform, a microsite or landing page featuring gated resources such as product demos and educational content
  • Invite industry exponents for a video/guest blog

These ways are proving to be beneficial to many brands for their respective digital marketing strategies. However, to be effective you need to have good budgets, a plan to promote, target audience and how will you measure success.

Communicating with customers and clients

One needs to be proactive when it comes to a response from the brand to the customers, especially, in times of such needs. In light of the current scenario, one should keep sharing information on:

  • Organizational measures to keep the employees and the public safe
  • Management of refunds in case of widespread closures or cancellations
  • Future expectations from the organization

Companies should have a crisis communication team that addresses employee concerns, customer questions and media inquiries. Marketing agencies can help you develop messaging and share it through all channels, including websites, blogs, and social media.

Staying Top of Mind for Prospects

A lot of customers have put their buying decisions in the back seat. However, by providing value through challenging times, one can stay at the top of their minds.

Educational content, inspiring videos, creative designs and innovative ideas shared by your company’s leadership.

Lastly, this too shall pass

The current state of experience is temporary. In most cases, it may not be easy, but we will come out the other end stronger. Now is the time to work on marketing in the age of the coronavirus. It is the perfect time to strategically build your business presence and focus on the strength of your connections.

 

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