The news media has been flooded by discussion and speculation about the coronavirus or COVID-19. The COVID-19 novel coronavirus outbreak is a terrible human tragedy, affecting hundreds of thousands of people across the globe. The top tech companies such as Apple, Oneplus or Uber say that it may affect their revenues as there is a decline in supply chain and consumer demand.
But surprsingly, online publishers and marketers are seeing a huge positive impact on online ad revenues during these ‘COVID-19’ times. It does make logical sense though – smart marketers are doubling down on their marketing budgets to take advantage of the surge in online viewership and digital consumption, as people stay at home.
Nothing is more cost-effective than investing in DIGITAL MARKETING, especially during these unprecedent times. Your audience is confined to a single place with no access to outdoor media, limited access to newspapers and fatigue viewing of television. As such, what they have been turning to are Digital platforms. There is an unprecedented spurt in the consumption of content and media on digital platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok and more. This is a clear opportunity for brands to effectively drive home their message – it is a marketer’s “black swan” event.
The most effective brand are not waiting to ride this out, instead, they are following these four-step strategies to help define scenarios, monitor customers and plan for marketing changes.
- Brainstorm in Scenario Planning:
Marketing must not rely simply on the high-level corporate scenarios but must go further for a brand. Marketers must drill down to identify the specific challenges that customers, the brand and the marketing organization could experience in each scenario, and identify actions to take. If your business is focused on Health & Wellness it is obvious that this is top of mind for everyone at this time. Use this opportunity to put forth your point. Doesn’t matter if you’re a clinic or hospital, this the right time to communicate effectively.
- Understand your Audience Sentiments:
Before the pandemic coronavirus emerged, people prefer aligning with the local businesses. The current crisis seems poised to amplify the distrust customers have on brands. Brands can push against that wave by rising to the occasion in order to re-establish trust through customer-centric actions. Brands should Listen and Balance their response as per the same. A brand should use social listening to monitor customer discussions about health concerns or information needs relevant to your brand.
Email marketing or ECRM can be leveraged as per customers’ concerns and sentiments. Hence, balance your response. If you own an E-Commerce business and home delivery, then your campaign’s response should be focused on targeted messaging I.e. “Sit, Order & Enjoy’. Trim your response in such a manner that you maintain customer loyalty by being crystal clear about your service or products.
- Anticipate operational impacts:
Challenges to product and service delivery abound during this crisis. Marketers must adapt their messages to reflect the on-ground realities while staying true to the brand’s values. A brand can follow a few steps to run smooth operations, such as:
- Set realistic expectations about services and products
- Craft proactive messages to distribute via email, social media and the web to answer common questions
- Draft reactive scripts to help customer service representatives handle sensitive one-on-one interactions
- Try to ramp up digital delivery and capacity for online and digital transactions
- Optimize marketing budgets and focus on investing for priority services, which will be helpful for the brand
- Incorporate Marketing Plan:
The next few weeks or maybe even months can be crucial. Few people will be recovering from this trauma, few may be facing it. Where is the solution and what is the solution, no clue, time is our answer? But brands can use the best-, worst- and moderate-case scenarios to anticipate possible and likely changes and take alternative actions.
Brands can deliver compelling content. More people will be spending time at home over the coming months. Brands can provide light-hearted and uplifting or informative and encouraging content to people looking for support. This may also be a good time to relaunch or bring out escapist experiments such as VR content.
Marketing has become the center stage of a brand. Its every move is reflected in every ad campaign, message and channel, also, sets the tone for how customers perceive the brand during a difficult time. Marketers are facing a challenge during this difficult time of Coronavirus. But Content Marketing is currently high in demand amongst many brands.