Marketing in a Crisis – What You Need to Know
Updated: Apr 28, 2020
In this blog, I look to offer advice as to how to go to market during the pandemic and things you need to be thinking about to make sure you do things the right way. The COVID-19 pandemic has touched everyone including me. I was making a return into the IT channel just a week or so before it struck big time, turning everything on its head and ending a few opportunities bubbling away.
For IT and Tech companies, the outbreak created new opportunities and was a busy period applying safe guarding measures to hold on to staff, whilst responding to the scramble and surge in demand for remote working solutions and hardware from existing and new customers.
Now as the reality of working remotely establishes itself, we are all quietly resigning ourselves, to new routines and ways of dealing with the day. Furthermore, none of us has any idea how long this is going to go on for!
Whilst we all face difficult times, the crisis triggered a common reaction in many business leaders, the hard stop on marketing and sales activities. It just seems dirty and wrong to be trying to sell and promote sales at a time of crisis, right? Whilst not completely wrong, a hard stop means a cold and slow start when things are ready to move again.
Even when this crisis is over, businesses will still be affected, it will take a year or so to get businesses back on track. We will also lose small and big players in the channel who cannot ride out the storm. Whilst this is a real negative, it presents new opportunities for those willing to step up. There will also be customers, who feel let down by their existing suppliers and will look to change and find new suppliers when things settle. Will you be in the running or on the radar?
If we take the moral high ground, none of us will profit and our competitors (who will market themselves), will clean up and grow. Whilst I am not an advocate of hard-selling right now, we can be doing something, we just need to be considered and do things in the right way!
Please Don’t Exploit the Situation – That’s Real Bad
Your reputation and credibility take years to establish and can be stripped away in just minutes. A bad advert, email, ill-thought-out or poorly researched content can have people spitting fire. We are in a time of high stress, and we need to be mindful of the current fear, emotional states, and challenges of those we aim to serve.
Do not suddenly start selling hand sanitiser for three times the price, or promoting idiotic ideas on how not to get the virus. Avoid exploiting the situation to make a quick buck as they say. The way your company communicates and goes to market will be pivotal in determining whether you will end the crisis stronger or blackened by your activities.
Be mindful of how you communicate, don’t be dramatic and prophesize disaster for everyone, this won’t win you any friends and will spread fear. Don’t start banging on about how great you are either, and how you're riding this out better than anyone. Many people won’t be waking up to a job this week and this will continue for some time - Be humble.
All these considerations don’t mean that you cannot market your solutions/services but be careful and considered in your approach.
Tip - “You need to evaluate all of your existing marketing plans, make sure nothing has been automated and make sure you have reassessed all proposed content, and that the tone is appropriate”
Try to use Positive Reinforcement
We are all uneasy, even those sitting on small fortunes like Mr Branson. It is important, that we take an empathetic and positive approach to our marketing and communications. You don’t need to be totally altruistic, but need to be more personable and create a personal voice for your business.
Look at sharing human stories or content, promoting tools and solutions with a human value rather than business or a technical bias. You could also look to engage your team, create social posts around keeping the team busy in lockdown or working collaboratively, keep things light but engaging and informative.
There is no harm in promoting that “Remote Worker” productivity solution, there has never been a better time for it, but do it with tact and empathy and with the human not pound sign as the lead.
Communicate Your Expertise and Willingness to Help
Your company exists because its products and services deliver value to someone. During a stressful time like a pandemic is a great time to communicate how you help others. Communicate the benefits of services/products and how it can help in these days of uncertainty.
Don’t be promoting
“ Virus Beating Laptop Deals – Catch Your Corona Virus Discount before it’s too late”
Look to share content that offers tips and advice. Ensure it's authentic and speaks from the heart. You will be surprised at how just a few positive words, can impact people’s days and thinking. I have people in my life that have lifted me with positive words. It really works.
Take Time to Plan
My suggestion to you all right now, is to revisit your marketing plans, what needs to be changed right now? and what can you push out to help others, reinforcing your brand position?
The lockdown won’t last forever and investing in the right marketing and communications at this time will make your businesses stronger in the long term. Stopping will make you slower and you may find yourself still putting on your running shoes when the starter's pistol fires.
I hope you find some useful ideas in this blog and more importantly hope you and your loved ones are safe and well. These are indeed dark days around the world and I send you my thoughts and best wishes. I also want to thank you for keeping the lights on, it seems IT is forgotten once again in the key worker story. The reasons so many are still working, are the efforts of the technology channel.
If you would like to discuss anything in this blog or have a question on what your business can do at this time – drop me a line or call me on 0191 486 2524.