Marketing Survival: How To Serve Your Customers Beyond the Covid-19 Crisis

As the world faces the devastating effects of the coronavirus and reckons with the 2020 economic downturn, marketers are wondering how to keep the momentum with their brand and continue with “business as usual” when nothing about right now feels “usual.”
There is no denying the economic implications of Covid-19 on businesses around the globe. The economy has already taken a major hit and consumers are altering their spending habits to reflect their fear and uncertainty. Businesses face challenging questions about how to continue digital marketing efforts in light of the economy and low consumer morale. We’re here to help you navigate the uncertainty and provide tips on how to strengthen your brand in the midst of this crisis.

Tailor Your Marketing Tactics 

In order to keep your brand alive and move forward in the current climate, your business will have to tailor its marketing strategy. This new climate means new rules for both consumers and marketers. Consumers are approaching spending with a new mindset that your marketing efforts must adapt to.

Some are acting with a scarcity mentality, others are living it up like it’s their last week on earth. Your business has to be ready to meet the demands of consumers across the spectrum. Right now, consumer and market research matter more than ever. Use this lull in the market and your time working from home as an opportunity to get ahead and pour time into research and crafting the strongest campaign possible for when things return to normal.

Understanding how consumers will view and approach spending in a Covid-19 economy is important in determining the direction your digital marketing strategies will take. How your business approaches marketing right now could either propel or undermine your long-term success. Yes, consumers have higher priorities than consumption right now and spending will decrease, but all is not lost. Understand your consumers’ shifting mindsets with psychological research, and craft a marketing response that will not only boost morale but strengthen your brand in the face of crisis.

How To Optimize Despite the Current Circumstances 

In light of the current circumstances, many marketing departments are thinking through issues like cutting costs to ad budgets and marketing efforts, as well as how to continue to optimize in a slowed down economy. So, what can your marketing department do to optimize and make the most of this time?

1. Use budget cuts to get rid of the campaigns that weren’t performing well anyways. 

As companies reallocate money and make cuts, use this as a chance to eliminate campaigns that have been low-performing. Now your time, resources, and creative energy can be funneled into campaigns that will produce results.

2. Don’t just cut costs, contain costs. 

Slashing ad spend is all too common right now, but don’t panic and completely shut down. That is branding suicide. Keep some marketing spend alive in order to adapt to the shifting needs of consumers. Changing your marketing strategy, not completely cutting it off, will keep your brand alive and better position it for the long-term. Despite the recession in 2008, marketers spent 14% more in online ads than they did in the same time period the previous year as more people migrated online to look for jobs, search the news, and seek to stay connected (Harvard Business Review). Leverage your brand’s online position in the current climate when people are online seeking digital connections more than ever.

Brand positioning should be your highest priority. Consumers aren’t looking for another ad right now, they are looking for a brand that empathizes with them. Right now consumers fear the future, they don’t trust the direction of the economy, they are consolidating costs, and they definitely don’t trust out-of-touch marketing messages.

The marketer’s response is crucial now more than ever. Maintaining a strong brand – one that consumers recognize and trust – will help your business reduce risk (Harvard Business Review). Survival is at stake (for you and the consumer), so creatively search for solutions to this new reality.

Brand Positioning For The Long-Term 

Think and act for the long-term. While it might be tempting to shift focus to the short-term and target a new customer base, this could hurt your brand for the long-term and alienate core customers. No matter what you do, do not panic and alter your brand’s fundamental messaging. Here are a few ways to keep branding momentum in the face of the 2020 economic downturn.

1. Use this as an opportunity for optimization. 

Although the current market may feel like it completely blindsided your business with cuts to advertising budgets and declining sales, look at this time as an opportunity to refine strategy, streamline processes and production, optimize campaigns, get rid of the ones not working, and stretch your marketing department’s creative thinking. Leverage your time working from home to hone in on strategy, research, and developing innovative ideas for the future.

2. Focus on brand loyalty. 

Your customers need you now more than ever. Forge emotional connections, create compelling messaging, and avoid bad taste marketing. Consumers are looking for empathetic and socially responsible messaging right now. Position your brand to reflect this. Although your messaging has taken on a different tone to reflect current circumstances, don’t lose the core of your brand’s identity, because that is what keeps your audience engaged. Think about how your brand can help customers in the midst of the crisis, but also position itself as valuable to customers once things return to normal.

Take Zoom for example. As schools and offices across the nation are on a mandatory at-home policy, the demand for video conferencing is higher than ever. Zoom is helping customers in the midst of this shutdown by offering Zoom for free to K -12 schools to share lessons and continue to connect. Not only is Zoom offering a solution to the current climate, but it is also developing a loyal customer base and proving its value beyond the circumstances as people develop a loyalty to Zoom’s software.

Another way we’ve seen brands leverage their value in these circumstances is in the streaming industry. As movie theaters close their doors and the entertainment industry delays premieres, movie groups are coming up with new ways to continue to premiere releases. Instead of pushing back premieres, movie groups are looking at releasing movies on streaming platforms the day of the premiere. Not only would this allow viewers to watch new movies at home on their respective release dates keeping things relatively “normal” in a not so normal atmosphere, but this also poses a disruption to the entire entertainment industry of the future. Trolls World Tour will be the first movie to test this strategy come Universal Pictures’ first day-and-date release on April 10th on popular on-demand networks.
Brands are coming up with clever ways to meet customers’ needs during the coronavirus outbreak, but also positioning their brands for long-term growth and customer loyalty. Consider ways your brand can do the same.

We are all looking for opportunity in these unfortunate times. For marketers, the volatile economy has painted a bleak picture, but implement these tips and best practices to not only keep your marketing strategies alive but to craft appropriate, empathetic brand messaging. Connect with your consumers in a human and helpful way when it matters more than ever.

Need help with your marketing during this time?