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Marketing in a Pandemic

Team marketing meeting in a pandemic wearing masks
How should marketing departments react to a situation never before thought of or experienced in over 100 years? In this post we list eight power tips for developing marketing plans for a pandemic riddled world.

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Much of America and many other countries around the world continue building a new normal to the work day. Being locked down at home, people are still working from home, exercising at home, shopping from home and getting carry out meals to eat at home. 

Many people are watching television throughout the day and evening and others spend more time on the Internet for one reason or another. Some states and countries have begun to allow businesses to reopen and small events to go on. Some people have started to venture out to retail stores and started dining at their favorite restaurants. Others are still too worried to leave home. 

“Do we transition to all digital advertising, all print advertising or continue to mix the advertising using different resources?” 

All of these scenarios create a marketing dilemma for many marketing teams, because they knew how to reach their target audiences before the shutdown but are uncertain how to reach them now, because customers’ routines have changed so dramatically. Marketers are asking themselves, “Do we transition to all digital advertising, all print advertising or continue to mix the advertising using different resources?” 

8 Ways to Help 

How should marketing departments react to a situation never before thought of or experienced in over 100 years? Below is a list of eight tips for developing marketing plans for a pandemic riddled world. 

1. Communications

The one component of marketing that stays the same regardless of any type of situation is the communications factor. Continue to communicate with customers via email, Facebook and other social media and personal mailings. Also keep communications going with team members, since many be working from home. Use Zoom meetings or conference calls, or call each member to ask how they are doing with the stress of the pandemic. 

2. Work on Customer Relations

Use communications to build, maintain or grow customer relations. Many marketers focus on building new customer bases, which is needed for growth. But keep in mind it’s also a time to maintain connections and interactions with current customers. One example is that many car insurance companies in the U.S. offered discounts on premiums, or some even sent a check to their customers as a partial premium refund at the start of the pandemic. It was a way to say the companies were concerned about their customer base and wanted to help in some way. 

3. Retool Meetings

Many companies have had to retool the way they meet their customers, which has meant using digital platforms much more frequently. Using Zoom meetings to talk with customers has provided a way for companies to continue marketing while providing a resource for customers to stay at home and stay safe while conducting business. 

People are at home and looking for activities other than watching television or using the internet. More people may be looking for reading material

4. Recharge Digital Platforms

Businesses can recharge their digital presence by adding special options to websites, email blasts and blogs. Options such as ordering products easily, offering inexpensive delivery options, offering webinars and online chat resources will all help customers continue to do business with a company or start doing business with them. 

5. Revisit Advertising Channels

This is a good time to revisit using some advertising channels that may have not been on the marketing team’s radar lately. Print advertising or personal mailings are two of those options. People are at home and looking for activities other than watching television or using the internet. More people may be looking for reading material, and could be more open to perusing newspapers and reading the advertising mailers to find ways to save money. 

6. Prioritize Advertising Campaigns

Make sure the campaigns that were scheduled during the pandemic still carry a message relevant to what is happening and the way customers are doing business right now. Some campaigns may need to be delayed and new campaigns quickly developed. Timelines might need shortened as well. Daily lives have changed dramatically in short timeframes since early 2020, and it appears that will continue until the pandemic is officially declared over. 

“For example, Amazon has widened its customer base with a simple message that people can shop from home and get the items delivered to their home. Customers have added to that message with the perception of shopping from home while staying safe and healthy at home.”  

7. Adjust Language and Visuals

It’s vital that the message and visuals used in all marketing be relevant to situations customers are finding themselves experiencing. Many customers are still laid off from their job, some are struggling with working out in the public sphere, such as health care workers and retail employees, while others are able to work from home. The ad copy and the graphics have to represent all of those scenarios and more. 

8. Take it One Day at a Time

Marketers are used to developing campaigns that stretch into weeks, months or even years. During these uncertain times, it’s better to only plan a few weeks ahead, while taking it one day at a time by building campaigns that are flexible and can be changed within a few days. Instead of using precise messaging, keep it more open. For example, Amazon has widened its customer base with a simple message that people can shop from home and get the items delivered to their home. Customers have added to that message with the perception of shopping from home while staying safe and healthy at home.  

While the game may have changed, commerce is still happening all around the world. Competition is a bit stronger because people are being more selective with their spending choices. Great marketing teams are needed more than ever to help reach current customers and to find new customers. 

Marketers need to be more stringent when developing messaging and when reaching out to the buying public. Communications, building customer relations, retooling ways to meet with customers, recharging the digital presence, looking at all advertising channels, adjusting campaign lengths, using appropriate words and visuals and taking it all one day at time can help keep customers happy and businesses selling. 

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