It was almost instantaneous. In a matter of hours, your entire marketing campaign was all wrong for the moment. Every brand was in the same boat as everyone scrambled to stash marketing materials that seemed untimely in the face of COVID-19 and come out with messages that felt more appropriate for a pandemic.
As it becomes clear that this situation is, unfortunately, not going away, brands are dividing into one of two camps when it comes to marketing. They’re either hitting the brakes, because they’re worried they might need to tighten their belts, or they’re adjusting their messages and looking ahead.
If you’re trying to decide which camp you should settle into, here’s a bit of information that might go a long way in helping you make a determination: those who marketed aggressively through advertising during the 1980s recession experienced a nearly 300% sales growth in the three years following.
Two Oregon professors examined how marketing and recessions interacted in a study that observed the years between 1971 and 1991 and involved the activities of 2,662 firms. Those that continued to advertise through any economic circumstances saw growth, and some for up to three years after their advertising efforts.
When many brands are pulling back on marketing, it may be a perfect time for yours to fill the gap, but it’s still important to shift your marketing strategy to the right approach for a pandemic. Here are a few guidelines:
Share, Don’t Sell
Any activity that can be seen as taking advantage of unfortunate circumstances is going to be detrimental to your brand. Think in terms of sharing helpful information, adding value or solving problems for your audience. The actual sale may come much further down the road, so consider this type of marketing to be an investment in relationship-building.
Listen, Don’t Talk
Your audiences want to know that you hear them. Consider orienting your marketing messaging to give them opportunities to share. Create social media posts that invite participation, such as a poll on Facebook or an Instagram contest. Don’t be afraid to have a little fun, either. A healthy debate over Reese’s cups and pieces, peanut, or plain may be just what your customers need, and it helps build community. Everyone needs that.
Think Screen, but Think Direct Mail, Too
People are receiving marketing messages a little differently these days. They’re on their screens a lot more, and going outside to get the mail before dinner may be the closest they’ve gotten to a night on the town. Cultivate your channels that are most likely to gain traction in the current situation. This means you may need to move around some of your marketing budget and reacquaint yourself with postal rates.
It’s perfectly normal to be tempted to cut back on marketing, but now is the time to distinguish yourself by being top of mind for your audience. Eventually, this will all be over, and you’ll want to be the first brand everyone thinks of in your industry.
Contact DirectMail.io for new marketing ideas, perfect for engaging with audiences during a pandemic, and for the future beyond COVID-19.