Amidst the ongoing crisis in the face of a pandemic, consumers and businesses alike experience difficulty, confusion and panic. Resources are limited, countries are placed on lockdown, people lose their jobs, businesses are being shut down and suffer losses, and there exists economic uncertainty. No one is “crisis-proof”.
Companies face the dilemma of being sensitive to people’s situations and keeping the company revenue afloat. Thus, at a time of economic downturn, cutting the marketing spend is the very first thing that brands think of as a solution to offset the loss in profits. This way of thinking is not necessarily unfounded because amidst a crisis, people are less likely to spend their money on something, they are less likely to pay for a subscription or avail of a service. In the current pandemic, only health-related products are of value and people would pay less for things or services that they don’t deem essential at the moment.
The key, however, is to redefine your marketing plan by understanding changes to consumer behaviors and adapting a strategy tailored to the new realities. Here are 5 things you can do with your marketing in this time of crisis:
- Increase marketing by solving current problems.
Outrightly cutting the advertising budget is a mistake new business owners make. However, well-reputed brands learn that an economic downturn is a time to increase advertising. By doing so, they reap the following rewards: improved market share (when competitors are cutting back), increased return on investment at a lower cost and established a stronger voice among the crowd.
The question is, should companies market the same way as they did prior to the crisis? Take this time to get more creative and genuine about your marketing strategy. Awareness of people’s situations and the problems they currently face is a good place to start. Currently, consumers are faced with a lot of physical and financial restrictions yet they have “more time” in their hands. Then, assess whether your product or service could cater to their needs or present ideas that may not specifically link to your product & service but will help them get through this ordeal just to get your brand to be present out there.
2. Study consumer’s behaviour
People react to their environment. Now is the time to conduct a deeper analysis about your target audience and existing customers. How do their buying behaviours change?What are their motivations? How do they respond to the ongoing crisis?
It’s also good to understand that people are different from each other, depending on their innate characters, economic status, and outlook in life. So take time to really listen to your audience. After all, a crisis is short-term but behaviors and values acquired throughout the changing environment can be long-term. Adjusting your marketing in a time of crisis, can also mean you are gearing towards a long-term plan.
3. Communicate with Consumers and Clients
When communicating with your consumers and clients, keep in mind the following things:
- Focus on your key, target audience – whether that be your customers, partners or suppliers.
- Prioritize what is important to the customer. Of course, consumers have a lot of varying concerns during a pandemic but remember that health and safety are of utmost importance.
- Focus on messaging. One pro tip to successful advertising during a crisis is that it must appeal to people’s emotions. Instead of trying so hard to sell, be more empathic on your approach. People will know if you truly care or you’re just taking advantage.
- Send help, if possible. Companies who provide relief to people in need, create action plans for their employees, and send help to the cause build a good reputation, branding and high-level of trust among consumers. They could also be a source of inspiration for people or other companies as well.
4. Adjust product and services portfolio
Assess and rethink your current portfolio of products and services. Be straightforward in answering the following:
- Which items in your current product range answer immediate needs?
- Which products should you focus on?
- What pricing strategy and payment options to apply to different products and services?
- What promotions, discounts, incentives will work to grow your margin?
Is it possible to introduce new products?
5. Emphasize Core, Family Values
Difficult times and financial pressures could create problems with your relationships to people. Trying to cater to all customers even outside your target audience, hastily cutting costs, putting so much pressure on your staff, are just some of the things you may be inclined to do that will ruin your relationships. Avoid these kinds of temptations by persisting with the company’s core values. Transparency, assurance and good communication must be practiced at all times.
Businesses that stay resilient and survive the crisis by focusing on consumer needs and core values are better equipped and securely positioned for the brighter days ahead.