Marketing during COVID-19

By Lara Cocco. Published July 10, 2020

Well, here we are, mid pandemic, struggling. Practising social distancing (sometimes from our own family), wearing masks and gloves and fearing for our safety every time we leave our house. Also, if you got to keep your job, then you are part of the lucky ones. Up to April, an estimated 397 thousand people in the European Union and 40 million in the USA alone lost their jobs. It is estimated that hundreds of millions of people worldwide have lost their jobs by now.

The struggle is real and hardship has hit every business, from the barbershop next door to the big multinationals. Hopefully, COVID-19 will be tamed soon, and we’ll get our lives back (as close to what they were as possible). But economical and financially-wise, it will take quite a while to recover and stabilize. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) says that the global economy will shrink by 3% this year. It described the decline as the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

So, should brands invest in Marketing during the pandemic

Yes, they should. It’s vital to keep businesses running and smart marketing will be an essential piece to get back on track or even grow. 

As it always happens as a crisis looms, Marketing and Advertising budgets are the first “corporate front-liners” to receive serious damage, and therefore, the cutbacks mandate a wiser approach and efficient responses in terms of management of those budgets. How?

  • Online, Online, Online. Mobile, mobile, mobile.  For obvious reasons, your customer is now mainly online. Spending the afternoon in the mall or even a short run to the grocery store or the bank is now a dangerous and avoidable action. Thus, people went online, especially on mobile, with 82% of time spent vs. only 8% on desktop devices. Reevaluate and reinforce your online and mobile strategy.  
  • Revaluate your website and social media.  Make sure your website is simple and has a clear customer experience and conversion funnel. The general purchasing power is lower than it used to be, so retain future potential customers who may not be buying your products now, but intend to in the future, by offering long term discounts or subscribing to newsletters. Analyse your social media presence. Your brand must be flexible and adapt to our new reality. Check your message and communication tone: be sensitive and sympathetic.    
  • Don’t pull back on advertising.  Don’t neglect any efforts to communicate with your target audience and stay as a reference in their lives, as many of your competitors will remain out there. Invest in paid digital ads, focusing on programmatic so you communicate to the right audience and be sure you use the right message – don’t be pushy, now is not the time. Focus on brand awareness to be top of mind.    
  • Analyse your pricing strategies.  Rethink your e-commerce platform and strategy: consider offering your customer a payment plan or a monthly subscription instead of one-shot payments. Discounts and special offers for loyal customers will also be a good plan, as they spend an average of 67% more compared to new ones.    
  • Keep your customer's happy.  Use email marketing, SMS or push notifications to keep in touch with your customers. Avoid hard-selling approaches, be sensitive.

Probably, and sadly, you have more time on your hands. Use it to think about strategies to reach your target audience online with the right message, but keeping results in mind. Be positive, but realistic. Now is the time to make a change.