In a marketplace shaken with uncertainty, how should your business respond? How do you position your business for growth? And what does marketing even look like in a COVID-19 world?
The coronavirus crisis will test us all, but marketers need to think long-term and keep building their brands, protecting their staff and honoring their values.
Coronavirus is, by far, one of the biggest challenges this generation has faced, and its impacts will last in the years to come. The clinical trials for candidate vaccines have begun. But, for now, social distancing and remote work are the only solutions that can help people stay safe. In short, COVID-19 has people staying home, which has altered consumer buying patterns. We now see more of:
Panic buying and stocking of essentials
More people opting for home-cooked meals or canned food over restaurants and delivery
Travel restrictions impacting travel and tourism and hospitality
Avoiding luxury shopping to safeguard finances with markets falling
Shopping online and through mobile devices
Moreover, each crisis leaves a long-term psychological impact on customers. While some might play it safe for a long time, others may want to indulge as a rebound.
How Should Marketing Strategies Evolve With Social Distancing and Remote Work Becoming the New Normal?
Adapt the marketing plan
The next three to six months will bring many societal changes that trickle down to the marketing plan. Use the best-, worst- and moderate-case scenarios to anticipate possible and likely changes and take alternative actions. Some areas of focus include:
Event-based programs. Restrictions on large gatherings are cutting into the businesses that serve these events and the marketers that theme their campaigns around them. Develop alternative marketing ideas now for physical events planned for spring and summer. Sports events may move to streaming delivery; conference expos may move online, and so on. Don’t wait until an event is canceled to develop a plan. Learn instead from the experience of HIMSS20, a health IT conference usually held in early March: The organization canceled and promised to hold a virtual event at some point in the future; one day later, 1upHealth announced its own virtual event for the following week.
Deliver compelling content. More people will be spending time at home over the coming months. Brands can provide lighthearted and uplifting or informative and encouraging content to people looking for support. This may also be a good time to relaunch or bring out escapist experiments such as VR content.
Secure media early. Everyone is in the same boat, and everyone is looking to secure key spots to replace lost opportunities. In the U.S. in particular, brands will have to compete with the U.S. presidential political campaigns for key media placement. Work with media planners and publishers to secure access before you’re crowded out.