Digital marketing during lockdown: do you invest time into it, or pull back?
It’s true what they say – when it comes to your brand, out of sight is out of mind. According to a survey carried out by Kantar, just 8% of 35,000 respondents thought brands should stop advertising.
Just 7% of consumers think we should stop advertising due to the coronavirus outbreakMarketing Week
However, there is a clear expectation that companies should be communicating in a different way: 78% of respondents thought brands should be helping them in their daily lives, 75% said brands should be informing people of what they’re doing and 74% have a belief that companies should not exploit the situation.
It’s time for businesses to adapt their digital marketing during lockdown:
The coronavirus has caused drastic shifts in both consumer needs and business goals. It’s important to adjust your marketing strategies and messaging accordingly—not just to stay relevant, but also to prevent coming off as insensitive. Here are the do’s and don’ts of marketing through the Covid-19 crisis:
DO – Communicate:
Contact all existing customers to demonstrate strength, partnership and availability. Adapt your spending from in-person marketing/sales events to digital channels and let everyone know 2 things:
- How you will be operating during this period – will hours be changing? Will there be a shift in services offers? You may want to think about updating your Google My Business page to reflect this.
- How you will be helping – listen to your customers and empathise with what they need from you during this time. What are the crucial ways in which you can help them?
DON’T – Hard Sell:
As the economic cost of the coronavirus outbreak continues to rise, businesses and consumers alike are anxious and uncertain about the future. If you didn’t like a hard-sell approach before, how do you think people are going to react to it at the moment? The answer? Not well.
Instead, educate about your topic: are there any resources or tips you can provide on your services/products?
DO – Empathise:
If there is one good thing that is emerging from this crisis, it’s that we are seeing the humanity at the heart of many companies. This is a scary time for many people, and you should take that into consideration when planning any external communication.
DON’T – Bury your head:
It is true that there are many companies that got this very wrong when this all started, but it doesn’t mean that you should bury your head and remain silent throughout this period. If your company refuses to adapt its company messaging throughout this, you will immediately come across like a tone-deaf business.
Instead, find the sweet spot between silence and storytelling by communicating things like what you’re doing to help, how your company is coping with working from home, and providing consistent transparency around your brand and its services.
DO – Be authentic:
There seems to be a new definition for professionalism developing across digital channels. Video conferencing at home with children running around and partners proffering coffee becomes a natural element of work, and corporate suits get hung up for when all this is over. Embrace it in your messaging and communicate honestly as a brand. Now is not the time for lifeless, impersonal messaging – avoid corporate talk and bring a personal, yet positive approach to your customer communication.
A great example – Heinz:
The maker of Heinz ketchup has created its first advert that was directed and shot by plant employees. The video shows workers in plants in Fremont, Ohio and Champaign, Illinois, with voiceover work by Dana Cockrell, a line operator at that Illinois plant:
DON’T – Overlook the bigger picture:
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and look at your business changes from their perspective. Is your online customer journey leading them to pages that now seem outdated? Are you promoting your products/services in places where they might find them?
Make no mistake, this is a tough time for almost everyone. But there are three valuable opportunities through digital marketing available due to the coronavirus lockdown.
First, there is a long-enforced pause in the tactical minutiae of daily business that allows you to see the big picture. Second, the virus presents you with the time to remedy some of the long-standing issues that your moment of reflection has subsequently revealed. And finally, the pause in trading enables you to fix those issues once and for all, before the wheels of commerce grind into motion again.