Like virtually every business in the world right now, marketers have felt the impact of the COVID-19 virus on their business, their family and their friends. Many of the marketing tactics and strategies that worked in 2019 now are practically ineffective in early 2020. From contact list management to SEO, social media to print – everything has morphed into something different.
But there are ways to keep your plan solid regardless of the climate. Now is a good time to revisit your marketing plan and give it some defense against COVID-19 and any future disrupting incidents.
Here are four quick “inoculations” to help your marketing plan to weather any storm:
1. Get closer to your target customers and markets
Having a close connection to your target personas will help you to spot any influencing signals that could change their behavior. This will allow you to adjust your marketing tactics to align quickly to changes. What does “get closer” mean? There are a few ways to accomplish this –
- Increase the frequency of reviewing your target persona – take a look at the demographics, the habits, behaviors, and key interests. Looking at this monthly is a good practice.
- Pay attention to your voice of customer (VOC) – those who are real clients or those who are closely tied to the clients can give you valuable insights on what are the new concerns and relevant issues that need a response from marketers.
- Take a closer look at newer reviews and feedback – if your clients have taken the time during a tragic event to send a review or submit feedback, then you should pay even closer attention and note areas that may need adjustment. There could be questions about the safety or sterility of a product, increased demand, or how soon a product could be available due to supply chain disruption.
- Monitor social media signals – review posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social media sites to detect trends and identify new approaches that you might be able to utilize for better communications and messaging.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and keywords – use tools to take a look at the terminology and new search words that may have emerged. Phrases like “social distancing” and “UN95” were virtually non-existent just a few months ago. Checking your SEO on a more frequent basis during a crisis can help you tune faster and more accurately.
2. Be responsive
Continue to provide guidance and tips throughout the crisis. Adjust product or service descriptions plus any marketing content. The information should expand upon the current crisis and how the product or service is relevant or how it has been impacted. Responding to questions and reviews should be amplified as well.
3. Hold events online
Webinars, videos, phone calls, blogs, contests should all have some tie to the current crisis and give your target customers a positive feeling that their needs are being met even during the incident. In all events, make sure your marketing message is consistent and you use the keywords and phrases that align with the current situation.
4. Review your budget and KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) more frequently
It might be prudent to do a weekly review of your business budget. Take a close look at sales trends, cost changes, and the forecasts for the coming weeks or months. Even large organizations can benefit from daily or weekly key metric reviews. If your customer purchase habits have changed, your budget must adapt to that change.
The challenge of COVID-19 has definitely impacted virtually everyone and every business in the world. Customers have either made panic purchases, or they have completely stopped buying certain products or services. In other cases, like streaming video services, the demand has skyrocketed.
But COVID-19 was not the first market disrupting event. And COVID-19 will not be the last disruptor. There will be more events that change the market. Some of the events may have more or less impact than COVID-19. But in any case, making these adjustments to your market plan will help it to be agile and adaptive no matter what the future may hold.