We’d be hard-pressed to find a business that is not dealing with the impact of COVID-19. While the US has faced economic downturns in the past, this situation is unlike anything the world has seen. So how do we adapt our marketing strategy when the general market is seeing such swings and uncertainty? While the market is doubtlessly unnerving, brands now have an opportunity to realign marketing efforts, demonstrate leadership, provide value beyond products and services and be remembered for the steps they take during this time.
During economic downturns, everything changes—psychology, consumer behavior, market segments, as well as financial decisions. Rapidly evolving events shift the confidence of customers, investors, and businesses, which is reflected in an erratic and unstable market. Customer segments begin to change based on psychographics rather than demographics. For example, some people respond by saving anywhere they can, others embrace living for the day, and still others proceed business as usual. People reevaluate their priorities, and as a result, spending habits evolve. At the moment, it is safe to say that most people are proceeding with caution based on new facts and events happening in the country and abroad.
Amidst the coronavirus, we see marketing shift to a wait-and-see mode and adaptation becomes more critical than ever. Businesses must jump through hoops to keep current customers and work to discern which costs are essential and which are extraneous. Large companies and strong brands have the greatest upper-hand because they hold consumer trust. However, all marketers can adjust to the new reality if they study the evolving trends in the industry. Regardless of company size, performance metrics such as brand awareness and engagement are increasingly important.
Regardless of company size, performance metrics such as brand awareness and engagement are increasingly important.
Now that we’ve discussed shifts in marketing trends, how should we be thinking about content? What content is appropriate during coronavirus, and how do we adjust our tone when referencing it? When you think of brand tone, remember that people have a sensitive radar for BS right now (pardon our French). During a global crisis, you should communicate authentically and steer clear of newsjacking.
It is important to embrace the right tone because people are looking for encouragement and connection from all angles, including their favorite brands. Social media can be a vehicle for companies to show support for their customers. In content marketing, the goal is to provide value to the customer. Right now, content should focus on mental health and inspirational, optimistic messaging. If a business is able, it should consider giving communities and healthcare workers a leg up by producing needed supplies. People are more likely to support a business if they see it contributing to those in need.
Now that we know how to adapt content, let’s take a look at marketing strategies for Google. Rest assured, in a few months things will get better, people will start going back to work and consumers will be spending again (perhaps much more than before). Because of this, it’s important to keep your SEO campaigns running to stay ahead of the competition, some of which will be pulling back instead of pushing forward right now. It’s been said that staying financially optimistic during a recession becomes a major advantage when the market is bullish again, so be intentional about where you cut costs and pull back investments. When it comes to SEO, we suggest the same approach: keep pushing forward. Continue to optimize your website and improve your ranking.
As you integrate this advice into your marketing strategy, you may find you need an easier way to run campaigns. If that happens, our last tip is to consider investing in marketing automation. Marketing leaders are dealing with the stress of shifting budgets, reallocating resources and keeping up with changing customer behavior and trends. In times like these, automation is a useful ally. There are many tools that automate campaigns for you so you have more time to adapt to new circumstances.
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