COVID-19 has a far greater impact than we would have anticipated in the beginning, both at the macro and micro levels. Economies have crashed, businesses have slowed down, the government’s policies have changed and millions of people are losing jobs every single day. At an individual level, lifestyles have changed and priorities have altered. The world is certainly not the same anymore.
The new normal of social distancing, remote working, and virtual meetings have brought a significant change in the customer’s buying patterns. To thrive in these uncertain times, organizations need to see their customers and customer-focused strategies through a new lens. However, this also brings forth an opportunity to become razor-sharp-focused, and efficient than before.
With that thought, here are a few key marketing strategies that organizations must adopt to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic and come out stronger:
There is a change in customer behavior, purchasing needs, and priorities amid the COVID crisis. Data from the Pre-COVID period is no more relevant. Organizations need to re-evaluate and tweak their buyer personas to remain relevant in the current period. As per Gartner, this is the time to see consumers as individuals and not part of specific segments.
Do some research to figure out how the goals, challenges, and expectations of your target audience have changed post the pandemic. For example, you may find that their goal of business growth is now changed to business sustainability, or the expectation of a better product version is changed to a better economic option.
Organizations need to focus on customer voice and innovative customer engagement programs more than ever. By capturing and analyzing fresh customer data, marketers can create personalized and relevant messages to drive more positive customer experience.
The last thing that marketers would want is losing customer’s trust and engagement with the brand.
Don’t keep sending heartfelt messages or emails for just trying to be relevant and sound pushy at the same time. Rather, offer something that can be of real help to them in their tough time. It could be free trials, discounts upon purchase, waiver on member fee, free access to some premium features, etc.
These efforts will not only be perceived well by your customers but will also increase the top of your sales funnel eventually.
Hubspot, LinkedIn, Adobe are a few examples of the companies which are offering free resources and discounts to support their customers. HubSpot is offering several tools for free and also reduced the monthly cost of its Starter Growth package by 50%, LinkedIn is offering 16 of its courses for free and Adobe is providing access to Microsoft 365 Business Basic for six months free with a new annual subscription.
All these do the trick when you know what clicks with them!
If you have still not invested enough in content marketing, NOW is the right time.
Social distancing is going to be prevalent for quite some time in the post-pandemic-era and hence digital information will remain the go-to source for prospective buyers.
So, offer meaningful, valuable, and educative content to establish trust and strengthen customer engagement which will later help in better conversions.
You may build a dedicated learning resource page on your website, offer buyer guides, whitepapers, checklists, and templates for free.
People are spending 20% more time online than they used to in pre-COVID times.
Marketers must capitalize on their audience's increased presence on the web effectively. Organize virtual events, these events are cheaper to hold and are more measurable in terms of attendance, interest, conversions, and hence the ROI. The other advantage of online events is that you can invite participants from all over the world.
Video marketing and podcasts also attract more visitors and have tremendous engagement at this time.
The traffic on the web is certainly higher than ever so much so that Netflix had to slow down its download speeds to reduce network bandwidth and at the same time there are fewer advertisers because of budget Constraints. This is the precise reason that online ads are cheaper these days. So make sure you revisit the bid prices, evaluate the outcome, and include Ads in your strategy. In fact, for some organizations, paid advertisements are providing much higher returns than before the COVID times.
Customers are willing to listen but only the relevant and meaningful stories. This is the time to give it back to society, so provide as much value as possible to your customers and communities.
Create a compelling and innovative marketing strategy that combat the pandemic challenges and show how your brand has geared up to solve those.
You must also express gratitude towards the frontline workers and your employees who are working religiously and helping people and businesses overcome this crisis.
These initiatives may not have a direct impact on revenue immediately but they will build up goodwill and help drive long-term loyalty. Several brands have launched amazing campaigns around social distancing, the importance of staying home, and the resilience of their employees.
Digital marketing teams need to revive their marketing strategies as soon as possible and gear up themselves for Re-activating, Re-launching, and Re-Engaging their gameplan.
The objective of all the future campaigns must be increasing the CLV (Customer lifetime value) and creating a great customer experience. Charles Darwin's theory of Survival of the Fittest is pretty much relevant in the current times. Only the true resilient brands which are willing to align their strategies to the current times and act swiftly will sail through and witness tremendous growth.