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Marketing in Uncertain Times

May 22, 2020

While life during COVID-19 can seem uncertain and unsettling, it is our temporary reality. City streets are empty, grocery stores have strict shopper regulations, and non-essential businesses remain closed. However, while as a nation we have been confined to our homes, innovation and creativity during this time has shown no limits. From remote late-night talk shows with our favorite hosts to unprecedented online learning for all ages, we are witnessing some pretty amazing things.  

So what are marketing enterprises saying and doing? Here are the top 5 things we are seeing:

  • Conserving and accessing cash
    Defer payments on debt where possible, and be wary of costly investments and expenditures. If you haven’t opened a line of credit, it may be wise to your bank right away to ensure you have emergency access to cash.
  • Taking care of people… the best they can
    A simple check-in message can go a long way.Working from home is a big adjustment for some people, and hearing from someone in the office could remind them that they’re not alone in this.
  • Planning scenarios for what the future holds
    No one can predict what the future is going to look like, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared. Play out different scenarios including a short, near, and long-term plan considering both virus containment vs. virus reoccurrence so that you’re ready for anything.
  • Getting creative
    Many companies are experimenting with digital platforms that they’ve never used before. Consider branching out in new ways online as people continue to spend more time on their computers and phones.
  • Paying it forward
    Some companies are left with unused resources and funds. If this is the case for you, consider donating your extra materials to hospitals or donating money for the purchase of personal protective equipment.

Depending on what kind of business you operate, your approach as it relates to marketing will look different for each situation.

From full closure to full operation and everything in between, there are options for your marketing strategy that ensure recovery and productivity in the future. Either way, focusing your efforts digitally and supporting others in everything you do will take you far.

Now that you’ve seen what enterprises are already doing and identified your own situation, here are five tangible tips (plus one pro tip) that you can use going forward:

Despite the uncertainty of the future, you have the power to implement or reinforce certain marketing practices now. This includes everything from digital strategy directly related to your brand to philanthropic services to how you take care of your employees. Still wondering about our pro tip? Direct response TV is extremely affordable right now. As households begin tuning in to cable channels and radio again with so much time at home, you can get a lot of impressions for a great price.  

If you plan to incorporate these tips into your marketing strategy, it’s important to stay accountable for seeing them through. Following a checklist like the one below will keep you and your company on track:

  • Reach out one-on-one to 5-10 customers or employees per day. This can be via phone, text, email, written note, or anything to remind them that they are still valued.
  • Update social pages at least once per week. If you don’t currently have a social media presence, now is a great time to set them up! Create a content calendar that shows authenticity and engaging stories.
  • Develop short-, near-, and long-term written plans. Writing out plans that others can follow will help in making ideas a reality. Include who you’re targeting, how it will get shared, what you want to say, and when this needs to happen.
  • Dedicate regular time for learning something new. Chances are we all have some extra time on our hands. Use it to explore how some of the most creative minds are turning lemons into lemonade and what others in your space are doing.

If you’re looking for a place to start, these resources can help you get off the ground. The Sophos Marketing Blog has short videos and simple articles for digital marketing tools. If you need to better manage your social media, check out www.buffer.com to view all platforms in one place. For more ideas and social content, visit https://blog.hootsuite.com/content-idea-cheat-sheet/ or https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-ideas/