When marketing dynamics shift and demand for product or service plunges, a well-defined and flexible marketing plan can make all the difference. It is never too late to start working out a plan that will stand up to product failures, weather disruptions, an economic downturn, or even a pandemic like the Coronavirus.
When big things occur the marketing plan needs to be one that can be instantly turned into action to compensate for the larger shifts. Fast-changing times call for fast thinking on how to still have an impact on customers and maintain vital engagement. Having an effective marketing crisis strategy is key.
Marketers have worked out ways to communicate to consumers in times of crisis. When there are large impacts on how people shop, there must be a new way to engage customers and communicate with them effectively, without seeming to appear opportunistic or trying to take advantage of the situation.
Taking Care of Your Team
In times of hardship, you need to ensure your employees are all on the same page as you. You all should be headed in the same direction and your team needs to be informed each step of the way. If employees don’t have the truth of the situation and the plan, they start to guess at it and can end up far from where you want them to be.
Be honest, but you don’t need to frighten them with some details or communicate uncertainties that just lead to more anxiety. You want to give them a path, have them confident that they can do something to make a difference, and then let them get on with it. Additionally, give them as much support as you can through whatever event is impacting your business now. If you can keep them on, do so. If not, ensure you communicate with respect and offer them whatever you can afford in the way of separation services.
Taking Care of Your Customers
Customer communication is a big step in caring for your customers. Using email marketing during times of crisis is one of the ways to stay in touch. You should communicate often and be very clear in what you are saying. You have to be honest. When there is something big that affects your customers (like the Coronavirus pandemic), let them know that you understand their difficulties and want to help. Just engaging with your customers in times like this shows them you care, as long as it doesn’t appear like you are trying to capitalize on the event.
Think about how annoying it would be to start just bombarding customers with endless emails, advertising, or offers of webinars. Some webinars might be welcome, but you have to judge what will really benefit the customer or client right now rather than what will benefit you. There are a lot of organizations and companies out there who are able to offer free online classes, web groups, etc.. It is a way for marketing in times of crisis to keep your customers engaged until things return to normal.
Marketing Solutions Short Range
Short-range marketing will have the most effect from the time you implement it to the following three months in terms of impact. With this marketing plan, you will have to take control of those things that are easily changeable such as videos, ads in search engines, and social media.
For instance, if you have an eatery and can’t cater to dine-in customers, you can offer free delivery or pick-up options. You can have your social media and search engine ads scaled up telling what you offer and see a positive result. If you have an eCommerce business, you can let customers know how they can contact you in order to place orders, giving them a number of options.
Marketing Solutions Medium Range
From three to nine months out, the changes you will want to take place in your business will not be as dramatic as the short-range marketing actions. However, having a good strategy will ensure you stay afloat. You might not be able to get a high ROI, but if you can break even or perhaps make a small profit, you can still do some marketing and keep your business alive.
It is recommended that you work out the tactics you wish to use for the medium-range solutions, and see that your critical products and/or services remain in demand. These are the ones on which to place emphasis.
Marketing Solutions Long Range
Looking out from one to three years may seem good to you now, with maybe more time to spare, however, it’s probably best to wait until a time of crisis is passed before making any real long-range plans for your marketing. Hold on and keep tabs on changes in conditions so when you do revise your plans, you know more exactly where you are going.
Social media has become a mainstay of many businesses. These businesses can engage with their customers 24/7 in ways that never existed in non-social-media days. In a time of crisis or economic downturn, how should a business use a social media account?
A social media account allows a business to have a conversation with your customers, clients, and community. This conversation can take place anytime and anywhere. It is very much like talking on your office phone. Whatever you share on your social media account is the conversation-starter.
Continuing the dialogue once started is vital. You want to keep the conversation going. Just using the account as a sales vehicle won’t work. You are best off by informing the public with communications about when you are open, how to order products, what you are doing to stay safe during any crisis, and so on. You can post positive messages and resources that give people hope, showing you are one with them in this time. You can build solid relationships this way and keep your customers for a lot of repeat business.
Marketing is important at any time for any size company. But in times of crisis, it is vital to plan out good strategies to keep your business alive and well throughout.