26 Mar Does Marketing During a Pandemic Even Matter?
I’ve been asking myself if marketing during a pandemic matters. As the owner of a marketing agency, you’d assume my answer would be a resounding yes. My answer might actually surprise you.
Does marketing during a pandemic even matter?
Whether or not marketing during a pandemic matters depends on your goal. Are you trying to help others, or just help yourself?
If you are trying to help yourself so you can feed your bank account, your marketing will fall flat and damage your reputation, maybe irreparably. People will see right through your selfish behavior.
If you are trying to help others, bingo. Marketing during a pandemic could work for you. Maybe you will “only” earn admiration and gratitude instead of new clients in the short term but it will likely pay off in the long term.
How can you be helpful?
As revenue stays steady or slows down, you might consider slashing your marketing budget to zero. Don’t. Marketing equals visibility. If you stop marketing, people will forget about you.
Adjust your message
If you create and schedule content ahead of time, make sure it’s still relevant. You don’t want to appear to be tone-deaf right now.
I am chair of an advisory board at George Mason University’s School of Business. Our biggest fundraising event of the year is in two months. We have stopped all marketing of it until we know whether or not it’s going to happen.
People are craving up-to-date information, which I know is hard to deliver when circumstances are changing on a daily basis. It’s OK to overcommunicate as long as you have something new to share.
My kids are in middle school and high school here in Fairfax County, Virginia. The school system and their individual schools have been fantastic about sending out information, sometimes twice in one day. Likewise, our local government (the county) has done a fantastic job keeping residents updated on changes to government services.
You may have seen your favorite retailers and restaurants send out frequent emails. Maybe they are operating on limited hours (like our local Home Depot) or only offering takeout (like some of our favorite local restaurants).
Sharing is caring, and sharing information is vital right now.
Offer specific help
Don’t just ask your clients, “How can I help you?” That’s kind of like asking someone who just had a death in their family how you can help. They might not know how to answer – if they answer at all.
TELL your clients how you can help. You might even want to tell prospects how you can help, too.
One of my clients is an options trader, and believe it or not, his options trading portfolio is up nearly 18% year-to-date. Yes, you read that right. It’s UP.
He teaches people how to trade options for income, so we are using this as an opportunity to tell people that he can help them grow their wealth even during a highly volatile bear market.
I am working on a project that will offer free sales/marketing/operations consulting to company/organization leaders. The program is still in development, but the idea is: We listen to your biggest challenge right now, and then we discuss opportunities and recommendations while you listen.
Think supportive, cozy and comforting
Beyond being helpful, keep your marketing focused on what is cozy and comforting. I’ve been reading about small retailers highlighting pajamas, loungewear, candles, puzzles, and locally-made snacks and other goods in their emails to customers.
You could also round up a list of local organizations that are accepting cash donations to support those in the community, like food pantries.
Now is the time to rally together and HELP each other. Be safe, be kind and stay healthy, my friends.