For many businesses, the past couple of years has been mostly positive and included opportunities for growth. With the current state of the world, especially with the Coronavirus pandemic that is spreading rapidly across the world. The present and the future have become very uncertain times for businesses and individuals around the world. The main focus is to make sure we are taking care of those who are ill and making sure we are taking proper precautions to limit the spread of the virus.
In the United States, both small and large businesses are taking precautionary measures to take care of their employees, customers, suppliers, and partners. The majority of businesses are implementing remote work for their employees if possible. Even though, many businesses and business leaders who have taken steps to protect their workers are still experiencing much uncertainty about what comes next.
While the majority of businesses remain open, the question is, how do you market during a time of uncertainty? There are a couple of things to keep in mind during the pandemic of COVID-19. Below, we have shared a couple of our thoughts on how to approach digital marketing as we deal with a global pandemic.
As humans, we are biologically wired for fight or flight and panicking can be very real and comes naturally to us. With the pandemic of the Coronavirus, businesses and marketers should accept what is going around them and adapt to the situation. It is important to know that while there are many uncertainties that come from China and even though they are not fully recovered from the outbreak, China has taken major steps to disrupt the outbreak and level out the curve of the virus. The past cannot be changed, but with the proper precautions, we can shape our future for the better. The recovery of the pandemic will come if we act appropriately and together.
When it comes to marketing and business, the day to day operations is going to be altered by the pandemic and can’t continue as normal. Since the only way to move on is going forward, businesses need to adapt to their new surroundings. Instinctually businesses may be tempted to panic and put a pause on all marketing activities. Even though you may want to pause to be sensitive to those who may have experienced a loss, or are dealing with Coronavirus, you need to remember that it is important to be strategic. During this time of uncertainty, it may seem best to suspend your marketing budget, but doing so will hurt your business in the future comings. Ultimately, if you stop marketing during the pandemic you will hinder your ability to recover.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Yes, the fear of COVID-19 is very much alive, but the majority of B2B businesses, the demand for products and services are still there. If people start going too far off track with negative thinking, it will negatively affect your business and your employees. In other terms, a negative mindset can actually be more contagious than COVID-19 in a virtual workplace.
With marketing strategy, it is important to be realistic about how COVID-19 can impact the workplace. Without a doubt, there will be tough times cer fortain businesses such as restaurants, bars, air travel, and etc. But with other B2B businesses, it’s like every other day. The only difference is that sales and customer services will be done through Zoom, phone, or emails. The quantify and quality of the service will really not be affected.
The business is only as strong as the mindset that is running it. So don’t go down the path of negative thinking when there isn’t a reason to. The majority of B2B businesses can survive a pandemic, and all they have to do is adapt and use the alternative methods of communication and service delivery platforms.
Over the past week, we have seen businesses taking the necessary steps to combat the pandemic as best as possible. Changing business operations to include “social distancing,” mandating that all workers able to work remotely do so, moving as much work online as possible, and limiting the amount of in-person interaction possible. These decisions are all thoughtful and intentional choices that demonstrate concern for individuals.
Marketers should continue to be thoughtful and intentional in their efforts. It’s ok to still post blog posts as long as the topics are worthwhile to the audience. It’s ok to send an email newsletter if the content is sensitive to the audience and offering value. Remember that many folks are taking their additional time right now to improve their skill set or expand their knowledge. They are focusing on the future and your content or materials will help to educate them while also letting them take their mind off the uncertainty surrounding them.
There is a clear line between an entrepreneurial spirit and using an opportunity to provide value. Because toilet paper hoarders are selling rolls for $10 apiece out of their cars, it’s essential to state that marketers and business owners absolutely MUST avoid being opportunistic or predatory.
If you are seeing an increased demand for something like IT services to set up remote workers or conference call software (both real demands now), be very careful about how you market these services. Facebook has banned ads related to profiting off the fears of COVID- 19. Make sure you understand the true need behind what is driving these trends and speak to the concerns of the end-users or business units. You do not want to appear tone deaf.
We don’t know when the COVID-19 pandemic will slow down, or how far it will reach, or what the final impact will be. But, based on recovery rates being published, it’s likely that much of the population will survive. For marketers and business leaders, it’s important to be flexible and adapt for now, but to continue to plan for the long term.
We are all in this together and we will pull through.