The coronavirus pandemic has turned the world — and your customers’ usual trends and behaviors — sideways and then some. Likewise, your own operations have surely suffered from massive overhauls in no time at all. The future is lost in a recurring fog, and many business leaders are asking the same questions: Where do we go from here? What should I do now? When will this be over?
In the face of the unprecedented, it’s tempting to sit back and wait out market uncertainties. To reduce, refuse and recede feels the safer bet. Yet, according to research by Reach3 Insights, consumers are showing interesting trends in the pandemic — lasting trends that could benefit your company if handled correctly.
- 76% have picked up new habits, behaviors and routines
- Of those 76%, 89% indicate that they plan on upkeeping the new habits
- 36% plan to continue using new brands after the pandemic
Online sales have skyrocketed. History has proven that leaders who increase marketing spend during economic uncertainty fare better in the long run than those who do not. And the American Association of Advertising Agencies has found 56% of consumers actually want to see brands’ response to the pandemic.
At Active8 Communications, our team has stood beside long-time and new clients alike to help guide their marketing strategy and communications efforts through these current rowdy waters. The work we do now will help support smooth sailing ahead as we get closer to reaching the other side of the pandemic. During this time, though, we have identified three vital marketing strategies business leaders can turn to here and now to stay afloat — and even get ahead.
1) Keep a Pulse on Your Market and Consumer Trends
Do you truly know your customer? The truth is, your customers have changed and continue to transform tenfold since the start of the pandemic. Any data that has historically driven your executive decision-making is old news. It’s vital for leaders to reassess and monitor your consumer behaviors and needs on a more-regular basis.
For even more impact, take this a step further: Dive deep into your customers’ needs and future challenges and opportunities. Tip them off on coming trends and changes within your industry or area of expertise — and become a trusted advisor to their pressing needs.
What to do about it today: Start brainstorming. Sit down with your leadership team and map out a SWOT analysis for your business in our current environment. Focus especially on your opportunities and threats — and the intersection of your strengths. Then, brainstorm your customers’ current and biggest pains. What are their top five? Their top 10? Which can you help alleviate with your strengths and solutions?
2) Build and/or Strengthen Your Digital Presence
Digital has earned a lot of attention in the marketing and communications world the past decade or so, and for good reason: Your customers are online. If your business is not currently online for their finding, it is pertinent you fix that now and join modern business to support your customers’ preferences, expectations and needs.
But even for those brands who have a digital presence with a website and social channels, there still is a large divide between those that exist and those that stand out and support buying decisions and processes. Your website content needs to sing the song of your brand’s unique value. The design needs to be professional and appealing — while also strategic and catered to your target customers. Your demand generation funnels must drive your audiences with compelling, timely and valuable content to relevant pages on your site. On the surface, digital marketing may seem like an easy checkbox, but it is actually a finely orchestrated strategy of multi-layered tactics that can unlock the potential of your brand’s reach, interest-generating and especially sales.
What to do about it today: Ask a trusted third party or key customer partner to provide a website audit:
- Is your navigation seamless and logical?
- Is your main messaging and value clear and consistent?
- Is your branding professional, consistent and true to your organization?
- Are lead or sales channels obvious and accessible?
Additionally, for extra credit, review your content marketing schedule (or start developing one) and work in more relevance and value for your customers’ current concerns, interests and needs on a regular basis.
3) Resonate With Consumers Through Empathy, Relevance and Value
Now is not the time to push out traditional marketing campaigns. It is, however, the perfect opportunity to build deep and lasting relationships with your customers — and to wear your heart on your logo. Things are tough right now for everyone. Your value messaging needs to shift to a place of genuine and thoughtful empathy. If you can position your brand as a helping hand to your customers in this stressful and devastating time — as an unwavering anchor — you can drive long-term loyalty and sustainable revenue streams.
Your past long-running marketing campaigns will likely go stale in our modern times. Pretty advertisements lacking meaningful copy threaten to send the wrong message. It is vital your messaging is not only relevant to your customers but also to the current state of the world.
Some companies have gone above and beyond in their communications and strategy by paying it forward to their customers and communities, from raising money to support those in need, to eliminating subscription fees for online learning, to even supporting front-line workers.
What to do about it today: How can you support your community? Develop a giving strategy — and let your customers know. They want to hear more stories like this.
And if giving back isn’t feasible for your organization, how else can you be a helping hand to your customers? Can you lighten their mood in an appropriate way? Can you give them a deal to support a new struggle? Can you develop a whole new solution altogether to their headaches?
Be creative, and as long as you’re caring about it, it is likely to help you stand out above your competition and in the minds of your customers.
Six months ago, it was forgivable to believe the pandemic — and its effects — would disappear soon. Here and now, it is vital to remain present, relevant and valuable to your target customers as they too face one of the greatest struggles in their life. Don’t let your competition outpace you. Don’t leave your consumers alone in a rough wake.
Reach out to the Active8 team for support in updating your marketing strategy and strengthening your digital presence today.
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