How to Re-strategize Marketing Efforts Amid a Pandemic
North Bay Biz Magazine – December 2020
by Tom Jackson
Consumers have everything they need at their fingertips in this digital world, so how to make your business stand out amongst all the noise?
Trying to predict the unpredictable seems like an impossible task, yet many businesses have found themselves doing just that. Marketing revolves around current consumer trends. COVID-19 has drastically changed consumer behavior, and it’s more important than ever to adapt to those behaviors to successfully promote your brand.
While social distancing and lockdowns may have us feeling physically disconnected, yet we remain connected, thanks to technology. From remote learning to working from home, many find themselves using devices more than they typically did pre-pandemic. E-commerce and BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) have grown tremendously, as people seek out safer and more convenient shopping options. Consumers have everything they need at their fingertips in this digital world, so how to make your business stand out amongst all the noise?
Now, it’s more important to create an element of community. People aren’t as interested in just the product, or just the brand anymore. Consumers want to feel proud of the business they are supporting and have that level of trust that keeps them coming back.
This year has been a lesson in how to roll with the punches a little bit better, even when those “punches” are given with incredibly short notice. Digital billboards can help businesses respond quickly since they’re updated in real-time for time-sensitive announcements, last-minute updates, offers and events. So, for National First Responders Day, Amy’s Drive-Thru announced it would offer free meals for first responders via a digital billboard ad. The Veale Outdoor digital billboard off Highway 101 caught the attention of many first responders and local community members who happily took them up on the generous offer. The message of support was a perfect way to build community morale and to get positive messaging out there, honoring some of our heroes. Consumers value businesses that take action.
Learning how to re-strategize in a constantly changing landscape is no easy feat. Many marketing trends still stand true despite the unprecedented times we are in. Here are a few tried-and-true trends, which work in our current climate.
Maintain a strong online presence. With more people spending an increased amount of time on their phones and laptops, the best way for businesses to connect is simply through having a strong online presence and keeping it updated. Is your business showing up as intended on search engines such as Google Business? Are you posting enough on social media outlets to keep consumers involved and engaged? Social media users are consistent and more likely to stay engaged with an active presence.
Engage your audience with interactive content. Traditional customer experiences are being replaced with augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR forms) adding digital elements to a live view. Ray Ban has a feature on their website that allows you to virtually try on different pairs of sunglasses. The goal is to give your audience a way to be involved, whether it is something they can see or do. VR places the user in another dimension. The North Face offered customers the opportunity to “hike” through Yosemite National Park. Customers were able to fully engage themselves into the experience and were more likely to want to purchase their products for future, real life, experiences.
Focus on social commerce. E-commerce is thriving. Businesses should focus on social media ads and shoppable posts that lead directly to the e-commerce site. Creating a smooth digital experience for easy purchasing is key. Limit links and make it extremely easy and simple for users to click and buy.
Develop Relationships. Communicate consistently and transparently with your audience. Consumers are more likely to purchase goods or interact with a brand when they feel they have a connection and a level of trust in that brand. Building and maintaining relationships with both old and new consumers is critical to remain top of mind. Once the economy fully recovers, consumers will have remembered which brands they kept a relationship with throughout it all.
Show you care. Many people feel overwhelmed these days. Another great way to market your business is to take social responsibility and show you care. Consumers are not just expecting those around them to act, they’re also expecting businesses to as well. Whether it involves taking a stance on environmental issues, or supporting the local community after a natural disaster, taking action (and talking about it publicly) is a powerful way to build connectivity to your audience and make a difference.
The pandemic has reshaped how we market and promote businesses. There is so much value in fostering a sense of connectivity amidst the chaos that COVID-19 has caused. You want to add value to a consumer’s life, rather than noise or clutter. Take this opportunity now to reposition your brand and messaging to better access your audience—staying on the minds of those who will support your business during and after the pandemic. It’s all about creating a better and more engaging experience for your customers to fully experience all that your brand has to offer.
About The Author
Tom Jackson is general manager of Veale Outdoor Advertising and has been an ad man for more than 25 years. Originally from Indiana, he’s lived in Santa Rosa since 1988 and, when’s he not helping clients fulfill their marketing goals, Tom enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, family, friends and playing golf.