3 Steps To Adapt Your Marketing For COVID-19

How to Adjust Your Messaging for a Post-COVID-19 World

Bob Dylan sang it best: “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” No matter your vertical, the coronavirus pandemic has thrown a pretty hefty kink into 2020 plans, leaving marketers and business folks scrambling to keep up with daily COVID-19 updates and government-mandated operational changes.

Although it seems impossible to forecast what the future holds, one thing is certain: What you thought you knew about your consumers no longer holds true. 

Your audience’s day-to-day has changed so drastically in a short amount of time, and so have their values. To shift messaging and create content that resonates with your target audience’s new point of view, you must answer the following questions:

  1. What do consumers value now?
  2. How do we, as a brand, address these newfound values?

According to a study by University College London psychologist Phillippa Lally, it takes 66 days to turn a habit into a lifestyle. Many states have been on lockdown for over 70 days, meaning that consumer behavior isn’t going to shift–it already has shifted.

The behaviors we have adopted during quarantine – curbside pickup, food delivery, etc. – are the new normal; the values consumers esteemed prior to the pandemic are no longer relevant.

Kenn Adach, Partner and CEO of the leading CMO firm, Chief Outsiders, outlines a simple, proactive approach to reassessing your customer’s newfound values and implementing them into your marketing ASAP.

Step One: Debrief

What are your customers saying? Social listening and customer service are crucial to discovering what your audience is liking, disliking, and needing from you as a brand. Already, three significant shifts have dominated consumer behavior across multiple verticals:

  1. Speed: Same-day delivery and curbside pickup were created as a short-term solution to shopping restrictions; however, consumers are now accustomed to these fast-paced delivery methods and are expecting them to stay post-COVID.
  2. Value: Memberships and delivery fees are no longer feasible for many shoppers who have been hard hit financially or laid off due to the crisis. Companies who can mitigate these costs sooner rather than later will stand out and find success quicker than their competition.
  3. Convenience: “Brick-and-mortar” stores have been cast in a new role as “localized distribution centers” that allow consumers the flexibility to shop on their own terms. Between online apps and the variety of pickup and delivery options available, shoppers are loving this newfound freedom to shop when they want, how they want.

It is important to note that what you do know is just as important as what you do not know. You may come across some unanswered questions during social listening that you’ll need to find answers to. That brings us to the next step.

Step Two: Gather Insight

How do we gauge what we know and what we don’t? It’s simple, really – if you don’t ask, you’ll never know! There are many fun and engaging ways to gain valuable consumer insights. A few that come to mind are:

  1. Surveys: Send a questionnaire to your email subscriber list and offer an incentive, like a coupon or contest entry, as a reward for participating.
  2. Polls: Thanks to Facebook’s paid polling feature, you can create a poll on Facebook or Instagram Stories and boost it to gain feedback on a larger scale.
  3. Instagram Story Stickers: People are flocking to social media for entertaining content. Utilize one (or many) of the Stories stickers available to entertain and engage with your audience while gleaning insights from them.

Now that you have established the shifts in your consumer’s behavior and determined what they value and need from you, you are ready for the final step.

Step 3: Re-Plan

These changes just apply to marketing, right? Unfortunately, no. Consumers are wanting speed, value, and convenience from all facets of your business.

  1. Financial: With value topping consumer wish lists, people favor retailers with cheaper or non-existent delivery fees and membership alternatives. Companies who can find ways to absorb these costs will win the hearts – and business – of cost-conscious shoppers.
  2. Operational: The more options you can provide to getting a product in the hands of your consumer, the better. Prioritizing fast shipping and delivery or one-hour pickup is imperative to your business’s success.
  3. E-Commerce: Companies with multi-channel experiences, including e-commerce shopping and mobile apps, offer their consumers more flexibility to shop on their own terms.

COVID-19 has turned marketing upside down and will continue to do so as lockdowns extend and businesses slowly reopen. Whatever new curveballs coronavirus throws your way, adhering to these 3 simple steps will help you remain flexible and create compelling content that resonates with your audience.

If you’re in need of a marketing strategy re-fresh, drop us a line, we’d be more than happy to help you!

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