Having an integrated marketing strategy in place allows you to stay organized and plan for the future. Many brands build out their strategies up to a year in advance to ensure marketing goals are met. The spread of COVID-19 reminds us of the importance of being able to pivot your brand’s strategy at any time. Having a flexible marketing strategy will help you immensely when situations arise that are out of your control. Read on to learn about the most important aspects of your strategy that must be flexible.
Altering Brand Messaging
Creating content calendars in advance helps brands stay on top of their individual marketing goals. How you position your brand changes throughout the year depending on seasonality and the nature of your product or service. Many brands have planned for the arrival of warmer months, promoting travel, holiday celebrations, and more; however, coronavirus is preventing people from traveling, attending gatherings with family and friends, shopping in stores, and participating in spring and summer activities. While we never thought we would see the day that leaving home was advised against due to such an outbreak, this crisis allows us to change the way we plan for the future.
During these challenging times, you may not be able to proceed as planned with your content strategy. Fortunately, you can alter your content strategy to reflect relevant trends and messaging. Instead of promoting traveling and gatherings, think about how your product can benefit consumers at home. This tactic is excellent for home improvement products, comfortable clothing, home entertainment, and more. Another strategy is to promote safe shopping online while offering free delivery. This will continue momentum with converting sales, as well as providing a benefit to your customers.
Modifications to Advertising
This pandemic has changed purchasing behavior drastically. In fact, studies show that 71% of Americas are now “very concerned” about the news surrounding COVID-19. The inevitable recession is causing consumers to become more aware of their spending, leaving them with limited budgets. The ad strategy you created previously may not be as effective amid the latest restrictions that consumers are facing. Ad copy that includes “Visit us today!” or “Book Now!” is no longer effective. Pivot your ad strategy to add value to your customers as they are adapting to the new normal. A few examples of this include a variety of calls to action, such as “Free Delivery,” “Order Online,” or “Same Day Shipping.”
Recent data shows a rise in Google display traffic as consumers have more spare time to browse online. Consider changing your ad objectives to build brand awareness during this time. This will set the stage for receptive audiences to become familiar with your brand so that when they are ready to purchase, they already know about your products.
Pivoting to Virtual Events
Many brands tailor their strategies to promote events throughout the year. These strategies can be built out months in advance. Unfortunately, events of all sizes have been cancelled until further notice; however, this does not mean that you need to scrap the strategy you have been following. Consider having a backup plan to gain the exposure you were planning on. Many events have been shifted to virtual events, while software, such as Zoom, and webinar technology are rising in popularity. This will allow you to continue your efforts by shifting to promote virtual attendance.
One of the best ways to maintain trust with your audience is by fostering open, honest communication. By keeping your customers in the loop about a crisis that you are facing, you are able to strengthen the bond with your audience. This also adds a personal touch to your brand and reminds your consumers that your company is composed of empathetic humans facing similar struggles. Continue to provide product availability updates when possible so they are aware of what is in stock and what will be available in the near future. Also consider making an official statement explaining how you are keeping your employees and customers safe while under quarantine. This leaves your audience with little to wonder about how your business is handling a pandemic.
Ask for Consumer Feedback
Another strategy we have seen brands practicing is asking their followers which type of content they are interested in seeing. Recently Kate Spade, a prominent designer brand known for its handbags, hosted an Instagram poll asking their followers what content they want to see. The company recognized that it is not an ideal time to promote their products. They shifted their content to more lifestyle-focused imagery and positive quotes to keep spirits up. This strategy shift is effective because it allows followers to provide their input on favorable content. It also shows that the brand genuinely cares about creating content that their audience is interested in. Consider hosting a poll of your own asking what your audience wants to see.
The spread of COVID-19 reminds us of the importance of being able to pivot your brand’s strategy at any time. Download your free copy of our eBook to learn more on how to design a strategy that is flexible.