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POWERSHIFT MARKETING THIS WEEK

April 21, 2020

THIS WEEK – There is nothing like staying home to find more time to write! So, I am back after a six month break. Wow, how the world has changed. As various guidelines are released for getting the country back to work, now is the time to explore what you need to do to regain marketing strength and restore your business in a post COVID-19 world. I shared the following thoughts with my partners in my cooperative marketing program, Crater Lake Country. While they are focused on the visitor industry, they are universal.

TAKE ACTION NOW

Customers have a very short attention span. It has been 30+ days since the public has been told to “stay home, stay safe.” In marketing terms, that is a lifetime. What have you done during this period to maintain top of mind awareness; to keep current and future customers engaged? Fix it now.

STAY POSITIVE – There is plenty of negativity in the world today. You need to keep your message 100% positive by sharing public service information, good wishes for people to stay healthy, and what you and your employees are doing for the community during this difficult time.

  • Increase your use of Facebook and other organic channels (like your blog) to leverage your exposure.
  • Continue to post YouTube videos, Instagram updates, and photos and stories on social media.

KEEP YOUR WEBSITE UP-TO-DATE

It is easy to think of your website as just an online brochure. It’s not. It can be a dynamic marketing tool that can share current realities. Unfortunately, few companies use it that way.

On your website share the latest information as well as any details on what is open. Your site must continue to be a trusted source for information and travel inspiration.

PEOPLE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU – HubSpot, a leading inbound marketing resource, is currently reporting data from their 70,000+ client companies to understand what people are looking for in this crisis. Their most recent update (last week) revealed that:

People are seeking out and interacting online far more today than a month ago. While this certainly reflects the moving of more transactions online, it also shows that for now, people are still looking to engage. If you have a message to share, look for websites and organic online channels to share it.

COOPERATIVE EFFORTS ARE IMPORTANT

Look for partners that can help spread your message and reduce your costs. The best way to make your money go farther is to spend someone else’s money. There are plenty of cooperative campaigns and resources to help you market. Reach out now.

CONTINUE EMAIL MARKETING

Yes, maintain an active email marketing program. But be careful not to sound self-serving by only dialing up deals (promotions and discounts) – an approach that may look insensitive. Instead, focus on nurturing long-term relationships. Look for ways you can help your customers today, without asking for anything in return.

Again, people want to hear from you. HubSpot data reveals that the percentage of people that open a business email (open rate) has increased. People want to stay informed, but they may not want to buy right now. You need to share positive messages that things are going to get better.

EMPATHY IS MARKETING

Way before COVID-19, many marketing leaders have been urging a brand message shift to customer empathy. If you are not already on the empathy bandwagon, you are late. Showing empathy and concern for your customers will be critical in a post COVID-19 world.

Need help understanding how you can make your team more empathetic? There’s plenty of help online. This Inc.com story (click here: https://www.inc.com/marc-lore/the-4-things-every-leader-needs-to-know-about-empathy.html) and this Tim Cook presentation (click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3nFe7EpWAY) are excellent introductions into the role of empathy in marketing. Watch and listen, then act.

DISCOUNTS ARE A TWO EDGED SWORD

The public will be expecting discounts. A good portion of them may be hurting financially, so they will need discounts. That said, those who discount may take longer to recoup their lost income and it might be difficult to reestablish normal rates. If possible, don’t discount basic pricing. This will lower the quality perception of your brand and make it harder to return to pre-COVID-19 rates. Instead, promote offers that seem driven by longer stays, stays on specific days, rewards to returning customers, and other discounts that do not appear to be COVID-19 related.

CONSERVE RESOURCES

There will be a rush to advertise immediately to meet perceived pent up demand. Media outlets will be offering special deals. But don’t spend all your marketing dollars immediately. Develop a six-month marketing strategy.

DCG Research, which is currently conducting a DMO study, has discovered that it may take months before people feel safe again. While 3 out of 4 respondents say they are eager to travel, few plan to travel within the next 30 days because they are unsure of what they can expect.

DEMONSTRATE A DIFFERENT APPROACH

Business as usual will not return. COVID-19 has changed the rules of customer interaction. You must demonstrate this reality when you reopen your business.

  • How are you going to change your business practices to give customers a greater sense of health security and confidence?
  • How are you going to visually demonstrate these changes? Customers will increasingly demand that they see actual physical changes reflecting your concern for their safety.

LAUNCH FRONTLINE STAFF RE-TRAINING

Again, business as usual will not return. Not only do you need to make sure your staff feels safe in serving the public, they need to fully understand the systems you have installed to make your customers feel safe too. Start re-training now.

Stay safe, stay home, stay positive!

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