“In the agency world, how marketers handle coronavirus will separate the pros from the amateurs.”
As a marketing professional, COVID-19 has presented some very unique and unpredictable challenges. But we’re going to tell you why it’s more critical than ever to continue marketing and implement an effective marketing plan.
Our team has been closely monitoring new updates as they come out from iconic brands we admire, as well as following the trajectory of some smaller brands and associations that we think are handling COVID-19 in smart, responsible ways. While a lot of marketers are uncertain of what they can do to respond during a crisis, we truly believe that it’s important to keep up marketing engagement efforts to innovate when our backs are up against the wall.
As recently explained in a post by The American Marketing Association, “Embolden your team of creative people to come up with ideas on how you can keep the motor running and the wheels turning. Your team’s ideas should help mitigate the panic and provide consumers information that is positive, valuable and solution-driven.”
So what can your marketing team do to drive the agenda forward and be a beacon of change when other brands around you are making the decision to go dark?
First, let’s breakdown a few thing marketers should be focusing on:
Marketers are essentially the human connection between people and brands. Every social media post, press release, email, and postcard was sent by someone marketing for their brand. We are communicators, equipped with the skills and resources to inject life and a human touch into every piece of collateral. It doesn’t help anyone to shy away from adversity and uncomfortable situations. Marketers have an obligation to address COVID-19 head-on, and develop solutions that will change things for the better.
Let’s just get this out of the way: it’s not going to be easy. Teams are still adapting to working from home, productivity will take a hit, and the way people interact is going to keep shifting. However, don’t assume that this means people are no longer consuming content, checking social media, and reading emails. If anything, there will be heightened traffic on these channels. At the same time, organic site traffic is going to continue declining outside of a few possible outliers in the healthcare, pharma, and food industries.
Does this mean you should sit back and take your foot off the gas…? Certainly not. If anything, history repeats itself. Industries will bounce back, the economy will recover, and the sense of normalcy will return in due time. This is why your marketing team needs to stay engaged no matter what. COVID-19 is a rallying cry for marketers to take what they do best and provide value for their audience. Brands have emerged from crisis before and come out stronger and more unified from it.
We can’t stress enough the importance of proper messaging and imagery during a crisis. Marketers need to be smart about everything we post. Stay away from any verbiage endorsing crowds, parties, or celebrations during a health crisis. Make sure your graphics follow a similar thought pattern. It doesn’t hurt to quadruple check every piece of marketing collateral before it’s shipped out.
Throughout this series, we have routinely emphasized the importance of communication. For a marketing team, this is especially valuable. Check that everyone knows how to use the virtual platforms your company has chosen to keep employees engaged and communicating. Another important component right now is the social media multiplier effect. Basically, you want to maintain consistent messaging regarding COVID-19 and your company on social media. It can actually be beneficial to your brand for employees to share their personal stories and experiences on social media. Just make sure you have a quick conversation about policy and posting online to mitigate risk.
As of now, none of us really know when business will return to “normal.” Some of the virtual practices we are starting to implement might be here to stay for good. Marketers should focus on staying mobilized, organized, and human when our backs are up against the wall. Like AdWeek said, “how marketers handle coronavirus will separate the pros from the amateurs.”
As COVID-19 pushes teams into remote, virtual workspaces, our “Staying Connected During COVID-19” series is here to help. Let’s commit to keeping ourselves, our families, and our communities safe, one step at a time. Follow us for tips on how we can further your mission together.