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COVID-19: An unprecedented Marketing Enigma

Isaac Spiteri20th March
6min read

This is weird. All of this is truly weird.

One virus from the depths of Wuhan, China has spread all over the planet like jam on toast and here we are, with more questions than answers.

In the world of marketing, you don’t plan for these situations (The world, in general, doesn’t but you catch my drift). So we thought that we’d share five tips on how your company/business/corner food store can maintain its marketing during these troubling times.

1. What’s Happening?

First things first, you need to understand what’s happening around you. How does this spread affect your business? How does it affect customer spending habits? Is your product relevant to fight the spread or will the spread hamper its sales?

The questions may seem endless, but you need to narrow them down and prepare to improvise.

Improvisation is key during these times. Find a way around the limitations that the virus has caused. If you have a store, offer a delivery service! If you offer a delivery service, implement a contactless procedure! Market the fact that you have taken, or will take, all precautionary measures possible to help combat the spread. As you’re answering all of these questions and improvising your way through, you’re steadily creating a marketing plan for your next move.


2. The Elephant

Now we get to the elephant in the room, with one towering question. Do you address it?

There isn’t a one-answer-fits-all for this question. It mainly revolves around your product and your usual marketing plan. However, with all that being said our advice would be that, yes, you address it.

Addressing the situation at hand will make you and your business look more human, more down to earth, more in touch with what’s happening and will help you fulfil your CSR (but more on that later). No need to go out giving sanitary advice to your audience, you’re no expert (well, you know, unless you actually are). There’s a line in the sand to gaining people’s trust and you don’t want to cross it.

Now whether you plan on making light-hearted jokes or memes, or address the situation in a serious manner depends on your business’ marketing style.


3. Is it good? Is it bad?

We’re simply going mad. Sorry, had to throw an Ira Losco reference in there somehow. Now we’ve arrived at the point of fine lines. You’ve understood the situation, you planned an improvisation, you accepted to address the elephant in the room (or not) and now is were your marketing skills come into play.

This is where you need to maintain your Corporate Social Responsibility. There’s a fine line between making the most of an unusual situation, where your customers understand that you need to keep a business afloat, and blatant opportunistic behaviour, where clients will feel deterred and will feel as though you’re taking advantage of the current state of panic and anxiety.

People are seeking any glimmer of good news that they can find during these times, so seeing that a business is responding maturely and responsibly to the situation goes a long way.

4. Monitor & Adapt

You’ve implemented your new contingency marketing plan and now your priority is to monitor your audience’s reaction. There isn’t a sure-fire way of getting things right at the first time of asking, so be prepared to constantly monitor and adapt to what your clientele is demanding. Some offers or social media posts might work and some won’t, it’s all completely normal.

As we’ve already said, this isn’t a situation which most of us plan for, so prepare to amend your marketing strategy and adapt to new styles; trial and error isn’t essentially a bad thing given that you’re positively maintaining your CSR.

5. Wash your hands

Lastly, yet most importantly, keep hygiene a priority as much as possible. We’ve already touched on this before but during this outbreak, we can’t stress it enough, you need to reassure your audience (your staff and even yourself) that all measures to ensure safety are taken.

Taking all precautions necessary will earn your audience’s trust, which is the key to establishing loyal clients and an all-round good reputation.

With all that being said, it’s imperative that you don’t make decisions in panic. Keep calm and move forward with a steady head. If you need any marketing advice, feel free to contact us! We’ll gladly be of assistance to navigate you and your business through these unsettling times.