We have been speaking to all our customers regularly during the crisis. Most go through the usual phases of crisis – shock, denial and anger, acceptance, actions for survival, planning for the new normal. In terms of marketing, of course, it depends on which industry, and also the size of the customers’ business or operations. But in general, the steps we have been recommending are:
1. Slow down exciting activities
2. Evaluate communication and adjust to the current situation
3. Be helpful, useful and inspiring (Think: build trust, credibility and make people’s lives easier)
4. Start analyzing what will drive demand when we exit the crisis
5. Plan communication and activities according to the best available knowledge (the outcome of analysis)
In other words, don’t stop communicating, but adapt it during the length of the lockdown,
It has been proven by several companies after the last financial crisis and previous crises as well, that most of the winners are the ones that don’t stop marketing. Of course, for many companies right now survival might be the main aim. But for those who can market, this is an opportunity because a lot of habits and usual behaviors have changed and the companies that now understand how to build strong brand awareness and what to give to their clientele will be the ones gaining market share and the winners in the perspective of next 2-3 years. As a result, we operate with a set of five principles driving customer demands:
1. Save money
2. Make money
3. Save time
4. Improve position in the industry
5. Connect with others (gain new experience)
We believe that the first two will be dominating on the short term agenda. And therefore, we go through analyses with our customers about how their clients will demand products from them in the new situation and what will be key for driving sales or effective marketing to save money. Simultaneously, we discuss the long term plans and how we can use this moment as an opportunity to gain market share and build a loyal audience.
The best way to invest is to build a relationship with your customers. One of the best ways to do this is to build your own media where you deliver to your clients’ needs and wants. Deliver this through information, not just product and services, enrich them, inspire them, lead and guide them. If you can do this right now, you will come out strong, because you will build a loyal group of followers, that values you. Your focused communication will not be for everyone, but you can create a base (a tribe) of ambassadors who will be happy to tell others about the values you deliver. Experience and data also show that providing a content marketing approach provides you with a Pareto situation, turning the followers counting for 20 percent into strong and dependable clients providing you with 80 percent of your business. The Pareto principle states that, for many events, roughly 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. A good example of a content marketing approach (of late) is from the American presidential campaign, where presidential hopeful and Democrat Joe Biden has launched his own newsletter and podcast, as he can’t meet his followers in person right now owing to social distancing rules. He can still be in constant contact and stay connected with the electorate. If the media can’t cover your campaign activities, well then be the media and bring your followers your information directly.