No doubt, COVID-19 is the biggest challenge we are facing today. Social distancing and remote work are the only solutions to face this global pandemic.
This is also changing the customer attitude and behavior. For example, there is a massive growth in digital experience than in-person experience due to lockdown and social distancing.
Reports say that the number of minutes spent by readers at news sites has increased by 46% than last year, and overall visits rose 57%.
This new pattern is creating challenges as well as opportunities for marketers to respond to this situation while meeting customer demands and keeping them happy.
Here are a few examples of how big brands are anticipating customer needs responsibly:
- Audible is offering hundreds of free titles for children and students.
- Major carriers—including AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon—are offering customers unlimited data.
- Zoom is free for schools and has lifted its 40-minute meeting limit.
- Starbucks is giving a free tall hot or iced coffee to all health care workers through May 3 as well as police officers, firefighters, paramedics and other hospital or medical staffers.
- Nike is encouraging people to “play inside”.
- LinkedIn has a 16-part course on remote working it’s offering for free
However, the question is – how marketers should evolve in this uncertain time? Chances are they may sound unempathetic or might take advantage of this situation when people are spending more time online.
Just talking about the COVID situation is not going to help, of course, it shows that you are concerned about the safety of your customers and trying to educate them.
But what more important is that you should be sensitive while marketing your product/service during this Coronavirus crisis. So ask yourself, does your message or content is going to help your customer deal with stress, uncertainty, and financial disruption?
I asked Ann Smarty, who is a blogger and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas about how businesses should do marketing during the COVID-19 crisis without sounding unempathetic.
Here is her response:
In our industry (Internet Marketing Services), our success directly depends on our customers’ well-being, so it is our priority to help them through this crisis. At IMN, we have put together a private dashboard for us to brainstorm tips for our clients to keep their businesses afloat. Because we manage clients in a variety of industries, creating standard guidelines for all of them wouldn’t work, so we have to approach each of them individually. These recommendations are totally complimentary. I’ve seen a lot of businesses helping one another these days and getting stronger together. This is really heart-warming.
I agree with Ann’s suggestions that you should always think less about what you would want and more about how it would make your customer feel during this critical time.
So if you are going to launch and market a campaign (product, content, event etc.), ask yourself will this campaign motivate and move people emotionally?
No one can predict what’s next in this crisis and when it will end. But, we can fight this situation by being together and staying safe.
As a marketer you should put yourself in customers’ shoes, only then you can more easily determine the messages that will resonate with your audience without sounding unempathetic.
What are your thoughts?