4 minute read

Marketing During The Coronavirus Requires Treading Lightly

Right now it is far too easy to make marketing mistakes that can cost your business customers, profits and reputation including:

  • Posting or publishing offensive content
  • Promoting products that are out-of-stock
  • Blatantly trying to profit off the pandemic
  • Focusing on the short-term and on performance
  • Using outdated tactics that are now ineffective
  • Squeezing your marketing and sales budget until there is nothing left

Instead, you should:

  • Carefully position your messaging in the appropriate context
  • Keep a close eye on your inventory and pivot accordingly
  • Convey messaging that shows you care about helping people during the pandemic
  • Build your brand and focus on the long-term success of your business
  • Focus on the correct marketing channels to avoid spending time and money on tactics that no longer work
  • Expand your marketing and sales budget as revenue increases


4 Marketing Mistakes To Avoid & The Solutions To Make Sure You Do

Your business’s success depends more on marketing today than it did yesterday due to the crisis. But if you make one of these marketing mistakes, your business is sure to fail.


1. Failing To Empathize With Your Customers

Many people feel overwhelmed by the uncertainty of the current situation. While you should not beat them over the head with it, glossing over their anxiety in your marketing efforts is not a good idea, either. If you refuse to acknowledge reality, you will come off as cold, callous and unfeeling – not to mention out of touch.

It is imperative to show customers that you are doing everything in your power to help them. This does not mean you have to extend incentives or payment deferrals indefinitely. Rather, it means relating to them in a human way and letting them know you empathize with them. You can accomplish this feat by posting targeted content on social media and publishing-related blogs. Just make sure you do not overtly promote your own products and services in this content.


2. Not Setting Your Employees Up For Success

It is easy to overlook the importance of internal communications, training and company culture, but doing so would be a grave mistake. This is particularly true for employees who interact with customers in any way. Your frontline employees are the critical link to customers. A broken link can cause widespread damage and result in the loss of customers.

How does the company culture figure in? Unhappy, disengaged employees are less productive and more likely to make costly errors. As a business, you need to be at the top of your game while the economy is still in shambles.

Amp up your internal marketing game to make employees feel valued, appreciated and important. Engage them in the search for solutions and proactive efforts to solve problems. Show them they are an essential contributor to the company. This will increase their personal stake in the business.


3. Not Being Cautious Enough With Context

Using “coronavirus” or “COVID-19” as a keyword in your SEO efforts may sound like a great way to get more traffic to your website. This theory is flawed, however, due to recent developments. Many brands are keyword blocking “coronavirus” and using other related words instead. Additionally, you do not necessarily want your brand to be linked to a word with such a negative connotation unless you know how to word it correctly.

That said, relating your marketing content to the pandemic is okay as long as you do so tastefully and with enormous sensitivity. This is one situation in which you cannot exert too much caution. It is also a time when you need the expertise of seasoned marketing professionals who know how to walk the line between edgy and inappropriate.


4. Scrapping Your Marketing Campaigns Instead Of Tweaking

It may be tempting to trash your planned marketing campaigns completely, but if you do, you are throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The beauty of marketing is, you can tweak just about any campaign to be relevant and appropriate for the current situation.

Hershey recently scrapped an ad campaign that featured lifestyle blogger and influencer Diggy Moreland sharing chocolate bars exchanging hugs with strangers in real life. The company wanted to avoid being seen as advocating behavior deemed unsafe during the pandemic.

While Hershey’s concerns are certainly valid, it could have taken other actions that did not involve losing thousands of dollars. For example, the confectioner could have retooled the ads to feature Moreland engaging with people via an app like Zoom or FaceTime.

Rather than shying away from current events, seize the opportunity to send a unifying or emotionally resonant message to consumers who are facing extremely uncertain circumstances. If you do so carefully, you will not risk offending your audience.

This is the time to create thought leadership content in the form of blogs, ultimate guides and checklists. Right now it is also critical to proactively collect positive online reviews. A favorable online reputation will help you win the trust of consumers. Steer clear of a promotional angle and focus on an educational slant.


Big Challenges Offer Big Opportunities

If you can figure out how to subtly capitalize on the opportunities that this challenging time offers, your business can weather the storm and emerge stronger. Exercise your creative muscle, while exercising caution at the same time.

Tag Marketing wants to help. You can learn more about navigating the pandemic by reviewing our COVID-19 marketing strategies eBook with tips collected from the top agencies during this crisis.



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