What marketing strategies to follow during COVID-19 Outbreak?
With a regular increase in COVID-19 cases worldwide, this could be the deepest dive of global economies amongst all 18 recessions in the past 100 years. Marketers face the biggest dilemma in such situations as no two recession are alike hence it’s impossible to find a solution in books and marketers find themselves in uncharted water with no budget and uncertainty on the right marketing strategies.
Recessions have a nasty habit of destroying unprepared or ill-equipped businesses. In the last one, more than 4 lac small businesses worldwide went bankrupt or permanently closed. If you want to prevent your business from suffering the same fate, you need to craft a recession marketing strategy now—not when the stocks dip, not when a recession is formally announced—now. That way, you’re ready for pivots and budget shifts when the market slides.
For many of us, this may be the first time to keep the business afloat during an unforeseen situation. So, to help you out, we have come up with the most successful marketing strategies during any downturn –
1. Don’t cut your marketing activities irrationally –
When a situation like this hits which is unforeseen, The first reaction is to cut, cut, cut, and advertising is one of the first things to go, said Wharton Marketing Professor Peter Fader, adding that as companies slash advertising in a downturn, they leave empty space in consumers minds for aggressive marketers to make strong inroads. The current situation provides an unusual opportunity to differentiate yourself and stand out from the crowd.
It’s a well-established fact that slashing the marketing budget in a downturn will only help defend profits in a very short term for an organization and make companies weaker and less profitable in the long term. In a recession, that kind of mistake can take your business from boom to bust in the blink of an eye. Top Companies worldwide understands this, That’s why, in each recession cycle, the companies with a strong brand presence have come out on top.
If your competitors are cutting budgets, you’ll see an even greater long-term return on your marketing investments. Instead of making deep reactionary cuts, objectively look at where you’re spending money and what kind of return you’re getting on that money.
If you’re in B2B Market, usually in current situation being very specific and targeting only few good companies bring best ROI. While there are lots of platforms out there to help you find good companies details out of your TAM (Total Addressable Market), Fundoodata.com is most reliable platform and provides relevant and researched databases rather than run of the mill solutions.
2. Understand your Target Customers and Design Marketing Strategies accordingly –
The success of your current marketing strategy will depend on how better you understand your target market. You need to understand whether companies in your target market are opened or working from home.
For Instance, few essentials manufacturing industries like Food, Pharma, Chemical companies are allowed to be opened while employees from other industries like IT, Education companies are working from home hence we need to understand the current infrastructure of companies and tailor your marketing strategies accordingly.
We need to understand customer’s behavior and their current requirement, should customize our marketing communication accordingly. People change as the world around them changes. What your target audience needed earlier may not be a requirement right now. Companies need to understand the evolving consumption patterns and fine-tune their strategies accordingly.
According to a Harvard Business study, Regardless of which group consumers belong to, they prioritize consumption by sorting products and services into four categories:
Essentials are necessary for survival or perceived as central to well-being.
Treats are indulgences whose immediate purchase is considered justifiable.
Postponables are needed or desired items whose purchase can be reasonably put off.
Expendables are perceived as unnecessary or unjustifiable.
So keep these 4 points in your mind while designing any marketing strategy to connect with your customer.
3. Stay Connected with your Existing Customers
Irrespective of your industry, your organization’s biggest asset during a recession will be your existing customers. They have believed you and you need to maintain that trust throughout.
Make sure to stay connected with your existing customers, they should not feel a lag in your services during current situation.
Create a list of your happy customers and Design your marketing strategies around these most valuable and loyal customers. These satisfied customers will repay you in the form of recommendations and reviews, which can be used in your marketing activities to show how you helped these companies during tough times.
4. Run only Measurable campaigns to keep a look on ROI –
There is no marketing technique that works in all situations and we do not have a reference to look on similar to current situation. So, the biggest marketing strategy is to run only measurable campaigns right now and keep track of ROI on each marketing activity.
For Instance, Facebook ads may work well for SMEs which is measurable too while mid-size or top companies in B2B should focus on connecting with relevant companies using good corporate database with the help of trusted platforms like Fundoodata.com. Companies can design an email campaign keeping the current situation in mind, which is again a measurable campaign, and ROI can be measured by looking into number of leads generated in comparison on your investment in the database. This will help you decide the campaign to continue and which one to be ceased.
That way, you can identify the best-performing marketing strategies and ones that you can cut without seeing any real dip in branding or sales. Tracking and capturing more accurate and granular information about the performance of each of your marketing strategies allows you to see opportunities and problem areas your competitors cannot.
5. Shift your Target Markets and Gain Trust in New Market
It is really hard to guess the longevity of the current situation which makes future more unpredictable and our current target market could be inactive with no purchase or lesser purchase due to lack of funds. We need to shift our target markets and find untapped industries that can be served by tweaking our products a little.
For example – One of our existing customers, which used to serve as a software partner for Hotels, Restaurants and Travel industries moved their focus completely to education sector as sales from their existing customer is almost zeroed now.
After defining our new target markets, we need to design a marketing campaign specially customized for companies from fresh target markets using your current brand value. Worried customers see familiar, trusted brands and products as a safe and comforting choice in trying times. Reassuring messages that reinforce an emotional connection with the brand and demonstrate empathy are vital.
For example – We are getting lots of emails these days from Top brands of every industry like HDFC, Swiggy, HSBC etc. conveying a sense that “We are in this together” and giving us a hope of that “This too shall pass”
Empathetic messages must be backed up by actions demonstrating that the company is on the customer’s side. Pricing and Terms & Conditions of services can be modified as per the affordability or requirement of the customers. While it is important to build emotional connections, don’t neglect to reinforce trust by reminding customers that buying the brand is a sound decision.
The trick to successful advertising during a recession lies in consumer psychology and emotion. A recession is a trying time for most consumers, and there’s an undercurrent of fear, worry, and stress beneath the surface. By tapping into and appealing to the emotional side of consumers you have a better chance of connecting with and persuading them.
Research indicates that marketing campaigns that focus on emotional engagement tend to be more profitable than ad campaigns that focus on rational messages (such as discounted prices or special offers), even when times are tough. While we stick to the fact that there is no fixed strategy that works in every situation still as per our research and experience, the above 5 strategies work in most of the tough situations. So, try these and let us know in comment section how it worked for your business.