What happens to Marketing in the time of COVID-19?

In the past few weeks, globally more and more people are staying at home due to the COVID-19 infection. While a lot of them are working from their homes, it is obvious that most of them have plenty of time to consume content. It is not just the quantum of consumption that has increased, the time spent by people in consuming digital content is spread across the day.

On the other side, most companies are cutting their advertisement budgets. This has caused a shift in the balance of the marketplace. A few studies indicate that worldwide pandemic has influenced brands’ social media strategy and performance. This can be observed in multiple areas, including lower demand for paid ads on Facebook, the increased performance of organic content, and perhaps a hidden opportunity for brands that do have some budget to spend and increase their reach because of the lower costs of ads on Facebook.

Since people have been compelled into social distancing at home (or wherever they are), they have additional time to devour social media content and consequently the supply is trending up. That has also created different possible opportunities for smart marketers to create appealing content. For example, Market research firm Nielsen said social media volume saw a whopping 50X surge between January and March in India in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

I believe that in marketing, in business, in life there are vital moments when we ought to slow down today to speed up tomorrow! This is so that we can…

  • Create momentum for what actually matters long-term.
  • Focus our energies.
  • Interrupt the crushing routine.
  • Challenge ourselves to act in the best interests of the incoming decade, not the next 10 months/days/minutes.

The aim is to create a more robust foundation, a more sustainable and sensible momentum.

How can this be done?
  • Do less and obsess

Goes with the theme of “Focusing our energies”. Choose a couple of things at the maximum and do a deep end on it.

  • Deepen existing relationships

Do the laborious act of building one follower at a time, on your own platform. A regular newsletter would be my suggestion—because the key is to build on a platform YOU own. (Not LinkedIn. Not Twitter. Not Facebook. Not Instagram.) Show up consistently, bumps, dark spots and all. (“Genuine” is an elegant manner of saying “imperfect.”)

  • Be Mindful of Your Tone

The magnificence of social media during this virus pandemic is its power to develop camaraderie through digital platforms. The change in schedule, different work locations (working from home), and social distancing have been daunting for many. The tone communicated by brands and individuals has differed, but it is vital to remain positive while not trivializing the situation when navigating your digital marketing presence during this time. While all brands are not expected to provide their Two Cents on the virus, it will be refreshing on posting or sharing messages on the pandemic’s secondary impacts that you do have some expertise on.

  • Recognize Campaigns that need a Break

I had quite a few fellow marketers talk to me about the amazing product launch plans and the stellar email marketing campaign scheduled to alert customers for this quarter. In challenging times like these, it’s vital to recognize that “It’s FINE” to strike the pause button on marketing non-urgent matters (unless your product can be beneficial during this time). Consider reallocating your focus to methods that your service can assist current customers amid this health crisis.

  • Stay Relevant to Your Audience

People are panicking due to the lack of correct and relevant information. As a brand, identify methods to put your audience first and focus on their needs and concerns. For example, if you are in the education business, you should consider offering homeschooling courses. Many kids are home from school, and their parents are suddenly and unexpectedly in the position of teaching them. They’re sure to have a lot of questions!

Listen, I get that these are uncertain times. And ambiguity can feel terrifying and out of control, which is why so many of us are hitting the departmental stores and local shops and clearing the shelves.

If you’re not responsible for delivering breaking news or vital COVID-19 updates, identify opportunities to amplify joy, gratitude, hope, or any other positive emotion. While people are looking for health and safety updates, they’re certainly looking for inspiration, too.

We’ll get through it together.

Written by Subramaniam Krishnan, Director of Business Development at Apex CoVantage.

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