Shifting Marketing Strategies During the COVID-19 Pandemic

covid19 marketing

Safer-at-home orders and the closure of non-essential businesses as a result of the rapid spread of COVID-19 have pushed consumers home during this time. Although this presents a challenge, it is not all doom and gloom. HubSpot reports that sales email engagement is at an all-time high, most likely due to people spending far more time on the internet. Additionally, customers are spending more time researching brands online and initiating contact more than they were last year, resulting in more than a 10 percent increase in average monthly website traffic in the last few months.

With these hopeful statistics in mind, many companies have made changes to their marketing approach. Below we offer several examples of how brands have shifted their marketing strategies due to COVID-19 and how you can learn from them.

Moving Marketing Online

 

The reality of the current situation is that your catalog customers won’t quit shopping; instead, they are shopping differently because they are spending more time online. This doesn’t mean you need to discontinue circulation, but depending on your situation, it might be in your best interest to alter marketing efforts to less responsive customers and prospects and focus additional efforts online toward your best buyers. In fact, you can use an online presence as a way to get your catalogs into more households through customer engagement.

Prior to the spread of the novel coronavirus, it’s likely you already had some type of online presence, even if only a website. Because of increased web traffic and the inability to connect with customers face-to-face, many brands have moved their marketing online or increased their online presence. This can mean starting a blog to educate customers. Blogs add to a website’s SEO value and make a site more discoverable.

You can also create accounts on social media platforms, and dedicate more of your marketing budget to Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and e-mail campaigns to get your product or service in front of potential customers who are online in addition to looking through print catalogs.  Moving online also provides an opportunity for you to stay connected to current customers and round out their user experience. If you already have a strong online presence, you can revisit your content marketing and keyword strategies so you leverage your keyword research to target the most relevant for your business.

Pivoting Content

In the coming months, more people will be spending time at home. Some brands have already made an effort to change their content to help people find uplifting and educational subjects online to distract from the current stresses that come with COVID-19. For example, SurveyMonkey has been providing educational resources for their customers and site visitors. DoubleTree by Hilton offers another great example of pivoting content in response to COVID-19. Many of the chain’s regular guests are stuck at home, so the company decided to share its famous chocolate chip recipe with the world. In addition to posting the recipe on their site, they created a video that has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times in the last few months.

Creating educational and responsive content that shows an understanding of the pandemic and current economic climate can help current customers and prospects. New online viewers and readers might encounter a company’s content and research their brand. Additionally, changing content in light of the times shows that companies are empathetic, not tone-deaf, and can adapt to new climates. All of this can inspire customer loyalty.

Increased Customer Engagement

Pivoting content in response to COVID-19 matters, but so does getting customers and potential customers to engage with that content. In the example of DoubleTree, guests began to instantly post pictures of the cookies they baked on Instagram. Another company, popular swimwear brand Monday Swimwear, has increased customer engagement through its #MondayAtHome marketing initiative. Monday Swimwear has invited customers to share their at-home swim experience on Instagram and other social medical platforms to help keep customers engaged during a time when they aren’t leaving the house for travel and experiences.

Increasing customer engagement doesn’t always mean you have to create an Instagram campaign. You can inspire your customers or potential customers to take many types of action. The spread of COVID-19 has given many brands the opportunity to step into a philanthropy role. For example, Everlane has been donating all profits from its 100% Human collection to Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund. Kendra Scott jewelry has been donating 50 percent of profits from their Everlyne Friendship Bracelets to Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund, too. Kenneth Cole has jumped on the philanthropy bandwagon too by donating one percent of online sales to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response fund, launched by the World Health Organization, and 10 percent of all proceeds received for their reversible and washable face covering.

Increased Focus on Customer Experience

customer service catalog marketing

COVID-19 has forced some industries and businesses to lose a valuable part of their customer experience for the time being. Although responses vary, vineyards and winemakers are easily one of the best examples of businesses who had to adapt their customer experience. Wine tastings, whether in a grocery store, at a vineyard, or at a special event create an experience that inspires tasters to buy a bottle or two of new wine. English wine tasting event company Club Vino took its business online by focusing on how to recreate a similar customer experience. Instead of booking events, the company now supplies the wine and hosts tastings via video link online. California-based CK Mondavi has been doing something similar with their Aloft and Dark Matter brands by offering virtual education tastings for potential customers.

Delivering Simple and Socially Responsible Messages

Some of the largest brands have shifted marketing strategies by shifting their messaging from “buy our product” to offering messages that show empathy and support during a time when tensions are high for everyone. For example, Coca-Cola has been promoting social distancing in Times Square. Kimberly-Clark, the parent company of Cottonelle brand toilet paper, created a #ShareASquare campaign to spread kindness and avoid hoarding with a tagline “instead fo stockpiling toilet paper, let’s stock up on generosity.”

How The Dingley Press Can Help

With an understanding of how brands have shifted marketing strategies during COVID-19, you should have some ideas on what steps you need to take to adjust to the current climate to help your business soar. The Dingley Press is here to help you create an engaging catalog to capture the attention of those who remain at home during this time. Contact us today to learn more.