How many times have you caught yourself thinking, “I can’t wait for things to go back to normal?” Well, not to be a Debbie Downer but…that’s not happening. Even now, without a clear answer on when businesses will begin re-opening, one thing is certain: The world as we knew it will be undeniably altered once all of this is over. And savvy marketers should start preparing for that, ASAP.
Sure, the specifics about reopening are still nebulous, but there’s plenty we know right now that can be used to eventually welcome your customers out of their stay-at-home worlds. Fact: Distancing isn’t going away overnight. So, explore alternate ways to reach your audience. Email, text-messaging, digital advertising, traditional advertising, and even good ‘ol old snail mail are all channels to consider. Perhaps look into a phased approach—not by a specific date, but with a weekly plan and budget.
Next, and most importantly, WHAT messaging will be most effective? Do you need to provide an incentive? For some businesses, this will almost be a Grand Opening. And every Grand Opening needs to make a splash!
Now more than ever, open lines of communication are critical. Your loyal customers are still out there and they still love your brand. Going dark may be cost-effective but this is not the time to abandon your loyalists. So, make sure they know you are thinking about them and are prepared to meet their needs now and in the future.
Data from McKinsey shows that enterprises surviving after a crisis were those that “kept communicating with customers through the downturn.” Advertising Age came to the same conclusion in the article, “History shows marketers who keep spending during downturns fare much better.”
Let’s face it, we all need a hug. And while you can’t do that in person, you can give your customers a virtual reassuring embrace. Start with empathetic messaging that highlights your sensitivity to their issues—everything from job losses to the steps you’re taking to keep your environment clean. Avoid overt attempts to push your products and services as a “solution” to what’s happening. Thinly veiled sales pitches reek of opportunism and are likely to strike a wrong chord.
While we unfortunately can’t see the future, we can look to the past for guidance. In tough times, continuing to generate new ideas that support innovation and revitalization is always a smart move. Consultancy BCG’s (Boston Consulting Group) analyses show that “In recessions and downturns, 14% of companies outperform both historically and competitively because they invest in new growth areas.” So, don’t rest on your laurels. Keep thinking, keep planning and keep a firm grip on your competitive advantage.