Marketing during Covid-19

Today we ran an online event for marketers focusing on the good the bad and the ugly of Marketing During Covid-19.  We had 80+ people attend the event and contribute what they are doing, their thoughts and also their challenges and concerns.

 Zoom Marketing Event

Here is a summary of what we learnt and discussed:

 The elephant in the room

As marketers we can’t just avoid the fact something is going on; in this case a Global Pandemic!  Marketing should address the pandemic, not just carry on as though everything is normal.  Emily from Spindogs said “You have to acknowledge the situation in your marketing, otherwise it won’t feel authentic.”.  How we act now is how people will remember us when we come out the other side.  

 

Increase your marketing efforts

There seems to be a mix of businesses either going full steam ahead with their marketing, or have furloughed their whole teams and putting all marketing on hold. 
It seems collective amongst the participants of the event that now is the time to be increasing your marketing efforts. That doesn’t necessarily mean increasing budgets, it is more about thinking differently, strategically and even stepping out of your comfort zone.  Lloyd mentioned how he decided to do just that by creating a series of helpful vlogs:

 

 It was positive to hear that people were utilising this time to plan their content marketing and even heard that companies were still commissioning large projects like website builds, during a time where lots are hiding away from spending budget.


Furloughing staff

Furloughing is almost a ‘dirty’ word, we aren’t 100% sure how to feel about it, or probably what exactly it means, however it should be seen as a positive thing.  This is the Government and your employer ensuring you have as much of a chance as possible to have a job in these “unprecedented” times.  

Business owners and Senior Marketers commented on the additional workload they were taking on now their marketing team aren’t around to help.  Possibly this is the time for your line managers to see how much value you add…or don’t for that matter!

 

These are "unprecedented times"

How we communicate both internally and externally is incredibly important right now. Matt Appleby said from an internal perspective “We need to be as honest and transparent as we can” when it comes to internal comms.  This doesn’t need to be a polished and perfect as usual, but tell people straight how things are.  Staff watch the news too, these are scary and uncertain times, so they want clarity.

There was even an example of one employer introducing every Friday as a wellbeing day whilst staff are working from home.  So no meetings or emails, but an opportunity for you to wrap up the work you need to do, but also take time to unwind and look after yourself and your family.  A great idea!

 

External comms, it is about acknowledging the situation and being fun and engaging with it.  A nice example of a bus stop ad from Emilys Snacks, where the text read ‘Our first ever poster, seen by a runner and one pigeon. Typical.’

 Ad example

Always try and understand how your audience is feeling.  If you can nail that you can be fun and engaging with your messaging.  

 

Marketing Campaigns

Large brands are changing their high budget marketing campaigns to be reinforcing the Governments advice of social distancing and staying at home.  Should smaller SME’s be doing the same?  OK, we don’t have the same klout as the big brands, but its more about how our direct audience see you during a time of crisis.  Are we hard selling, or being supportive and respectful about the situation?

Emily from Spindogs told the group “Our marketing plans set at the beginning of the financial year have completely changed now.”  She went on to say they are having to be agile and adjust almost on a daily basis as the situation has progressed.  Marketing Week announced stats that only 8% of consumers didn’t want to be marketed to right now.  So there is still a huge amount of people that are open to being marketed too.  Is it just more about the message we choose to market?
 

Be the first

As marketers we need to sometimes go with our gut. Providing it is appropriate for your audience, there is no time like the present to try something new.  We are seeing an influx of blogs about #WFH (working from home).  The first few were interesting and probably got lots of engagement, but anyone releasing a similar blog now, in week 3 of lockdown, won’t get that same engagement, because it’s been done!

There is an element of holding off for wider reassurance, once someone else has done it, its ok for us to do it too.  However, you will never get the best results by doing it last.  Be reactive, get your message out and don’t worry about everything being super polished.
 

Focus on where your audience is

Gemma from Tesla told everyone how they had changed their strategy and were focusing their marketing on direct mail campaigns, as they knew their audience were all at home.  A fantastic and although it might be considered ‘old skool’ marketing, it’s a hugely innovative way of thinking.

Others were increasing budgets in their online presence, focusing on all the people sat on their sofas, scrolling through social media.

And we heard the latest stats from Sky TV which has seen a huge 34% increase in daytime viewing, both terrestrial and on demand content.  So, is now the time to invest in TV advertising spend?

 

Focus on a specific audience

“Sometimes we are marketing out to this massive audience, when actually our best audience is our customers.”
Lloyd - Rockadove

When so many marketers are concerned about what to market and how to say things, why don’t we focus our efforts on a smaller audience, our current customers!  Give them useful information to strengthen that relationship, whether that is tutorials or guidance on how to use your product better, or about certain features they might not know about.  They are much easier audience to reach out to, they will more than likely welcome the contact and be appreciative of the help and support.

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Thanks to Emily Harris and Matt Appleby for helping Lloyd Morgan facilitate todays online marketing event.  Also big thank you to the 86 people who signed up and got involved.
At the end of the day, we need to remember we are all in similar positions, so please feel free to reach out for advice, a chat, or just a general moan if it will help.

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📽️ Last week we were filming out in the Netherlands 🇳🇱 in a custom built set, due to UK #Covid restrictions 😷 https://t.co/OMxqwX4QSE - 3 weeks ago