At a time of uncertainty, fear and in many cases isolation, there is no doubt that coronavirus will affect all businesses. This is not a situation that any of us had envisaged and all the best laid plans for an emergency would not have covered the eventualities we are seeing unravel every day.

On the one hand you have panic buying at supermarkets and food stores where retailers can’t keep up with demand, and on the other a rapid decline in demand for travel and entertainment businesses as the government ramps up social distancing. It is easy for businesses to descend into chaos.

A drop in demand for products and services will lead to a rethinking about how marketing allocates budgets and refocuses attention. However marketing teams should take a leading role in supporting how the brand responds in these times. We look at the things marketers can do to help survive in a time of crisis.

  1. Communicate internally

Your employees are key. Ensure your teams understand your business continuity plan. If you have moved to working remotely ensure this is well communicated and plan for regular updates. Keeping your employees aware of the changing situation and how it may impact them and their customers is key. Full transparency is crucial right now.

  1. Understanding your audience

There has never been a more important time to ensure you understand your audience and proving this through your communications. At a time when purchasing your products may be the last thing on the consumers mind – how to do you keep them engaged and the million dollar question – should you? The answer is yes, but how and with what depends on the audience – the segments within the audience and you proving that you are a relevant, useful and your tone is sensitive of the changing situation.

  1. Back in stock/Out of stock

Consumer behaviour has changed dramatically, panic buying has changed stock levels and the supply chain significantly. Being able to advise your customers when products are out of stock or back in stock will be essential. This will prove your usefulness at a time of need and allow you to sell the right products to the right people at the right time.

  1. Reduced ad spends means a bigger reliance on your database

Your database is your asset right now, and treated well and effectively will mitigate the losses on ad spend. This is why it is even more crucial to keep building your database numbers. Ensure you have the right methods in place to grow your lists. If someone comes to your site and sees a product is out of stock give them the option to be notified when it is back in stock. Having a seamless sign up process right now is paramount.

  1. Keep being creative

Doing business as we know it is changing and time will tell if it’s only for the duration of this current crisis or whether it will change the way we do business forever. This means it’s time to be extra creative, that should come easy to us right? – We’re marketers after all!  If you are a theatre or a cinema look to deliver online content that will continue to engage and entertain your audience. If you are a restaurant you could think about delivering or even sending out portioned food packs and set up online sessions to show customers how they can cook the dishes at home.

  1. Change the subject!

If you have been pushing the same products with the same subject line then this really is the time to change it up. Customer fatigue will set in now more than ever and it may lead to customers getting irritated with your messages and cause them to opt out. The show must go on, but it needs to do so in a way that is thoughtful and useful.

  1. Re-wire your thinking

This is a great time for you to press pause, take a step back and put yourself in the shoes of your audience. This is time to rethink strategy, to think about your segments and to think about the short term activities as well as those for after the isolation periods. Think about the older segments in your databases that are now unable to leave their homes – how can you be useful to them or entertain them. Think about those who are working from home, are you a local café or shop? Think about how you can help all the different segments – but think about them differently as their behaviours will be changing for the next 3 to 4 months.

The situation is changing regularly, as time progresses and we learn new ways of working we will continue to update you on tips and best practices in this time of COVID-19. Look out for more content on how you can optimise your email and web marketing to better serve customers. If you have any more tips please do contact us and we will feature you in our next blog!