It’s a tale as old as time: when the economy gets rough, companies cut marketing.
Here at Lumi Agency, we understand why business owners think that this is the right choice. Marketing isn’t seen as essential and campaigns that were set up before the pandemic probably aren’t suitable anymore.
We do agree that all current marketing campaigns should be paused in light of current events. However, we don’t think businesses should abandon marketing altogether. Instead, we advise that businesses pivot their digital marketing strategy to successfully ride out the storm.
Read below to see the five ways that businesses can pivot their marketing strategy and come out strong on the other side:
1. Accept that customer needs have changed.
The #1 mistake we see businesses making is assuming that they can continue to offer the exact same service or products that they did in the past. The harsh reality is that the needs of many consumers have drastically changed in the past few weeks. While a family of 4 may have paid $150 for a family dinner out in February, a restaurant should not assume that they will happily pay the same for a takeout experience.
A surface-level tactic to address this issue is to offer promotional discounts. The better strategy is to understand the new needs and values of the consumer.
There are numerous ways to do this. Basic online research on consumer trends shows that there are two standout needs that have emerged: the need to successfully manage to work from home and the need to keep kids educated and entertained. These are sentiments that you have probably also heard when chatting with friends and family or on scrolling on social media.
The team at Lumi Agency has been closely monitoring developments in consumer trends and needs across industries since COVID-19 has emerged. If you’re struggling to determine what customers are wanting, we’d be happy to help!
2. Pivot your offerings to provide value for the newly defined consumer.
After understanding the needs of the “new” consumer, businesses should determine how to pivot their product or service to provide them value.
Restaurants have been trailblazing this practice by offering make-your-own pizza and pasta kits. These products provide value by offering an easy, at-home activity and helping to keep kids busy. For current consumers, this is much more appealing than simply saving 20% off the regular menu.
Here are some other examples of how businesses can pivot their products or marketing strategies to provide value for people in quarantine:
- A sporting goods retailer who would normally be promoting gear for spring sports can pivot to promote backyard practice equipment such as mini goalposts or cones.
- A craft store that would be expecting foot traffic from DIYers could put together activity kits with easy instructions for parents of small children.
- A furniture store that was anticipating a spike in bedroom and living room sets following tax season could pivot to promoting desks, room dividers or other furniture that would assist with working from home.
Our deep understanding of emerging consumer markets allows us to confidently say that most businesses can shift their marketing strategy to remain relevant in the quarantine economy. If you need help brainstorming how your business can pivot, don’t be afraid to reach out.
3. Ensure your customers are having an optimal online experience – starting with your website.
We get it – if you are a small business that primarily relies on foot traffic, your website is probably far from your priority. But, with current restrictions on non-essential businesses, it’s crucial that you pivot your marketing budget and step up your website game.
Here are the top must-haves for a successful website during the pandemic:
- COVID-19 Updates: Your homepage should have a banner that leads to a page where consumers can learn how you are dealing with the virus, any changes to your services and other FAQs.
- A seamless online ordering process: Don’t be that business that tells customers to order from your site, only to have them find a confusing checkout process, no option for delivery and an inability to use the discount code you offered. Not only are you going to lose the sale but also their trust in you – even after the quarantine is over.
- Vivid pictures and descriptions of your offerings: If you normally rely on staff to guide customers through your store and explain the benefit of your product, it is crucial that you recreate that experience online. Never assume that customers will care enough to reach out and ask!
These are just three of the many updates that businesses should make when revamping their website as part of their marketing pivot. If you want to learn what needs to be improved on your business’ site, we’d be happy to do a free evaluation.
4. Get on Social or get left behind.
Sorry social media holdouts – pivoting your marketing strategy to focus on social is a must! Consumers are looking for clarity during these uncertain times and social media is one of the top places they go to find it. You’re going to want to have extra hands on deck to promptly answer consumer social questions before they move on to a more responsive competitor.
Just like with your site, you should use your social channels to share COVID-19 updates and bring the in-store or brand experience online with appealing pictures and descriptions. Don’t worry about being social media savvy. During this pandemic, consumers are looking for businesses to be genuine, open and informative.
When it comes to Facebook and Instagram ads, there is a lot to consider. Understandably, a lot of businesses have abruptly stopped their ads. This is a great opportunity for people who do want to advertise because they can reach their audiences at a smaller price than usual.
Let’s say that you carried out our first two pivoting tips and emerged with an offering that perfectly solves a new consumer need. If you are getting a good organic response, you may want to step up your social game with ads on Facebook or Instagram! Bored consumers are spending unprecedented hours scrolling on social, searching for ways to stay happy, productive and sane. If you have a good solution, don’t be afraid to spend a little to reach them.
Whether you want to dip your toes into social ads options or find someone to manage your profiles while you focus on business, we can help!
We know that this is a scary and confusing time to own a business. During this uncertainty, the option to stop all marketing efforts and default to the business practices you know can be tempting.
Unfortunately, nobody knows when this is going to end. Businesses who go radio silent, possibly for months on end, may not emerge at the end of this. Pivoting marketing strategies to reflect the new realities of our world can make a big difference in the long run.
We hope the tips we discussed can help your business adapt! If you need any more guidance we are just a click away.