Moving Brand-Building Campaigns to the Forefront

April 2020

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Dear Marketers,

Stop marketing the way you planned for 2020. In the face of a global pandemic and recession, your business-as-usual, overt content marketing strategy intended to garner profit only is causing you to lose both trust and customers through insensitivity. (Sadly, I still see many companies doing so.) 

Offer empathetic messaging

I realize you and your team have put countless hours into your 2020 marketing strategy in support of your company’s investments, such as new products, services, events, expanded office space and talent, but now is not the time to push these initiatives. COVID-19 has impacted media consumption habits and supply chains, created economic havoc and, quite possibly, the lack of need for your products and services. It’s time to change course and exercise agility and authentically show sensitivity to stand out in the eyes of your customers.

Consumer behavior interrupted

There is a pervasive black cloud of a personal nature looming over us all. Many B2B buyers are now primarily stressed people pulled in countless directions. Those that are still healthy and working are likely adjusting to home office environments that could be flush with family members bustling about, including bored kids. A portion of their time may be spent arranging for routine or emergency healthcare under the new social distancing rules, acquiring food, sorting out money woes and much, much more. And, some individuals are prioritizing their time to find ways to aid their community from afar. 

Given the pandemic and recession, B2B buyers’ spend may be down for the foreseeable future, but they are likely heavily researching online. Be prepared by offering high-quality and accurate information about your solutions. It may be time to offer deals (but not appear to capitalize on the crisis) … and be a consultative partner.

A sensitive and helpful approach is now needed

With so many face-to-face events cancelled, stepping up online content marketing efforts is a way to ensure consistent and timely communication with your customers. During this crisis, be a storyteller and nurture customer relationships through non-promotional content that provides value at every touch. Align your brand identity with your company’s competence and the changing needs of your customers. Your company’s core capabilities and values should be in the forefront of your messaging.

Here are a few ideas on how to achieve a helpful presence with customers and prospects, and keep your brand top of mind as you navigate through this global crisis: 

  • Acknowledge the impact of the pandemic and address how your company is considering customers or the greater community. (Click here for some inspiration from IBM). 
  • Assure your customers that you are still available and interested in their business throughout 2020.
  • Let customers know about any good deeds you are taking part in to help your community or other industries.
  • If your business has offerings that are creating more online sales, try shifting focus from premium products to entry-point items.
  • Humanize your messaging. Did you homeschool your children at one time? Spouse photobomb a video conference call? Perhaps you can offer tips in your blog or on social media related to best practices.

Consumers may not return to their prior ways of engaging with companies once this pandemic and recession resolves. By conveying your corporate social responsibility through content marketing, you are making a strategic investment in your company, ensuring that when business picks up once again, your brand would have maintained customer trust and relationships.

And, don’t forget to express your gratitude to all of your staff in your workflow chain.

Thank you for reading this.

—Maureen Joyce