Marketing never stops.

Not in good times nor in times of famine, disease and destitution.  Marketing is the life-blood of a business – the more you are visible to the consumer and connect with them, the more likely they are to become a customer.  While the marketing machine should NEVER stop, based on the delicate circumstance, it should be molded to a respectful tone and the overall plan adjusted to work out better timing.

While a crisis occurs, it’s smart to conserve your costs but not completely pull marketing.  Pull back on products with lower inventory, remain flexible across channels and monitor how your target audience will shift.  Holding off on large product campaigns and focusing on reducing ad spend and staying universally flexible across the board will not only save money but keep you connected with consumers appropriately.

As far as your tone during a crisis – be it Coronavirus or the next big event – watch your language and messaging.  Never exploit a situation to accrue sales and try to be compassionate and sympathetic to your audience needs.  Going dark is a non-option because consumers will view it as you “bailing” on the world and can negatively affect your future growth.  In times of despair, focus more on building relationships, helping the community and offering information or entertainment instead of pushing sales.

Again, timing is everything.  Yes, people still shop during a crisis but understand that the trends happening now and any adjustments you make to marketing or inventory are temporary.  What you do now will affect the long-term.  Stay visible, don’t be a used car salesman, be sympathetic and flexible – now is the time to show your company is a friend to the people, not a faceless, uncaring corporation digging into their wallets.  Yes, there is also an advantage to being there when your competition recedes and customers become more comfortable with your brand and ecommerce experience.  Use the times of crisis to fine-tune your customer experience and build better relationships with your customers.

When the fog lifts and companies dive head-first into bringing back business, you’ll already be ahead.  All because you perfected your crisis tone and campaign timing.

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