• Emily Malone

Marketing feels really weird right now. Here are some tips.

Updated: Jun 30, 2020

I’m sure, like me, you’ve seen some odd marketing messaging going around. My ever-growing inbox is reminiscent of that time we all freaked out over GDPR. And I get it, I really do – it’s tricky to navigate our marketing efforts currently, and we’re all going through a bit of a wobble, myself included.

But what’s particularly odd about the few bad attempts I’ve seen is the tone. I mean, listen, Modibodi, I love you, I support you, and I get that your products are particularly helpful during this crisis, but I really don’t want to see your ‘#nopanicperiod’ hashtag right now. C’mon.

Luckily, marketers are usually fairly adaptable by nature (you’ve gotta be in this gig!) and we’ve got a great community pulling together to share ideas and talk about our concerns. Here’s what we’ve learnt this week…

1. Don’t stop your communications

So, first up, it’s clear that communication has never been more important. And only 8% of consumers think brands should stop advertising due to the coronavirus outbreak. So it’s not a case of stopping your advertising altogether until this passes. What’s key is the way we’re communicating. People just want to be helped, right now, just as they always have. And I think what we’re currently experiencing is really highlighting that.

2. Be human

With the above in mind, your communications should be reassuring, transparent, positive, and empathetic. Now is not the time for hard-selling, but instead being helpful, guiding others, and building and strengthening relationships. Check-in with your community, ask them how they’re doing.

It’s also a time for some positive and light-hearted relief from the outside world, so try not to bang on about the devastating stuff we’re all going through right now, the news is covering enough of that for us.

3. Yes, everyone is online right now, but…

That doesn’t mean you’ve got to totally spam your socials. For one, you’re putting unnecessary pressure on yourself in this hard time, and you’re probably overwhelming your audience too. Once or twice a day is probably enough.

What should you post? Well, you could share knowledge and tips that will help ease your audience’s worries – which can be any number of things like homeschooling the kids, family wellbeing, mental wellbeing, and job security. It’s also a good time to post something fun, light and carefree for a bit of relief from it all.

4. Bear in mind how you want your business to be viewed in the future

Another great point that was made by a fellow marketer was that after all this, people will be looking for new opportunities away from jobs where they’ve now realised the employers haven’t treated them well. This is going to highlight what people want and need from their jobs. And the same goes for brands they’d like to associate with and buy from. Susan Hallam recently posted a lovely quote from Fred Rogers, which I thought was perfect:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Why wouldn’t you want to be remembered as one of the helpers?

5. Be as personal as you can

Without face-to-face meetings, personalising your messages to people is pretty damn tricky. I know that despite all our Salesforce work being done remotely, the oe:gen team love getting to know our customers onsite whenever they get a chance to, so this is something we’re truly missing right now.

But videos and webinars will help with this, and I’m already seeing lots of helpful video-based stuff being posted around, which is really lovely.

6. Plan, plan, plan

From listening to other marketers on one of those helpful webinars I spoke of above (thanks, Business Marketing Club!), there seems to be a lot of emphasis on planning for the future. It’s going to be a crowded marketplace when this is all over as events and things get pushed back, which is also something to be mindful of.

To sum up…

It seems planning and listening to the wider community, the markets, and internally has never been more important. Things are going to be changing constantly, so we need to be flexible, adjust our tone, and make sure we’re supporting our teams and our community.

I think we just need to remember that we’re all in this together, we’re all human beings pacing around our living rooms carrying a mixed bag of weighty feelings (and quarantine snacks), and we all need a little help right now. So let’s help each other.