Advertisers everywhere are trying to adapt to what has to be the most sudden, wide-spread, and continuing disruption to the status quo that most of us have seen in our lifetimes. The fact that from seemingly overnight (figuratively anyway) a large percentage of the population suddenly shifted from going to work every day to staying at home, even if many are still working. This impacted just about every facet of a marketer’s planning process. Where are people located at various times of the day? What are their current needs, wants, desires, and concerns? What are their media consumption habits? How do people interact with each other? The changes have been seismic and all-encompassing. So, what is a marketer to do when so much of the data they use to make marketing decisions has to be reconsidered? For a lot of marketers, it means taking stock of the new ‘normal’ and looking for ways to engage and deliver value to an audience whose situation has likely changed dramatically.
Here are a few marketing strategies and tactics to consider as you reassess your upcoming campaigns across email, SMS, or just about any marketing and communications channel.
For a big percentage of people who have been suddenly dislocated from their typical workday setting one significant change is a huge gap in social engagement with co-workers, which is only exacerbated by a similar loss of personal social interactions as well. No stopping by your co-worker’s desk to talk about the ballgame from the night before or to ask about weekend plans. Also, no weekend plans to hang out with friends over dinner or take your significant other to a movie. We are all familiar with the impacts at this point.
As with any challenge facing consumers, this creates opportunities for marketers to attempt to fill some of this social engagement gap. No, we can’t go take our audience out for a drink or chat over a meal. But, we can look to take a more socially engaging approach in our email or ad copy, create opportunities for consumers to interact with us and our brands in more personal ways, even if it all remains digital. Get creative and push the limits on how we can use the internet to connect on a more personal level. Stay true to your brand image, but find ways to meet this need within your audience.
We didn’t need the current situation to know that people love video. Look no further than the feed on your favorite social media platform and you’ll find it filled with videos. If you haven’t already added video content to your marketing toolkit, it’s high time you did. While it may be challenging to record certain types of video right now (anything that involves getting multiple people together in the real world), that shouldn’t be a deterrent. You just need to become a bit more creative. Whether it’s creating motion graphics or animations, candid videos recorded on your iPhone, recordings of Zoom meetings, or leveraging some pre-existing footage, there are plenty of ways to create new video content right now that you can begin using in your marketing programs.
At my company, we had actually planned to start a more extensive video marketing program this year and shot a lot of footage at some industry events back in January, before travel restrictions began to be imposed. That footage has been even more valuable than we initially expected, and we’re turning it into a long series of videos we’ll be releasing well into the summer. While that was fortuitous for us, chances are you have existing footage (industry events, training content, etc.) or can easily create new content you can begin using quickly. One fun idea I’ve seen in the B2B space is having account teams record short videos about their work-from-home setups. What a great way to use video to make a personal connection with clients.
This may not work for every company since humor may or may not be part of your brand image you typically convey in marketing and communications. However, if expressing your company’s sense of humor is either something you already embrace or you are confident your audience will appreciate, then now is a great time to give it a try. There are a few things to keep in mind if you want to bring the funny to your customer communications.
Humor is very subjective. One person’s hilariously funny observation can fall flat for someone else or even be upsetting. While you can’t ensure that your humor will strike a chord with everyone in your audience, you can do your best based on what you already know about them. (And hopefully, you know your audience fairly well.) Take this into consideration as you write your email copy or video script.
Humor is hard. Plenty of people have noted that writing humor is no laughing matter. It can be surprisingly difficult to write something funny on command. So, give yourself and your marketing team, copywriters, etc. a chance to experiment a bit, if they aren’t already used to writing funny content. Expect some rewrites and definitely get feedback from other people in your company (outside of marketing). Just make sure those people have a sense of humor, to begin with.
Successful marketers know how to develop content that is relevant to their audience. It’s one of the foundations of effective marketing and advertising. The key is to recognize that what was relevant to your email recipients 2 months ago may be very different today. So, make sure you are identifying ways you can deliver relevance and value right now. That might still be forward-looking, toward a time when people can begin going back to work or reestablish other formerly normal daily routines, but ground it in what matters to them right now. Do you have a product or service that they can use today to address challenges in the stay-at-home world? Maybe you just have a message they will appreciate hearing. What content can you deliver to your audience today that they will appreciate, find relevant, and want to engage with?
This list doesn’t even attempt to be exhaustive, but it should provide a few things to consider as you assess your current marketing programs and how to best optimize them going forward.