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 Five ways to adapt your marketing strategy amid COVID-19

 

 24 May 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic and consequent national lockdown has sent many businesses into a spin, with some retreating their marketing efforts completely as a result. However, as tempting as it may be to bury your head in the sand during this uncertain time, it’s important to remember the old adage: “When times are good, you should advertise. When times are bad, you must advertise”.

With that said, it is vital that any existing marketing strategy be smart and adapted to align with the changing COVID-19 times. Here are five simple ways that businesses can do this:

 

1.       Reconsider your marketing channels

 

With the prohibition of non-essential gatherings and widespread adoption of working from home, the streets are quieter than ever while people are spending more time indoors – and online. This observation is aligned with the findings of Business Tech's 2020 Business Marketing Report, which reveals that online advertising is the best way to reach South Africa's business professionals and decision makers.

 

2.       Re-evaluate pre-scheduled social media content

 

While planning ahead is usually advised, the world is experiencing unprecedented times and the last thing you want is for your brand to be seen as insensitive or tone deaf during a global pandemic. Rather than scheduling content ahead of time, now is the time to post and respond in real-time by delving into current affairs and conversations.

 

3.       Do your due diligence

 

Before communicating anything externally, it's vital that you ensure your messaging is factual, ethical and applicable to your audience. While this should always be standard procedure, the rampant spreading of misinformation amid the COVID-19 crisis has put everybody on high alert for “fake news", so it's essential that you verify all facts and information before sharing with the public.

 

With lockdown regulations changing regularly, it's also important to ensure that you are up-to-date with the very latest developments in this regard.

 

4.       Anticipate operational impacts

 

Given the ongoing lockdown and regulations in place, challenges to product and service delivery abound. Try to anticipate the nature of these challenges before they occur and have the correct policies and messaging in place to handle them as best you can. Consider, for example, extending your delivery terms and postponing planned product launches that may be impacted. Furthermore, create the necessary capacity to address customer service concerns and train employees on customer sensitivity.

 

5.       Remain flexible and innovate

 

Marketing strategies require fast-paced reaction and constant adaption at the best of times, so during these times of such extreme uncertainty, remaining flexible is key. In terms of being innovative, while any type of crisis poses new challenges, “black swan" events – such as a global pandemic like COVID-19 – tend to also offer opportunities. From a marketing perspective, this may mean getting the opportunity to reach a new segment of the market or becoming a thought leader on a certain important topic that could elevate your brand's public perception. Regardless of what type of opportunity may arise, it's important to be sensitive to the impact of the current challenge at hand while keeping your eyes and ears open, so that you're able to make the best out of a challenging situation.

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