From the beginning of quarantine in March to venturing into a new, socially distanced holiday season, a lot has changed during 2020. Marketing during COVID-19 took a turn, and we were able to navigate through uncharted territory and come out the other side with a fresh perspective. These are the trends we’ve seen and utilized while marketing during a global pandemic.
When the shelter-in-place mandate took effect, many saw sales come to a screeching halt. Some pumped the brakes on their budgets early, while others increased their spend in different channels. For those who cut their marketing budgets, marketers had to get more creative with their spending. Brands got thriftier as a result and took advantage of platforms with little to no cost such as social media to funnel leads into sales. Marketing during COVID-19 often meant crafting strategies on tighter budgets and making dollars stretch further. We recommended the latter in maintaining or even increasing your budget during these times and saw some clients achieve great success in upping their marketing spend not only on digital/social but on tangible products such as signage, menus, etc. Regardless, it was imperative to stay nimble and adjust to our clients’ needs no matter what choice they made.
This also brought many beloved brands back to the basics of marketing in establishing trust among their audiences. Consumers needed to know that brands were taking the pandemic seriously, that they were implementing changes and that they were taking their safety, as consumers, into account. This reestablishment pushed brands into forming even stronger brand-consumer relationships and bolstered their reputations. But, those who failed to initiate communication and who weren’t upfront about their commitment to their customers while marketing during COVID-19 found it harder to gain their trust – and their sales – back.
Communication Remains Key
In addition to shifting budgets and building trust, it’s more important now than ever before to use authentic communication. Your communication to customers should be honest and transparent – take this opportunity to empathize with your customers and make sure their changing needs are met. As consumer needs shift, we continue to see brands adapting by offering meal packages/discounts, curbside pickup/delivery, increasing mobile app utilization/OLO and more. Executing these changes and making the shift is the first step, but communicating these changes is the second step. Leverage your marketing tools to let your customers know that you are going above and beyond to take the appropriate measures to keep them safe, healthy and happy – they’ll notice.
Generosity Goes a Long Way
On a positive note, the pandemic gave brands the opportunity to show their compassionate side. In a time where everyone was feeling down, businesses had the chance to stand out from the crowd and encourage others to come together. Community give backs increased, especially in supporting people on the frontlines like healthcare workers and educators. Companies were performing meal drop offs and sending in donations to support families who had been affected by the pandemic. Their generosity and simple acts of kindness inspired hope and in turn garnered them favor and appreciation. Marketing during COVID-19 was about more than just the bottom line; it was about touching the hearts of consumers and forming connections that last a lifetime.
Marketers’ worlds may have been turned upside down, but as a team, were able to shift focus and stay nimble through it all. UMI has made it our mission to support our clients during this time by providing efficiencies wherever possible, by pivoting with our clients quickly and by truly supporting in any capacity required. If you need support and would like to learn more about the ways we partnered with our clients, contact us today. We’d love to help get you on track with the trends in marketing during COVID-19.