When COVID-19 (also known as the coronavirus) started making headlines in late 2019, no one could have predicted the impact it would have on the local economy. This unprecedented situation has many business owners wondering: “should I stop advertising during the COVID-19 situation?” to which we say, no! It’s important now, more than ever, that you continue, in some modified capacity, advertising in order to maintain your business’ presence. To help answer any pressing questions you might have, we’ve collected several practical ideas that business owners should consider in the coming weeks.
Change in Consumer Behaviour
One of the biggest changes we’ve seen since the start of COVID-19 is a change in consumer behaviour. Many of these changes are likely to stick, long after the immediate threat of the virus has passed. Business owners know that advertising has always been about anticipating the behaviour of their target market and creating a plan to best appeal to those consumers for optimal results.
When the internet became mainstream, businesses adopted a digital presence. When consumers shifted to more environmentally conscious purchases and behaviour, businesses adjusted accordingly; swapping the traditional plastic straw for paper equivalents or finding more environmentally-friendly materials to create products. With this mentality, COVID-19 is yet another shift businesses must adapt to, with short- and long-term implications bound to alter consumer behaviour and preferences. In order to maintain advertising effectiveness in the coming weeks and months, businesses must adjust marketing initiatives to anticipate change, rather than simply cutting back marketing initiatives entirely.
For example, advertising effectiveness right now means holding off on advertising materials that encourage consumers to gather for an event. A week ago, engagement with such an event would be much different than if you were to post it today. Change the tone of your content in light of recent events. Sharing lighthearted creative and imagery, such as how to practice effective social distancing, is a method of staying relevant while spreading brand awareness.
Amidst the current situation, the cumulative impact of marketing, reach and frequency remains consistent. While this is a global crisis, the impact is local, and repetition is essential to ensure you realize the benefits and keep a strong presence.
Opportunity for Innovation
Businesses have an open opportunity at this moment to gain on rapidly-shifting consumer trends in a variety of innovative ways. While the masses may not currently be visiting your brick and mortar stores as frequently, why not bring your business to their doorstep?
Restaurants can advertise take-out and delivery options, especially contactless deliveries, something that Public Health Ontario and associate director of the Centre for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, Dr. Jeff Kwong strongly encourages. Contactless delivery involves the courier leaving the food at the doorstep to minimize human contact. Even delivery giant Uber Eats is offering free delivery to its customers for small, local restaurants. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of offering a new service, or increasing one you already have!
New adaptations to virtual customer experience can still be promoted in-store, online, and in your direct mail campaigns. With the outbreak forcing many to stay at home, you now have a captive audience on a wide scale. Minimizing advertising efforts now means missing out on the opportunity to get in front of an audience that is far more attentive than usual.
Other innovative solutions include offering house calls for service-based businesses, direct delivery for products, or being transparent with your customers about the heightened sanitation protocols at your business. These solutions can also be advertised through digital and direct mail platforms, which is ideal with many consumers being isolated at home for long periods of time.
Marketing Solutions at DRMG – Direct Response Media Group
We understand every business is different and different industries will demand creative marketing solutions. Here at DRMG – Direct Response Media Group, we believe it is vital for businesses to see the COVID-19 situation as an opportunity to anticipate changes in consumer behaviour, and be creative about their marketing campaigns to further business potential. Our team has a phenomenal track record in working through the stresses and challenges of a high growth business to execute the right marketing strategy for your business and audience, regardless of extraneous circumstances. Contact us to start reaching your audience today!