Justifying the effort of marketing in a company has always been the biggest challenge for marketing managers or directors in budget review meetings. It is without doubt that marketing strategies must go through a complete reassessment for the next financial year as there will be a big shift in the market post-COVID19 and it’ll be important to incorporate these strategies in your marketing proposal for the coming financial year.
Personalising your brand and approach has always been a driving factor in marketing so we will continue to stress the importance of getting to know your customers and constantly engaging with them. This will always be our marketing mantra regardless of any circumstances we are in.
If you haven’t already, map out the customer journey of your business and determine the ‘touch points’ whereby you have the opportunity to communicate with your customers directly. Depending on the nature of your business, you may have more or less opportunity of connecting with your customers compared to other businesses but these three components will always be applicable to all:
1. ‘Shopping’ or research
2. General Enquiries
1. More information on the product or service of interest.
2. Possibly, negotiation on price.
3. Purchase of product or service.
Feedback Or Survey
This is especially true for new customers but a return customer will have a different journey and we will elaborate more in a separate article.
When you have this mapped out, determine when and how you wish to approach your customers. This is when you can use social media or online CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools such as Salesforce or Hootsuite to your full potential by reaching out and replying messages.
COVID19 has highlighted the good in all levels of society; the contribution by frontliners are appreciated and the drive to support local businesses are applauded. The search term ‘local business’ and its related terms have risen by 350% the past 3 months in Australia alone.
In addition to supporting local, the general public are showing great amount of interest in knowing the source of their product – whether it is made locally or imported and if it is sourced ethically. This is a big transformation for a company but nevertheless important for the future generation. Which brings forth the next agenda.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) involving sustainable practices are the way to go. Automotive industry has incorporated the hybrid technology years ago and is expedited with the imminent influence of Tesla on renewable energy. Elon Musk may be facing some challenges right now but we must give credit where it is due; he has changed the automotive industry indefinitely by setting his business model to develop products that are superior to fossil-fuel alternatives. This satisfies the interests of stakeholders while contributing to the global community. Tesla’s CSR is worth reading and it is incredible that the company puts community as the highest priority.
When a company is built on the right foundation with CSR in mind, it will withstand all the challenges and the test of time. The focus is no longer on profitability but for the betterment of the world and this creates a long-lasting, positive association to your brand.
It is time to think of the long haul and start focusing on branding instead of sales conversion. Companies are cutting down on operational costs to weather through this period and while we are in it for the ride, might as well make full use of it.
It does not cost much to increase your brand presence online; in fact, it costs nothing if you do not intend to invest on advertisements. Stay consistent and have a schedule on your posts, do a little bit of research to see what’s trending or what hashtags to use as these will help to reach out to the broader audience in the world of social media.
There are lots of company that jumped on the hand sanitiser and face mask bandwagon. Aussie alcohol distilleries made a change to their production and made hand sanitisers instead. Garment companies started producing functional and fashionable face masks. There are also many local, small business owners who started sewing masks for sale or for charity.
Big brands such as LVMH produced hand sanitisers for hospitals and Mulberry sewed PPE equipment for NHS frontliners. It is wonderful that all companies, big or small are playing their part in the pandemic. In our opinion, this is also a fantastic marketing strategy. These companies are able to incorporate corporate philanthropy while building a positive image for themselves and used social media to spread the awareness of their charitable cause. Check out #lvmhjoinsforces.
Just by being creative, they were able to be omnipresent, be involved, all while supporting the local community. Amazing.
Last but not least, be yourself and be genuine to your customers. Small and local businesses are often managed by sole traders (much like yours truly over here) or by moms and pops. It is great if you can bring the ‘WOW’ factor to your brand but this is really not the right time to be perceived as larger than who you truly are. COVID19 crisis has taught us humility and the importance of helping each other when we face difficulties that are seemingly out of our control. It is time to look inwards and be humble. Your customers will appreciate you for it.
Take care and stay safe everyone. May we stand united in isolation.