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Have you ever heard of a “black swan event”? That’s what Sequoia Capital, Silicon Valley’s most prominent VC firm, is calling the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: The “black swan of 2020,” or in other words, an unusual event that has a significant impact on the world. This sentiment is undoubtedly shared by many businesses as consumer activities are grounding to a halt. So, how do you pivot your marketing strategies during this challenging time to survive? Let’s take note from the brands and artists around the world who are making the most of these circumstances.
The automotive industry has taken a hit during these uncertain times. Sales are dented, store traffic is slower than ever, and some car companies are even suspending work at their factories. Because of this, the auto industry is one of the first to adapt through online avenues such as social media.
Key takeaway: Think outside the box in terms of your marketing strategies. What can you offer your customers during this time? Identify their challenges and figure out ways to make their lives easier. In the instance of Geely, they knew that people are more hesitant to buy a car because it’s a huge purchase — by offering a delivery option, it crosses out the concern of, “Do I have to travel back and forth to buy this?”
Nightlife is slowly dwindling to nothing as bars, nightclubs, concerts, and even movie theaters are shutting down. However, brands and artists are adapting to this jarring change and are finding ways to entertain people virtually.
Key takeaway: Your marketing strategies shouldn't always focus on the bottom line. Doing something like a free virtual concert leaves an indelible mark on your customers. Remember that in times like these, empathy goes a long way.
Similar to businesses across the world that are affected by this fallout, fitness chains are struggling as customers are encouraged to practice social distancing. As gyms begin to close, fitness brands recognize consumers’ need to keep an active, gym-free lifestyle.
Key takeaway: It’s important to ask yourself how people can leverage their current surroundings (in this case, at home) and come up with ways to apply your industry knowledge.
The beauty industry is also taking a break at this time — beauty giants such as Sephora and Ulta are shuttering their doors for the foreseeable future.
Key takeaway: If possible, create helpful marketing campaigns that reflect the current times. For example, Lush may have zoned in on hand-washing, but can your brand release a campaign around combatting feelings of isolation and boredom? Note that these campaigns should be approached with the utmost caution, in case your message comes off as opportunistic.
There’s a strong business case to be made for maintaining, and even expanding, your marketing strategies even in an uncertain economy. Learn how to make the most out of your performance marketing budget.
Originally published on March 18th, 2020, last updated on June 16th, 2022.