As new updates on the COVID-19 pandemic continue to spread like wildfire, many direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands are uncertain of what they can do to mitigate risk and support their customers. We’ve compiled a list of valuable resources for D2C marketers that’ll hopefully help enhance marketing efforts and boost morale.
It’s no surprise that in times of economic downturn, marketers’ first reaction is to “put plans on hold and freeze spending.” However, Bradley Johnson, Ad Age’s Director of Data Analytics, thinks that this could be counterproductive:
The economy needs marketers and marketing. Marketing helps drive commerce. Marketers have an opportunity to give consumers a reason to spend — deals, products, services — even when we are bunkered up and hunkered down.
Consider this a rallying cry for marketers to keep doing what they do best.
What do consumers value most during this difficult time? They value services, products, people, and institutions that:
- Reduce their anxiety
- Reduce their risks
- Provide some sense of safety and belonging
Do your company actions and communications speak to these values? If not, it’s best to either pivot your marketing strategies or hold off in case you inadvertently increase consumers’ anxiety.
Ogilvy released a stunning report that explores the short-term challenges of companies during this time, as well as key learnings from previous events such as SARS. Find out how brands emerged from past crises stronger, and how a mixture of ingenuity and sheer determination contributed to the creation of new business models that have shaped the marketing world today.
We believe, and history supports this, that agile and competitively-minded brands that get it right in the tough times, can capture competitive share and be best-placed to capitalize on the eventual rebound and beyond.
A few important points to note:
- Data shows that brands that sustain exposure throughout a crisis can increase 3x more market share during downturns, and also rebound faster and stronger in recovery. (pg 4)
- What’s vital in the NOW: Adjusting channel mix, content, and potential partnerships will help secure efficient reach as well as relevance. Responding, adding value and being agile in the NOW will support relevancy in the LATER. (pg. 11)
- Now is the time to address new customer needs in digital content, services, utility, and commerce. (pg. 18)
This article serves as an excellent reminder of the importance of online business and why it’s more critical than ever to pivot messaging and implement an effective online marketing strategy:
There’s going to be a [continued] surge in online shopping. And many brands may have only had 20% of their business [online], and suddenly that’s going to increase. If that increases, you need to think about your online marketing strategy…If history is any indicator, consumers might well emerge from this health crisis not only more accustomed to shopping online, but more likely to stay there.
Along with some essential notes about messaging:
Whatever marketing message a company is preparing for weeks or months down the road, it’ll be essential to stay away from any verbiage or pictures that don’t dovetail with the effects (even lingering ones) of a health crisis. You can’t show a picnic or a large party or large crowds cheering. That’s sending the wrong message.
This article features thoughts from leaders around how the coronavirus outbreak will affect ad spend, experiential marketing, agencies, and production companies.
During these uncertain times, your previously scheduled campaigns should go out the window. According to AdWeek, “how marketers handle coronavirus will separate the pros from the amateurs.”
Now is the time to:
- Take consumers’ emotional state of mind into consideration when marketing to them.
- Ramp up customer service, even through social media.
- Exercise your social responsibility and give back to the community.
Note: Now is the time for strategy, not a marketing opportunity or PR hit.
From virtual concerts and cloud raves to FaceTime workout classes and health-related campaigns, brands across the world are pivoting their marketing strategies to stay afloat.
In a nutshell:
The message appears to be – your customers will spend again. If you can adapt and offer them value in this time of uncertainty, you will win their loyalty, and when normal life resumes and they do spend again, it will be with you.
If we package all of these articles up, the main takeaways to remember are:
- Marketers have a unique opportunity to strengthen the relationship with their customers during this time.
- Stay nimble and be sure to pivot all existing marketing campaigns to avoid looking out-of-touch.
- Those who get their messaging right and support their customers and community won’t just generate purchases in the short term, but will also grow customer loyalty for longterm success.
For additional reading around how your business can prepare for a new normal, download your copy of Tips for Acquiring and Retaining Customers Through Economic Change.