The Six Core Principles You Need to Thrive in a Post-COVID-19 World

No matter where you live or what kind of business you’re in,
it’s almost certain that the COVID-19 epidemic has impacted your
life in some way. There is a lot about the pandemic that we still
don’t know, but we can be sure of one thing: the world is going
to be affected by this for a long time to come, and as marketers,
we need to find ways to connect with our customers in a world with
COVID-19.

In particular, bans on large gatherings are radically changing
the ways that we can connect with our customers – by this point
in the pandemic, you’ve likely had a trade show or conference get
cancelled, and you may be wondering how to move forward without any
of these events in the near future. But it’s vital that we find
ways to adapt. Trying to use pre-pandemic methods to connect with
customers in a post-pandemic world is like trying to fit a square
peg into a round hole: those methods just don’t fit anymore, and
we need to find new strategies that make sense right now.

So instead of being frustrated and upset that our old methods
are no longer possible, we need to use this time effectively. That
starts with asking ourselves some important questions: Why? Why
were those old methods effective, and what did we get out of these
events? Who are our customers, and what do they need? What might
they need in the future? What is our brand, and what do we stand
for? Now is an excellent time to revisit the basics, so that we can
move forward into this new world understanding who we are, and why
we do the things that we do. Knowing who our customers are and what
they are going to need – now and in the future – lets us figure
out how we can reach those customers, no matter what is happening
in the world.

This is a pivotal moment, and the companies that use this time
wisely will survive, and even thrive. Those that don’t are
unlikely to make it through.

So how can you adjust your marketing strategy for a world with
COVID-19? There are six core principles you need to keep in mind
when you are adapting your marketing strategies for the “new
normal”. These six principals will give you the framework that
you need to be adaptable and ready to take on the challenges that
your business is likely to face, and they include:

Repetition

Although most of us are sitting at home right now, our lives
have more background noise than ever. Not only are we dealing with
the external noise of non-stop news broadcasts and thousands of
people vying for our attention online, but we’re also dealing
with a lot of internal noise right now; all of us are trying to
figure out how to keep our lives moving in the middle of a
pandemic, which is no easy task. Your customers, like you, are
dealing with an absolute tidal wave of information about
hand-washing, home-schooling, grocery deliveries and mask-wearing
right now, and it’s more difficult than ever to make your message
stick.

So how do you stand out from all the noise? Repetition.
Repetition, repetition, and more repetition. In a post-COVID world
where more people are turning to online marketing than ever, you
can never be too present or post too much. Remember that social
media algorithms will only show your posts to a fraction of your
audience at a time; even if you are posting a hundred times a day
and you’re worried that you might be “spamming” your
audience, you will always have customers who don’t see your posts
at all! The more you post, the more of your audience you capture.
It really is that simple!

Tips:

  • If you have an email list that you’re current reaching out to
    once per month, bump up the frequency to at least once per week –
    inboxes are overflowing right now, and sending four emails per
    month makes it more likely that your customers will open one.
  • Remember that you still need to be putting out high-quality
    content for your customers: don’t post for the sake of posting if
    you have nothing to say!

Real

This is not a very polished time in most people’s lives right
now, and customers appreciate seeing that reflected in your
marketing. For the first time in history, many people are getting
an uncensored glimpse into the lives and living rooms of their
business associates – for better or for worse! There is something
very human about watching your co-workers take video calls in their
jeans and wrangle fussy toddlers during an important meeting, and
we’re all getting to see a side of each other that we would
otherwise never get to see at the office. Real life is raw and
messy right now, and that means that now is a good time to really
leverage that, and build a stronger connection to your customers
than ever – just by being yourself!

Tips:

  • Video content is an excellent and low-cost way to show
    authenticity right now. Film in your home, have employees and their
    children star in videos, see if anyone on the team has any musical
    talent to contribute – have fun with it, and don’t overthink it
    too much!

Relevant

It’s not enough to get your customers’ attention – once
you have their attention, you need to have something to say. A
customer always needs to feel that giving you their time and
attention was worthwhile, so it’s important to think carefully
about what your message is and how it’s relevant to your
customers’ lives. It’s not enough for your content to be
eye-grabbing and frequent if it isn’t engaging your customers or
addressing their needs in some way.

Try to think about the way that your sector or market may be
changing, and anticipate how that is going to impact your
customers. What do your customers need right now, and what are they
going to need as the world slowly returns to a “new normal”?
What questions or concerns might they have, and how can you address
those? Remember, you’re competing with some pretty important
information about vaccine trials and stay-at-home orders –
customers need to feel like your content matters to them in some
way!

Tips:

  • Embrace fluidity. The world is shifting so rapidly right now
    that trying to make anything is like building on sand, and it’s
    important to be able to embrace that. Be ready to adapt to changing
    needs at a moment’s notice.

Compact

When you’re creating content, it’s important to ask
yourself: am I making this as short and compact as it can be? Could
this article be a Tweet? Could this ten-minute video tell the same
message in one minute? Long-form content isn’t necessarily a bad
thing, and it can be done well in some circumstances, but on the
whole, audiences are looking for content that gets to the point
quickly.

As we’ve already discussed, there is a lot of noise out there
right now, and people may only be able to give you their attention
for a moment. People are juggling work-at-home jobs with being
full-time parents and long lines at the stores: time is a precious
resource for them! What’s the most important thing that your
customers need to know? Have that information front and center, and
lay out your message as quickly as you can.

Tips:

  • Aim to post short content more frequently, rather than posting
    long content on an irregular basis.
  • Think about the medium you’re using – are your customers
    going to click that article you posted on Twitter? Or can you get
    the relevant information into the Tweet itself?

Contactless

Realistically, it’s going to be a very long time before people
feel completely comfortable having physical contact with strangers
again. Even if your state or country is relaxing public health
guidelines and allowing businesses to open again, it’s important
to remember that customers aren’t likely to feel comfortable
going back to the way things were before. The more sensitive you
can be to public health guidelines and customer anxieties, the more
likely you are to earn your customers’ trust and help them feel
safe doing business with you.

So find ways to keep your distance. Strict cleaning regimens are
important, but they aren’t enough – look for ways you can take
human contact out of the equation. What parts of your browsing and
ordering process can be moved online? How can you design payment
and item pickup in a way that’s both convenient and touch-free?
Keeping a safe distance not only creates a better experience for
your customers, but it also keeps employees safe, and keeps your
business running smoothly.

Tips:

  • If you’re a restaurant in a post-COVID world, do customers
    want to be handed the same menu that dozens of other hands might
    have touched? Or is it easier for everyone if they can access your
    menu right on their own phones?
  • Think about the physical space your business occupies, and the
    way it’s set up. How can you use that space to minimize contact,
    and maximize distance? Are your lobby, your aisles and waiting
    areas optimized for low contact?

Collaboration

A strong collaboration with a like-minded business or content
creator can be just as important – if not more important – than
traditional marketing right now. People are making some important
and creative things to cope with the global situation right now,
and partnering with someone who is sending a great message can be
just as important as putting out a great message yourself! Think
about what your brand is, and who might closely align with your
values – it’s a great time to branch out and get creative in
your partnerships!

For a real-life example of collaboration working in a
company’s favour, look at the partnership that Pepsi has been
able to create with actor John Krasinski of The Office fame. Pepsi
have backed Krasinski’s YouTube show “Some Good News”, a
homemade internet show created by Krasinski to spread good news in
an otherwise bleak time. Backing John Krasinski’s show – and
the charities he has been promoting – has been a great
opportunity for Pepsi to remind customers of the values their
company stands for, in a fun and creative way. Not everyone can
collaborate with a beloved sitcom actor, but there are plenty of
organizations and individuals out there doing important work that
you can get involved in.

Tips:

  • We live in an age of the social media influencer – look for
    influencers that share your target market and have a persona that
    reflects well on your company!
  • Don’t be afraid to approach influencers and personalities to
    talk about possible partnerships – collaboration is a win-win
    situation for both of you!

Although we are living in uncertain times, you can be confident
about reaching your customers and keeping up with the changes if
you build your marking strategy on these six crucial principles.
With the right mindset, this can be an exciting time to re-focus
your energy and refresh your brand’s image – you can bring your
customers closer to you than ever, while still keeping six feet
away.

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The Six Core Principles You Need to Thrive in a Post-COVID-19
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Source: FS – _Marketing
The Six Core Principles You Need to Thrive in a
Post-COVID-19 World