Many of us kids who grew up in rural America were Boy Scouts. If we didn’t learn it on the farm, it’s where we learned how to tie knots, camp, shoot and canoe. It’s where we honed skills that became lifelong habits. It’s where we learned how to be prepared for whatever might come your way. Certainly however, none of us learned how to prepare for what we’ve encountered over the last few weeks.
By now, most businesses are past the panic mode for reacting to the pandemic. Many, unfortunately, have had to close. Others, ironically, are going gang-busters, while others have settled into whatever new environment they’ve created for themselves, along with the help of Uncle Sam, their customers and their employees.
From day to day, we’re getting positive, then negative, news reports that are driving the stock market up and down. Statistics are coming at us a mile a minute, along with a myriad of different research reports, behavioral studies and trends articles that help shape our attitude and perceptions about what’s going on.
From a marketing perspective, we have been advising clients about how to posture themselves now and going forward, with the emphasis on now to respond to the vast and fast changes they’ve had to endure. For the most astute businesspeople, they have made cuts in spending where they’ve needed to and remained steadfast in their marketing strategy.
What Should You be Doing Now?
Stay close to your customers.
Depending on the nature of your business, this can take on many different forms. Nothing is better right now than a phone call, if it’s practical. This gives you the opportunity to gauge your customer’s attitude and mood and have a two-way conversation where you can ask questions and provide counsel, encouragement and reassurance. If a phone call is not practical, check in with an email or a regular series of helpful and hopeful emails.
Research has proven that brands that stay visible during a period like this will generate more business when the period is over and may even generate more business right now. Customers and the market are also judging your position and perspective right now. Show them what you’ve got! Display your true colors and let them know who you are and what you stand for.
Stay current with your messaging.
Moods and temperament will change almost daily as we move through this transitional period from panic to post-crisis. Your messaging should change too. Keep it positive and upbeat, but not too cheery. There’s a lot of people really hurting right now and you don’t want to throw fuel on the fire. Just be encouraging and supportive and watch it on a daily basis. The idea of pre-scheduling posts needs to be replaced for now with a more agile approach.
Get ready for what’s ahead.
This period won’t last forever and you want to be prepared when things change to take advantage of a receptive audience that’s ready for the new-norm. Review your goals and objectives for the year and revise as necessary. Go back through your strategies and tactics and update, add new and get rid of ones that don’t make sense anymore. Work to define what your position is going to be post-crisis, how you’re going to get the message out and what you’re going to say.
Tweak your marketing budget.
Most likely, your budget may not be as large as when you started the year. Now’s the time to take another look. Identify what’s not going to get done or not relevant anymore. Ask yourself, what do you need to do that you didn’t budget for before? Where can you leverage what you’re already doing to stretch your budget? What kind of promotional things should you do to ignite sales? What’s your business going to even look like then? What’s changed and what’s going to be different? Now is the best time to make these determinations, as best as you can, even though we really don’t know when things will hit this stage.
Most importantly is my original message – Be prepared! Don’t let the end sneak up on you, take you by surprise and leave you in your competitor’s dust. Be prepared to hit the ground running once this is behind us!
Take Care and Be Well.