3 Cs (and an I) of Coronavirus Marketing

During the next few weeks demand for many products and services will drop, even as demand for other, ‘survival’ goods rises. Necessities include anything required to make life better in quarantine, which is not too hard to guess. Depending on their financial status people invest in more data, more in-home entertainment, snacking, deep freezers, ready to eat foods, air-conditioning and so on.

Since it is a very uncertain time income-wise people at all levels will postpone purchases whether it is of cars or homes or new clothes or mobile phones. Phones dropped 56% last month.

Even if retail shops stay open – and folks like Apple and Nike – proactively close worldwide, very few people will shop for non-essentials as they are scared. So. Assume a 2 week shock, followed by repercussions for around 3 months. As a business you should conserve cash as much as possible. In a non-essential category, you should look to build relationships with your customers and invest in long term brand salience.

  1. CONSERVE CASH

Don’t blow your money on promotions that people cannot act upon.

If you are in a ‘necessity’ category, promote offers that show how your customers can conserve resources during these times. Bulk buys, BOGOs

If you are not in a necessity category, stop any short term marketing activity as results will not be optimal. Even if you are able to sell and fulfil online, categories that are discretionary like clothes and cars will see a drop. The difficulty with the current situation is that the period of time is very uncertain – some countries have seen a 3 month dip before things got better. So speak to your CFO and ensure that spends are aligned with the need to survive.

In B2B you may have sufficient cash reserves to ride out this period. In fact you may be in better shape than your clients. If this is the case consider offering better credit terms or waiving fees selectively.

  1. CONDENSE

Reduce your marketing investments and conversations to long term brand building. Do what is necessary to keep your brand interesting and relevant. But stick to digital media. For a time people will not be interested in anything not directly related to their personal situation, so don’t just run existing campaigns or material. If you are in B2B, focus on ensuring that your clients know you are available (or not) and what steps you are taking to mitigate risk for them. Pursue ongoing discussions but new offers will need to be context-sensitive.

Remember the 80-20 rule. Focus on the 20% of your customers that deliver 80% of your revenue. Ensure that they get whatever they need and more.

  1. COMPASSION

Show your customers, supply chain and employees you care. Yes, it may seem opportunistic and cynics may carp, but it is better than doing nothing. If you are in a position to frame an offer that is relevant to the current scenario by helping your customers reduce spend or uncertainty, go ahead and do so.

  1. INVEST

Yes, you heard right. When and if you are not fighting for survival, invest for the future. This is a good time to get your marketing house in order. Here’s some stuff you could do:

  1. Clean your database
  2. Perfect your Marketing Stack
  3. Move to new systems if you need to
  4. Relook at your positioning blueprint and brand architecture
  5. Fix your website and all marketing collateral
  6. Work on your company strategy
  7. Get certifications and training programs completed
  8. Keep yourself fit

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