How to Plan for Post-COVID Marketing
- 5 Min Read
We’re all looking forward to a day when social distancing is in the rearview. But is your business ready for what that marketing environment could look like? Don’t wait until the pandemic is over to think about your post-COVID marketing plan. Instead, ask yourself these questions to start planning now for re-entry.
HOW WILL YOU ADAPT TO PUT SAFETY FIRST?
Today, tomorrow or two months from now, safety will still be first. COVID-19 has changed our DNA, and people will keep a healthy sense of fear and apprehension for a while. Consumers will want to know how your business has changed or optimized its operations, products or service to keep people safe. Start listing the changes you’ve made (and will continue to make) in a post-pandemic world to ease concerns.
WILL YOU FACE ANY BACKLASH?
Some brands may need to think of a public relations strategy before advertising again, especially considering social distancing and an economic downturn. If you suspect your organization could see backlash about spending dollars or promoting a certain service during this tough economic time, put together a PR and response plan to lead with your version of the narrative and lessen scrutiny.
WHAT ARE YOUR INCREMENTAL STEPS TO RE-ENGAGE?
Know that re-entering the in-person marketplace won’t be an all-or-nothing switch. Re-opening our communities will have incremental steps, just as re-opening your business pipeline will. Start planning now for what those steps are and how your operations, staff and communications plans will evolve with them.
WHAT DOES A PHASED APPROACH TO MESSAGING LOOK LIKE?
These incremental steps mean you’ll need a phased approach to marketing. Phase 1 may be a partial re-introduction of services…phase 2 may be another intermediate step…and phase 3 could even be outlining what you’ll do should the virus flare up again. By thinking through these phases, you can create incremental marketing messages that match, so your creative isn’t all “quarantine” one day and “open for business as usual” the next. Instead, it might mean having three or four creative versions ready to go based on market conditions.
HOW WILL YOUR MEDIA PLAN SHIFT OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS?
You’ve likely re-evaluated your media mix during this downtime. You’ll need to do the same at several intervals when consumer habits change yet again. Consider these shifts when planning and how your media dollars might be fluid based on month-to-month changes. You may choose to slowly introduce tactics like outdoor, transit advertising or event sponsorships based on use.
WHAT OFFERS CAN YOU TEST?
As you re-open, consider the slate blank on testing promotions and offers. Take a testing approach. Rotate deals, A/B test creative, test website updates and adapt quickly to what’s working.
WHAT NEW CUSTOMERS OR AUDIENCE SEGMENTS HAVE YOU GAINED?
You may have lost customers during COVID-19. But many businesses have also gained them. How can you continue appealing to new segments once things get better? Think about it: a company like Zoom that once appealed to just the business community is now a household name. How could Zoom make sure it stays relevant to new users like grandparents keeping in touch? How can your brand find a new audience or stay connected to customers you may have gained?
HOW CAN YOU KEEP EVOLVING YOUR TECH?
COVID-19 has taught us a valuable lesson about digital innovation and evolution: we need to be ready for it before it’s forced upon us. If you’ve evolved your company to include more technology, online functionality or innovation, then keep it going.
IS YOUR IN-PERSON EXPERIENCE WORTH IT?
People may be more critical of where they go and how often they visit a brick-and-mortar store. So make sure your in-person experience is one worth having. Audit your customer experience, enact safety protocols, start a loyalty program, retrain your staff – make sure your location is one they want to visit.
DO YOU NEED TO REINVENT YOURSELF?
Re-entry can mean reinvention. During this unprecedented time, people are going full Marie Kondo on more than just their closets – we’re Kondo-ing our lives. Whatever doesn’t spark joy must go, and consumers won’t have room for brands that aren’t useful. Now could be a perfect time to reinvent yourself, even in subtle ways. Think about it: what will your brand stand for in this new day? And why will that matter to anyone?
HOW CAN YOU CREATE AN ACCOUNTABILITY PLAN?
Finally, if you’ve used this time to audit your digital presence, improve SEO, spruce up your website, review analytics and more, make room in the future to keep doing it. So often we get caught up in the next big fire that we forget to hold ourselves accountable and make sure we’re spending dollars smartly. Set up monthly or quarterly check-ins to make sure you continue to plan, act, audit and optimize.
Need more ideas to get started? Contact us, and we’d love to help.