Business development · 14 April 2020

The do’s and don’ts of marketing in a pandemic 

Sarah Kauter, the managing director of PR and marketing agency VerriBerri shares her knowledge on what businesses should pursue, (and what they should avoid) when marketing during times of crisis.

One of the best methods of marketing for your company is to tap into topical news. Whether it’s jumping on social media trends or writing a blog about how your business is related, we all reference newsworthy content in our promotional material. Customers want to see that your brand is up to date with what is going on in the world.

If there is one thing on people’s minds at the moment, it’s COVID-19. The news has been everywhere so involving this in your marketing will be somewhat unavoidable. However, with the severity of the current situation, it can be hard to know how to incorporate the pandemic without being insensitive.

1. Future proof your business

The most important thing to remember is that this crisis won’t last forever. However, a lot of people are cutting non-essential spending and questioning whether marketing should continue during this time.

Regardless of how the pandemic is affecting your business, marketing should always be the last thing to be cut, as its purpose is to keep you present.

The goal is to put yourself in the same, or even better position coming out of this situation. For example, if business is slower, now could be a good opportunity to put more time into SEO and climb the rankings ahead of your competition whilst they are sitting back.

2. Have a strategy

At any point in business, your marketing should have a strategy, but this is important now more than ever. Whether it’s a crisis management plan or reworking your original marketing ideas, everything must be carefully considered.

It’s also worth noting every element of your strategy must be in place to make sure nothing is forgotten. For example, PPC campaigns can be easily overlooked as they can run themselves.

3. Don’t ignore it

The pandemic is happening. Your clients, consumers and employees only have one thing on their mind right now and that is their health. You need to show that you’re listening and that you care. With all of the uncertainty happening, many businesses are holding back from touching on the topic, but people who follow your brand will be looking to hear your news and will want to know what you’re doing to get through it.

4. Be sensitive

It’s always important that you keep in mind the severity of the situation. This goes without saying but people’s lives are being dramatically affected by coronavirus as they are worried about loved ones and what the future will look like. You need to tread carefully and sensitively. It’s important to be positive and spread good with your social media platforms, rather than crack a joke and share memes, share some good news or inspiration to your followers.

5. Don’t profit

This may seem counterproductive as the point of your marketing efforts is to increase sales. However, following on from the previous point, you don’t want to appear to be making money from the situation.

For example, some companies are hiking up prices of essentials that they know people are desperate for. In the long run however, good company morals will put your in a brand better position than a small hike in profits will.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Sarah started VerriBerri in 2009 and has grown the team and reputation since then to become one of the leading marketing agencies in the South East. Sarah was awarded 'Young Entrepreneur of the Year' in 2018' and 'Most influential marketing director' in 2019 and continues to outperform herself as she has been nominated for 'Businesswoman of the year 2020'.

HR