How to adapt your digital marketing strategy during a crisis | Article – HSBC VisionGo

As organisations around the globe seek to adapt to a post-COVID-19 world, it is increasingly evident that marketing strategies must evolve too.

Adapt your digital marketing

As business organisations around the globe seek to adapt to a post-COVID-19 world, it is increasingly evident that marketing messaging and strategy is a key area in which businesses should develop continually. 

Businesses that can quickly adapt their value offerings, processes, and communications to present conditions while keeping their customers at the heart of their operations are the ones that will come out on top in moments of crises. Asian businesses and economies have bounced back from many previous crises, revealing how agile and dynamic they are. They are a stellar example in terms of leading the way in what McKinsey & Company dubs as the ‘new normal’.

Many businesses are evaluating their marketing strategies and digital marketing communications to ensure that those are aligned with their ever-evolving company activity and consumer behaviour. To build and reinforce brand loyalty, it is imperative for businesses to consistently offer value to their consumers and resonate with them. This particularly rings true during times of need or change.

In light of the growing challenges faced by the business world, we would like to share with you some tips that can boost your marketing messages and digital marketing strategies. 

Many brick and mortar stores have had to close, those that adapt digital can continue to stay relevant - image:unsplash.com

Human-centric marketing 

The global consumer landscape has massively changed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, consumers’ moods have changed and priorities have altered. This inevitably leads to a difference in spending behaviour.

Being aware of the feelings and behaviour of your consumer is important, as this allows you to create messages that resonate with them. At the heart of marketing is a deep understanding of your consumers, so that you can offer value in spite of external circumstances. This may take the form of helpful blog articles, content, social media posts, website updates, or email communications. 

During ambivalent times such as the present, your digital communications should connect with your consumers on an emotional level. Consumers are repelled by advertisements or marketing messages that lack authenticity. Don’t focus on taking advantage of consumer behaviour; rather, speak personally to your consumers and focus on the value that you can offer them. 

Understand your consumers’ digital activity

Due to widespread lockdown orders, virtually all consumer behaviour in the past three months have taken place online. Amazon reported a 26% increase in sales, while online wholesale giant Alibaba also reported a spike in overall sales during the pandemic. 

Although online activity is up, conversions and sales have been a challenge for many brands due to fierce competition in the market, an increase in digital noise, and challenges faced by individual industries. 

Certain industries that involve tourism, travel, and in-person events have to adapt their services and delay their offerings while trying to enhance brand confidence. However, other products or services have emerged or seen a significant uptick due to an increase in demand, such as meal deliveries, home entertainment, and DIY products.  

Research the digital opportunities that exist for your company and where you can add value to your customers. By understanding where your customers are searching for your services or products, as well as the keywords or terms they are searching for, will allow you to focus on effective digital marketing communications you can put in place. 

Continually measure the effectiveness of your strategies and gauge what is gaining the most traction from your audience, but always remember to focus on the value you can add. Avoid using any coronavirus-related terms, as these adverts will be removed by Google. You will also come across as being disingenuous if you use the term solely to your advantage. 

As more people engage with digital means of entertainment, TV advertisements and paid social advertisements are a great way of increasing brand exposure. Facebook reported a whopping 70% increase in usage across its apps since the start of the pandemic. Like Google, these marketing channels are also stamping down on any fake Covid-19 news and removing adverts that utilise coronavirus-related terms.

Authenticity 

To create brand loyalty and attract new customers, you need to speak to consumers authentically and transparently. Meaningful consumer relationships are formed and maintained by remaining true to your brand values and prioritizing how you can benefit your consumers. 

 Consider your approach carefully and as a rule of thumb, ensure that your communications offer value to your target audience - image:unsplash.com

Consumers will continue to seek new products or services that fulfil their criteria, which is why it is important that your creative or marketing campaigns resonate with your consumers and align with their values. Aim to offer clarity in your communications, so that your consumers are aware of your unique position and abilities. 

For instance, many businesses that are switching to an online-only presence or delivery services have communicated to their consumers how their services are adapting during these particular months.

Other B2C businesses, such as fashion brands, are changing the tone of their messaging on their marketing channels. Some opt for sombre visuals, while others choose to offer inspiration and encourage positivity. Be mindful of your language and tone, as customers are tackling not only conflicting emotions amidst troubling times but also an overwhelming amount of information from all corners of the digital world. Consider your approach carefully and as a rule of thumb, ensure that your communications offer value to your target audience. 

Versatility  

To manage effective marketing channels during global uncertainty, much of the similar advice remains true. They include: 

Brands that rely heavily on one method of marketing or a particular marketing campaign will find it difficult to stand out in a market that is evolving rapidly. 

For instance, businesses that rely on a traditional business model or marketing methods, such as in-person networking events and outdoor billboards, will fail to reach their audiences successfully as long as lockdown orders are in place. Instead, businesses need to be responsive to their marketing investments, like e-commerce

If certain paid social adverts are not converting, pause them and invest the budget elsewhere. If you only rely heavily on marketing events, why not offer webinars or virtual events? These can offer similar value, if not more, to a wider audience.  

The key to success in this noisy and challenging digital landscape is being agile, creative, differentiating yourself from your competitors, and emphasizing your value proposition to your consumers. One thing is for sure: businesses will be able to emerge from this crisis stronger than ever if they follow these steps to make their marketing channels and messaging more versatile, authentic, and human-centric.