The majority of global problems come as a complete surprise to us. The 2008 US stock market crisis, which resulted in significant job losses and house foreclosures, was predicted by very few people. The economy of the United States, as well as the lives of millions of its residents, were destroyed.
When disaster strikes, it’s critical for marketers to understand what’s at risk and adjust their strategies accordingly. We are not dealing with the audience we traditionally market to in times of crisis. When faced with a crisis, each person reacts differently—some with fear, some with rage, and so on. Customers may become more cautious and cancel or postpone purchases as a result of this change, which has an impact on decision-making and purchasing behaviour. We can’t rely on standard best practices, buyer personas, or established processes and KPIs when dealing with customers during a crisis.
We must, nevertheless, continue to do our tasks. If we take a step back to assess our marketing efforts, we may find that difficult times teach us to communicate with more empathy, honesty, and a focus on creating long-term client relationships rather than the number of transactions. Disruptions happen all the time, but it doesn’t mean we should worry and halt everything we’re doing as marketers. Instead, this is the time to reaffirm business principles, be innovative, and think long-term.
We can traverse a catastrophe zone while keeping a competitive edge by focusing on long-term results rather than short-term benefits. That includes tailoring our efforts, tone of communication, and marketing strategy to the circumstances. As marketers, we are in the ideal position to guide businesses through this transition and prepare for what comes next.
So, here are seven marketing suggestions to assist you in navigating the marketing landscape during a crisis.
1. Put your present KPIs and short-term goals on hold.
Adapt your lead generation objectives. In some circumstances, it may be preferable to put them on pause entirely. Examine performance over a set length of time before deciding what is best for your company and team.
2. Communicate empathically
There’s a big chance to show the market that your company cares about more than just producing money. Demonstrate to them that you care about them, their well-being, and the success of their company (in a B2B case).
In a crisis, how can your products and services help your customers solve problems? Do your customers know about these options? Collaborate with your customer service team to provide individualised messages to consumers and to assist them in overcoming new problems and gaining greater value from your products and/or services.
If you’re in B2B, strike up a casual dialogue with your customers to learn about their specific difficulties and how you might help them stay afloat. Demonstrate your humanity.
In other words, crisis marketing becomes a test of client retention and brand reputation management. Those elements should already be part of your marketing mix; now is the time to put them to work.
If you plan and execute appropriately, the long-term benefits will outweigh the revenue loss in the short term.
3. Participate in the solution
This is a fantastic time to start if you don’t already have a corporate social responsibility (CSR) action plan in place. If you do, see if you can concentrate your efforts on the most pressing issues and places where you may be most helpful. Making monetary gifts and matching your employees’ donations to non-profit groups working on the issue(s) at hand could be part of it. Alternatively, perhaps your organisation has additional resources, such as technology and specialised skills, to develop solutions or mitigate harmful effects in some way.
During a crisis, many CSR strategies yield concrete results. They have the potential to greatly increase client loyalty and improve your brand’s reputation.
4. Share your findings
It’s vital that you present the results of your social responsibility initiatives in an appropriate and tasteful manner. Let people know where the money went if you were able to raise funds with the support of your staff and customers. Send a message via email. Make a big deal out of it on social media. Instead of focusing on your company or brand, concentrate on the cause/issue and the attempts to resolve it.
Avoid sending out a news release or utilising this as a means of promotion. Instead, express gratitude to everyone involved and emphasise the importance of making a difference, especially during times of distress.
5. Make sure you talk about your product in the correct context.
As an example, consider RisePath‘s unified customer relationship management (CRM) solution. Without losing momentum or slowing down operations during a crisis, the RisePath team uses the system to synchronise sales and marketing teams and manage outreach and initiatives at every client touchpoint. The RisePath team is also continuing to reach out to clients with recommendations on how to get the most out of their RisePath CRM instances while minimising the effect on their businesses. What distinguishes your products and services from the competition in terms of features or perks that could benefit clients right now?
You can also write how-to articles and tutorials on how to use your items in a crisis. Perhaps it has anything to do with remote job management. Or, how to take advantage of the downtime to prepare your company for the aftermath of a crisis. Engage your customers with unique or curated material that will be useful to them, even if your products/services don’t fit into the most relevant category.
Instead of focusing on selling, educate, support, and assist your consumers in surviving the downturn and determining their future moves.
6. Maintain a positive attitude
Optimism is crucial. It enables us to persevere in the face of adversity and maintain our optimism. In times of disaster, find and share stories of human resilience, inventiveness, and innovation. Tell your clients’ stories if they are making a difference in any way. A crisis is a circumstance that lasts just a short time. Maintaining a positive attitude will not only help you weather the storm but will also help you prepare for what comes next.
7. Make sure that basic administrative activities aren’t overlooked
Even in a crisis, you must keep a clean marketing database with current consumer information.
The fact that this is the last item on the list is completely accidental. Customer data that is accurate and up to date is a critical component of keeping the lights on at all times. Continue to complete the daily administrative chores for which you are accountable, and encourage your staff to do so as well.
If you just remember one thing from this post, make it to practise empathy while selling during a crisis. Everyone is dealing with the problem in their own unique way. For the time being, ignore the hard sell.
During a crisis, your marketing approach should prioritise creating relationships, managing brand reputation, and retaining customers.
It’s difficult to market during a crisis. However, if you’re a flexible marketer that implements a couple of the suggestions in this article, you’ll come out on top in the long term. It’s important to remember that the darkest hour is right before dawn.
On the RisePath Blog, you may find additional best practices and tales.