When a recession – or, more recently – a pandemic hits, the knee-jerk reaction for a business is to pull back on marketing efforts. During a crisis, fear and uncertainty tend to drive companies to make rash decisions before the repercussions are fully analyzed.
The late Peter Drucker saw the value and profitability derived from marketing, saying:
“The business enterprise has two — and only two — basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.”
Simply put, marketing is where the real profit center of a business lies.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly drudged up a myriad of challenges for companies, our current climate also yields a plethora of opportunities – like developing deeper insights and new approaches to marketing.
So, what should your brand be doing right now? Here are three tips.
1 | Be Solution-Focused, Not Just Product-Focused
As the COVID-19 pandemic wages on, businesses must shift their perspective and adopt a mindset that places value in forging authentic connections with consumers. Brands that continue to define themselves only by how their products or services differ from competitors will wind up seeing a rapid decline in consumer interest, engagement, loyalty, revenue, and retention.
Companies must work to identify and address the specific needs or anxieties their customers are grappling with.
The information collected can ultimately be used to craft compelling and emotionally-sensitive marketing campaigns relevant to consumer concerns surrounding safety and assurance.
One example of a brand that followed this logic is Pomchies. For almost twenty years, the company has built a following among young consumers who are drawn to their scrunchies, fashionable headbands, and water bottle carriers. After seeing a clear shift in the needs of its consumers, the brand introduced new product lines, such as their non-medical face masks.
By adapting and being flexible, Pomchies was not only able to satisfy the new needs of their current clients, but they were also able to attract revenue from a new market of customers.
2 | Emphasize Value Over Price
A foundational rule in messaging is this: Convey value.
People don’t buy things. They buy experiences, feelings and results — a product is just the medium.
The value of a product is not the cost of it, but the transformation it will create for a consumer. By emphasizing the value of a product, your messaging becomes less about the sale and more about the experience you’re creating for your customer.
3 | Focus On Education and Innovation In Lieu of Self-Promotion
When you’re focused on customer experience rather than on the thing you’re selling, you resonate more deeply with your customers. Education is a key part of doing just that.
Helping your customer better understand your product helps them move through the customer journey in a way that builds a true connection between them and your brand.
At the end of the day, marketing is about cultivating relationships.
No lasting relationship prioritizes one party’s message and expects the other to sit back and take it all in. Education and innovation both pave the way for more dynamic relationships — the kind that strengthen and evolve over time.
As we enter yet another phase of this pandemic, you might be feeling a strong urge to curl up and hold back. But marketing is not meant to be a cost — It is an investment and a practice both, driving profit and keeping your brand alive and relevant.
And when you feel confident in how you make that investment, marketing gets to be just that.