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Marketing Viewpoint by Ruth Winett
Marketing in the Time of the Coronavirus
The pandemic will eventually end, and life will return to a new normal. The months after the pandemic has ended will require hard work by all. Here are some suggestions on how to ramp up your marketing in a changed world.
- Make a comprehensive assessment of your business. What has changed because of the pandemic and the temporary shutdown of your business and most businesses? Are you short of products to sell? Necessary parts? Important data? Employees? Cash? Customers? How and when will you rectify these situations? Can you devise workarounds in the meantime?
- Reach out to your customers. Reassure them. Tell them what you are doing to protect them and their interests. If you are backlogged, tell them when you expect to be able to provide the products or services they need.
- Conduct phone interviews or online surveys to assess how customers’ needs have changed. How do they now view your company? What can you do to strengthen customer relationships? Should you alter your product mix or your payment schedule, or make other changes?
- Be creative and identify new opportunities. The business shutdown has also affected your competitors. This may mean opportunities for your company. It may be a good time to offer new services. If you have excess capacity, identify customers that are overwhelmed and that want to outsource services, such as conducting market research, creating web content, or planning events.
- Review your marketing messages. Are your messages sensitive to the new reality? Reassure customers and prospects that you are back in business and ready to go. If you will be delaying the shipment of products, be truthful about the delay and provide updates on when you expect to ship. Similarly, if you have a service organization, be honest about backlogs and slowdowns in service. Of course, you should promote new products and services.
It is essential that you communicate regularly with your customers and that you make it easy for them to communicate with you. Sensitivity is essential. Some will have lost friends and family members besides experiencing business loss. Also, find ways to show your employees that you appreciate their efforts. Happy employees have better relationships with customers than disgruntled employees.
*Apologies to Gabriel García Márquez, author of Love in the Time of Cholera
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Copyright © 4/20 Ruth Winett. All rights reserved.
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