Navigating Marketing During a Crisis: Q&A

Q4intelligence on Apr 16, 2020 3:00:00 AM

In the wake of COVID-19, marketers are scrambling to figure out how to talk to their audience.  You need to continue marketing, but how do you do so in a way that feels right during a time when everyone is scared, nothing is certain, and people aren’t buying? 

If you’re feeling at a loss and unsure how to continue talking to your audience, you’re not alone. We’ve compiled answers to some common questions companies are struggling with.  

Should we drop our regular content plan altogether to focus solely on COVID-19? 

The short answer is no. People are overwhelmed already. Continuing to post your regular content may help your audience preserve a much needed sense of normalcy. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of articles and resources shared every day that pertain to COVID-19. The front pages of every major news organization are covered with COVID-related content. So posting about it just to feel like your content seems relevant isn’t the most helpful approach.  

However, if you have resources that are unique to your business/industry and will be specifically helpful to your audience, then absolutely share them.  

The key here is to make sure you’re providing something useful to your audience.  

I need to be marketing a product/service, but I don’t want to sound insensitive.  

This can be a tricky one because it all depends on your ability to navigate tone through writing. The best thing you can do is be honest and authentic. People will pick up on anything that feels like you’re taking advantage of the crisis.  

Be direct. If referring to the crisis feels relevant and necessary, speak to the specific needs and anxieties of your audience. Acknowledge them and explain how your product can help them. 

If your product has nothing to do with COVID, adding a simple statement at the end of your copy may be all you need. Here are some examples:  

  • Stay safe! 
  • Take care of yourself! 
  • Stay healthy! 
  • Sending our wishes for your health during this time! 

We had an event scheduled that we had to cancel. How do we go about telling our audience?  

First, before you decide to scrap the whole event, consider whether it’s possible to convert your event into a virtual experience.  

  • Can you livestream your event? 
  • Can you host it on a video meeting platform like Zoom? 
  • If you can’t hold the whole event online, how about setting up a virtual round-table discussion based on the theme of your event?
  • If you were going to share materials, can you share them on your website? 
  • If it was a networking event, how can you connect your attendees virtually?  

There are numerous platforms you can use to help you convert your event to a virtual experience. Make sure you’re not losing out on the opportunities they offer before you decide to cancel.  

If, however, you need to cancel the entire thing, you’re not alone. Communicate changes clearly and quickly with your audience. Try not to spend too long talking about the circumstances that are forcing you to cancel. They don’t need to know that you don’t have the team resources or virtual hosting capabilities. Keep your explanation simple and direct. Here’s an example: “We regret to inform you that due to the circumstances created by the pandemic, we are canceling our event.”  

Give them the necessary information they need about what to do, and be sure to end on a positive message. Your audience will understand. The whole world is adjusting their lives around the virus, so it’s not going to shock or deeply disappoint them if you need to cancel.  

Be intentional. 

Above all, be intentional. Make sure your message is honest and direct, and your audience will appreciate it. Be ready to make adjustments as circumstances change. Keep an ear to the ground as you listen to what your community, competitors, and audience are sayingWe are in this together, and we can all support each other through the many challenges if we stay connected and open.  

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by Andrey Alyukhin

Topics: Marketing + Branding