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April 8, 2020

Innovate or Be Forgotten During COVID-19

Due to the coronavirus lockdowns and social distancing measures, consumers are spending more time online at home than ever before, which gives marketers an opportunity to capture more eye-balls, all at once.

But life has drastically changed for consumers, which means your business strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic should as well. Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas and tips other companies have successfully employed to help get you started:

Go digital

Many brick-and-mortar stores are closing their locations to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and focusing on digital sales and online storefronts instead. Not only does this create an active revenue stream to combat inventory loss or bankruptcy, but it also boosts online brand awareness and establishes a highly-relevant (and globally accessible) digital shopping outlet for years to come. Ace Hardware, for example, now offers call-ahead orders, and they even bring your purchases right out to your car. Never before have hardware stores done anything like this, but what a great way to invest in the future of their business! Countless storefronts who’ve been shut down can find new promise, and potentially greater returns, simply by opening their virtual doors online.

Special promotions and sales

Some auto dealerships have reworked their entire purchasing process to better suit at-home car buyers by rolling out purchase-from-home vehicle programs. Trucks Only is one such dealer. Their customers can shop online and buy a car from the comfort of their couch with convenient options such as; at-home test drives, online financing and trade-in offers, front-door delivery, and easy approvals via phone, email or text. Going the extra mile for consumers who are stuck at home during the COVID-19 outbreak is a great way to encourage connections and build customer trust.

Think outside the to-go box

In the food industry, many restaurants and catering companies have started offering online ordering, drive-thru service, and food delivery for the convenience of their homebound patrons. For instance, Zipps Sports Grill is even offering curbside pickup of their famous Zipparitas (margaritas)! Now that is something new! This is a savvy way to retain loyal customers and keep revenue coming in even while sit-down service options have been shut down for social distancing purposes. Could delivery be a viable option for any of your products?

Embrace virtual resources

From virtual tours to web consultations, video streams and online conferencing are keeping businesses plugged into their clients. Home builders are seeing huge spikes in online traffic and form fills after hosting virtual “open houses” and video walk-thrus. And professionals of every kind, such as lawyers, doctors and campaigning politicians, are turning to video consultations and virtual meetings to conduct business during COVID-19. Law offices and pharmaceutical companies alike can connect with clients over the web in real time so business can carry on as usual. No cancelled appointments or lost revenue channels means everybody wins.

Explore remote options:

As schools across the planet continue to close their campus doors, colleges and trade schools have started creating more online courses and remote degree programs for students to take throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Education doesn’t have to stop in its tracks simply because academic buildings are closed. Enrollment numbers can be just as high (if not higher) for online learning in virtual classrooms. Webinars and online lectures have become a celebrated tool for learning among both students and educators. Remote learning can benefit all parties involved, and keep the world turning as it does.

Build brand trust with generosity

With economies plummeting across the globe, money has become tight for most consumers. Several airlines and hotel chains have adjusted their consumer operations by waiving fees for reservation changes and by allowing cancellations without penalties. Offering special exemptions or financial considerations for your customers is a great way to show compassion and build trust with consumers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Boost subscriptions and/or memberships

Information sources such as streaming and online news outlets have seen an uptick in both visits and subscriptions recently, and these numbers are sure to increase as people remain confined to their homes. If you have knowledge to share, or a membership to offer, people now have time to research and commit to subscribing. This is a great opportunity to polish up your offerings and grow memberships.

Adjust brand messaging for greater relevance

It can be difficult to navigate the nuances and sentiments of global events, particularly when it comes to messaging and campaign themes, but if you can find the right fit for your brand it can work wonders for company perception. Ikea, for example, decided to run a campaign focused on the significance of home and emotionally connect with consumer circumstances, while Nike’s messaging has centered around staying indoors in support of government and health organizations working to keep us safe.

If you want to succeed as a brand, it’s crucial you maintain your advertising presence. Find ways to adapt, put a firm strategy in place, and remain flexible for optimal success. That’s the key. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Brands who can adapt swiftly can rise above the chaos and turn uncertainty into opportunity.

For more actionable insights on marketing during the COVID-19 pandemic, stay tuned for our next article on Thursday, where we explain the powerful benefits of programmatic, and how they work together to create a “corona-proof” option for serving ads in these uncertain times.And if you haven’t already, be sure to check out our previous article on the top five reasons businesses should continue advertising during this season.

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