It’s hard to imagine a more challenging environment for marketers than the current moment. With a global pandemic affecting the way nearly everyone in the world works and lives, nothing feels certain anymore. And even the uncertainties are shifting rapidly.
Step 1: Press Pause
A lot of people are complaining that they are seeing things from companies that don’t fit the moment.
These days many campaigns are automated, run by algorithms without a lot of human direction. This can make it challenging to even know which campaigns are even running. So before you can press pause, Calkins advises, you need to figure out everything you’re doing across every channel.
Step 2: Rethink Your Plan for Spending and Investment.
While some companies are dealing with an unexpected wave of demand, most are crippled with the opposite problem: business has dried up.
These brands have a critical decision to make: Do they want to invest in their business and marketing efforts in order to stimulate demand? Or do they want to conserve their resources until the environment is more favorable? While some restaurants are going all-in on increasing their takeout capabilities, for instance, many are opting to save their money in the hopes of reopening later.
Step 3: Check Your Messaging
For brands that do want to move forward with a campaign in the current environment, they need to ask whether their current message is still relevant and appropriate.
Some ads are clearly a bad idea. It’s not a time to be too flippant. It’s not a time to make health jokes. It’s not a time to run ads featuring people hugging each other or ads with big group gatherings.
Step 4: Look to the Future
Ultimately, brands need to make sure that whatever messaging they engage in, it is consistent with who they are and what their brand stands for.
This brings up another thorny challenge for brands as they look into the future: making sure that their messaging remains sensitive so that even if they do have to lose some employees, they will be ready to recruit these individuals back to the team.
A lot of a marketer’s job right now is internal messaging. What works in your favor right now is recognizing that we’re all going through this. People understand that times have changed.