Marketing and Communication During COVID-19 Crisis

Goals

Identify solutions for the following three issues in the context of the COVID-19 crisis: one, how to continue with marketing efforts when marketing budgets are under threat and messaging needs adjustment; two, what different means can be used to reach customers remotely, like podcasts or online live events; and three, how to prevent or minimize the loss of business from customers that may be heavily impacted or cutting budgets. The identified solutions will help inform an email to customers that Signal Inc, a North Carolina-based digital marketing and communications agency, will be sending to its clients about their biggest COVID-19 concerns.

Early Findings

Messaging Adjustments

  • Vivid Candi, a digital marketing agency in Los Angeles, recommends that businesses emphasize cleanliness onsite and in advertising messages, encourage remote meetings and remote relationships, educate customers on your sick policies, and encourage keeping it local.
  • In China, some brands were able to play a role in easing people's concerns and sense of isolation by generating messages of solidarity and hope.

Digital Marketing Adjustments

  • Anicca, a UK-based digital marketing agency, developed a list of specific digital marketing adjustments for businesses to follow. The recommendations include creating a Facebook or Linked group that people can join for ongoing updates and discussion, setting an automatic reply if your Facebook Messenger account is receiving an abnormal number of inquiries, increasing vigilance on budgets, ad copy and scheduling, and more.

Means for Reaching Customers

  • In China, businesses learned that social networking continued to be people's favorite online activity as time online increased by around 20%, but there were also significant surges in mobile gaming, watching short videos, and reading news and other information.
  • A Gartner research report about how brands adapted to the COVID-19 outbreak in China recommends that businesses shift marketing efforts online. A successful example of this strategy was Louis Vuitton's decision to launch an online pop-up store within the WeChat app, with a live chat option.
  • Similarly, the cosmetics company Lin Qingxuan was forced to close 40% of its stores during the outbreak in China and so it deployed over a hundred of its in-store beauty advisors on social media platforms to engage customers virtually, resulting in a 200% growth compared to the previous year in the Wuhan region.

Mitigating Loss

  • The US Chamber of Commerce has a number of recommendations for small businesses to mitigate the loss of customers, including to consider business interruption insurance and shift sales strategy online.
  • PwC's Strategy and Business magazine recommends that businesses mitigate loss by closely evaluating vulnerabilities in their supply chains and identifying critical points of failure.

Proposed next steps:

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