Finally, there is some cautious hope emerging for the year 2021. The talks of vaccines – about 150 of them at the last count – are improving the outlook on health, social, and economic recovery. For businesses, that is better news than we have had in months.
If you haven’t already set out your reopening and recovery strategy, we highly suggest that you start working on it. You scarcely need telling that everything has changed, but unfortunately, a lot of businesses are approaching the recovery the wrong way.
When the financial fallout reached many small and medium-sized businesses, radical steps were necessary to survive. Many of them went for their marketing teams, slashing budgets or even laying them off entirely. That’s a terrible way to get out of a pandemic and still hope to continue doing business, especially after all that has changed.
Marketing During and After COVID-19
“What COVID-19 did is force a lot of marketers to step back and rethink relationships with consumers,” Bob Liodice told Marketing Dive, an industry-leading publication. Bob is the CEO of the Association of National Advertisers, and he captures the essence of the change in the post-coronavirus pandemic very well.
The fundamental shift in marketing is, in truth, the culmination of a transformation that has been simmering for many years. Brands are realizing the importance of nurturing relationships with customers, and we are seeing a level of empathy never seen previously.
Wise CMOs and other C-suite executives have long realized that this calls for increasing marketing spend, not decreasing it. There’s no denying that things are really tight right now, but with the hope of normalcy returning, a long-term recovery and growth strategy beats a hunker-down-and-starve approach.
For marketers, however, the challenge is bigger than the issue of budgets. The marketing playbook needs to be reinvented, rewritten, and adapted to the changing landscape. Reopening businesses is really about getting customers back through your doors, and that is going to be tough.
Consumer Habits Have Changed, For Good
The playing field has changed, and so has the game. Global leaders like McKinsey and Accenture have been investigating the shifts in consumer habits and came up with the following:
- Retail consumers are opting to shop locally and mindfully, with 56% buying from neighborhood brands (Accenture). Up to 84% of these plan to continue doing that, driven by a need to promote local businesses and more confidence in their quality (McKinsey)
- A full-blown migration to digital services has happened, not just online shopping. The home is the new center of life, not the office, and online gaming, streaming, gambling, and socializing services are experiencing massive growth
- As consumers look to cut back on spending, they are looking for more value in the brands they purchase. Seventy-five percent have changed brands during the pandemic, 36% have tried a new product, many of them being private label products. For this reason, brands need to convey value and maintain strong availability(McKinsey)
- There is a shift to the more important things in life such as family values, exercising, reading, and better productivity (McKinsey)
- Consumers are far more concerned about their financial security, so they will not be spending as much even after reopening. Fifty percent rank financial security as one of their top three priorities. (Accenture)
There are many more subtle changes to the business environment that will make it even more exciting to reopen post-COVID. However, business executives and those running SMBs will need to prepare adequately for it.
How to Prepare Your Business for Reopening After COVID-19
In addition to all the guidelines on the health and safety of employees, change in business processes, and workforce changes, marketers are rightly worried about successful marketing.
At Geary, we have seen increased interest in our exclusive recovery package designed to help businesses recover through strategic marketing covering both traditional and modern channels. The goal right now is to stay relevant, whether the efforts bring in immediate returns or not.
Our advice to you is that you need to rethink and strategize afresh on how you will get your business going after reopening. Here are 5 tips to get you started.
1. Build Empathy
The pandemic has been brutal on consumers and businesses alike, but we are all human at the end of the day. We have suffered and been tested greatly, and we have less patience for anything that isn’t trying to make our lives better.
Brands need to focus on consumers as people, not “leads” or “prospects.” It’s about building heartfelt relationships that will last past the transaction. You’ve got to be authentic, human, and personal. That’s why we have humanized advertising content going out through social media, email marketing campaigns, and many more.
2. Build Engagement
We have all seen those ads on mainstream media that are really doing a good job of building engagement and visibility. They don’t seem to be selling you anything, but they really are. Budweiser’s campaigns this year have been fun to hilarious to touching.
Other companies like Burger King have been airing thank-you ads to front-line workers. That’s building engagement with empathy. It is identifying with consumers through creative engagement, something the team at Geary has mastered in our more than five decades of existence.
3. Omnichannel Marketing
Consumers are more active on online platforms more than ever before. Brands are now realizing the power of non-traditional marketing channels such as podcasts, social media, email blasts, and many others.
The renewed interest in buying local means that traditional marketing such as radio and billboards take on an even greater significance. When you want to appeal to local audiences, you have to maintain a presence through physical medial and local advertising space.
Posters, backlits, and various outdoor advertising media are also going to gain greater significance, now that people will be looking to leave their homes and shake off the effects of the isolation.
Businesses really need to ramp up their presence now to build up momentum, and traditional advertising is the best way to do that.
4. Build Your Future on Data and Information
The power of relevant data and information in predicting and shaping the future has become crucial during these uncertain times. Marketing teams need to perceive and react to changes in consumer needs in real-time. Brands that have access to fresh and insightful data have a clear advantage in a market that is turned upside down.
5. Back to Print Media
After a lot of screen time during lockdown and isolation, a lot of consumers are going to appreciate some old-school chivalry. And not just that – they will be going outdoors, attending events, visiting friends, and going golfing like never before.
What this means for businesses is that you need to realign your marketing strategy to take care of these changing habits. Contrary to what most people believe, a vaccine will get everybody out of the house. Align your marketing by using traditional print media such as newsletters, billboards, booklets, posters, and signs to get the attention of post-COVID consumers.
6. Get Innovative
Be engaging, become responsive, use new marketing methods – that sounds like a call for creative and innovative marketing. Half-hearted advertising simply won’t cut it any longer either during or after COVID-19. That’s why Geary has taken the initiative to come up with our exclusive recovery package covering newsletters, promotions, website design, and all elements of e-marketing.
We have come out to support businesses looking for affordable, effective, and engaging advertising solutions covering the whole range of traditional and modern media here in Las Vegas and across the country.
Thanks to our unique blend of traditional advertising and online support, we ensure that you get back into the game with new energy and appeal to the changed consumer mindset. While you may not have an idea about how to attract old and new customers, we do because we have seen the trends and market changes. Now, we’re ready to help you get out there with our exclusive package. Whether you want signage, billboards, email, direct mail, social media, web design, SEO, TV, or Radio, Geary has it all.
Get in touch with us today for help with developing a recovery marketing plan for your business to get you off your feet when you reopen.