Showing Up for Your Customers & Community During COVID-19

As the initial shock of the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent need to physically distance passes, everyone is left wondering how to move forward. Businesses still need to provide the services that they can, support their customers and connect with their community, but many are wondering how. One of the best resources available right now for uncertain business owners is their marketing team. The need to quickly communicate changes, keep in touch with your customers and create revised marketing campaigns to keep sales coming in are all key tasks that clients will be looking to their agencies and marketing leaders to provide. You can also provide valuable advice, resources and an empathetic ear to those you work with who are likely struggling with difficult changes and decisions right now.

The number one thing that marketers can provide to the leaders they work with is a path forward to keep selling. Businesses need to make money to survive and the key function of marketing is to bring people to the table, so while this role has not changed, how you get there likely will.

When working with your clients, there are some excellent ways to show up for them as their agency partner or marketing manager. One is to keep being a knowledgeable resource for all things marketing and strategy. Keep on top of changes being made to key platforms and what areas your client needs to update to stay on top of ever evolving governmental regulations as well. Crafting a new strategy during a crisis involves being very agile, knowing what’s going on and having the knowledge and access to tools to make it all happen.

Your clients will likely look to you for ways to bring certain business aspects online, to quickly adjust business hours, announce closures and communicate service changes. Be ready for these changes by having all relevant information, passwords and platforms handy and ready to be accessed on short notice.

Another area you can provide support to the leaders you work with is by immediately adapting messaging. Pause campaigns until they are adjusted, shift the focus of social posts and help them find every way they can to support their audience and community. During times of crisis, people are often more sensitive than usual to messaging, so ensure you vet everything through an empathetic lens. How does the product or service you are marketing help customers NOW?

Being responsive to the changes around you is critical and audiences expect this from the brands they support.

There is also the community aspect. Do the brands you work with offer a product or service that can benefit the community? Are they able to support other businesses around them in some way?

Bauer has recently started making protective equipment for front line medical staff, Labatt is making hand sanitizer and Dyson is making ventilators. While the businesses you work with may not be able to contribute in such major ways, many can offer a small effort that can make a huge difference to their communities. Local restaurants with food trucks have started offering meals to students and families in need, as well as service staff who may be suffering financial challenges due to being unable to work. Many marketers themselves are offering free advice to small businesses struggling with adapting to the digital space, lawyers are providing free video calls and various artists are bringing their music live online to keep people entertained. No matter the business, there is always a way to help, even if that’s just using your social media following to shout out the other businesses around you that need a hand from a stronger presence. Whatever you can offer yourself, and suggest to your clients, provides an opportunity to serve your community and help in these times of need. This is also an excellent way to build genuine connections with your audience and to keep in touch while things are so out of touch!

If your business could benefit from a chat to discuss your current marketing tone, ways to promote yourself digitally, or to brainstorm ideas to be there for the community around you, please reach out to Monica directly to book some time.

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