Marketing lead at LogicMonitor, whose unified monitoring platform expands possibilities for businesses by advancing the tech behind them.
The Covid-19 pandemic represents a health and humanitarian crisis, as well as an economic jolt. It has brought massive disruption to companies everywhere. Most of it, of course, has been bad for business. But, as the past couple of decades of tech innovation have taught us, disruption can also come with an upside.
Take the banking industry, for instance. In a single week, there was a dramatic 72% increase in the use of financial apps in Europe, as banks closed branches and consumers were compelled to transact online. When looking at cutting costs long term, this shift is in the best interest of banks. It’s also in the best interest of consumers, many of whom have now discovered the ease of online banking.
The takeaway is that the current crisis, while absolutely devastating, can also serve as a catalyst in terms of the way your company does business. This applies to every department, including the marketing department. It’s an ideal time to rethink, refresh and redefine your brand and differentiate yourself within your industry.
Here are four steps your marketing organization can take during this time to improve messaging, better connect with customers and come out of this crisis stronger than ever.
1. Be authentic in your content creation.
Don’t repeat overused phrases like, “We are now in unprecedented times,” or, “The future is more uncertain than ever.” Generic messages are not helpful for customers trying to weather the pandemic. They want authenticity. You must truly understand your audience’s pain points — and show them that you understand — by investing in authentic, meaningful messages.
For example, Clorox recently released new ads that emphasize the theme of keeping your loved ones safe with wipes and disinfectants. That’s a departure from the brand’s previous ads, which drummed on the message of “whiter whites.” Clorox changed its brand tone from want (cleaner laundry) to need (staying safe and healthy). This message is authentic because it clearly surfaces the concerns that are top of mind for consumers right now.
2. Connect with customers in new ways.
In the past, many business-to-business (B2B) companies relied on industry trade shows and large events to gain in-person exposure to enterprise customers and prospects. During the pandemic, when such events no longer exist, trying to figure out the digital equivalent can be a challenge.
At LogicMonitor, we are reaching out to our partner ecosystem to find alternate routes to build relationships with potential customers. For example, we realize that many of our channel partners have strong, preexisting relationships with our target customers and really know how their organizations work. So we’re teaching those partners how to effectively tell our story. Why should they? If our brand value strengthens their offering, everybody wins.
3. Deliver business value.
Don’t focus on flashy features and functions. Instead, make a point of highlighting the business value that you deliver with your product or service. This is particularly important in times when customers are tightening their budgets and are reluctant to make new purchases.
You need to prove a real business case to customers and show how you can deliver concrete, quantifiable value. In our case, as a provider of cloud-based IT monitoring and observability software, we’re doing this with tools such as a return on investment (ROI) calculator that demonstrates how a small investment in our technology goes a long way toward gaining efficiencies, preventing costly outages and keeping a business up and running during the pandemic.
4. Don’t be afraid of video.
Build a video strategy that emphasizes the human element and helps your brand stand out in an overcrowded marketplace. If your videos are entertaining, all the better. But, again, authenticity is paramount.
For example, our company is producing video interviews with customers that bring the customer voice into the conversation in a more informal way. And, because we can’t meet face to face with customers and prospects, we’re also producing educational videos and providing other valuable content free of charge. Additionally, we’re creating more online product demos to show how our product works now that we can’t demo live at industry events.
We’re using video to pull back the curtain and publicly reveal a bit more of our secret sauce. This helps us get more eyes on our product and educates prospects to drive awareness. We’re also engaging with customers on their terms and guiding them along the sales journey at a pace they feel most comfortable.
During this time, many customers are not ready to make purchasing decisions, so don’t pressure them to buy now. Be there to help guide them, educate them and stand ready if they become ready in the future.
The bottom line: Companies that rethink and reinforce their brand during difficult times will be in a better position to weather a crisis. Ultimately, they will emerge more customer-centric and stronger than ever.
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