March 17, 2020

Marketing During a Crisis

How to move forward with your small business during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, making it difficult to tell whether we’re in the midst of the storm, or if the worst is yet to come—so it’s easy to forget, but important nonetheless, to get information from trusted sources and not give in to wide-spread panic.

The economy is undoubtedly in question, with Prime Minister Trudeau updating Canadians soon on an upcoming federal fiscal stimulus package to help businesses that are getting hit the hardest.

In the meantime. Here are four things you can still do for your business while we all practice a little social distancing. 

Be Empathetic with your Marketing during COVID-19

It may feel tone-deaf to continue advertising during such uncertain times, and you certainly don’t want to come across as exploitative while people’s livelihoods are so uncertain. So focusing on your own company’s financial gain is perhaps not the best approach. Watch your wording, focus on your target market and what they’re experiencing rather than making it about your branding, and show an authentic concern for their needs. The branding will be inherent and your customers will be more likely to buy in the long run as they’ll remember who was there for them, and who wasn’t!

Be Useful to your Audience and Collaborate with Other Businesses

Offer goods or services that are useful to a population that is facing shortages caused by panic hoarding and serious health scares. If your product or service is useful—clearly convey the benefits! If you’re not “useful” in this way, here’s your chance to partner with someone who is. This will increase your brand awareness while simultaneously supporting other peoples’ business as well. Strategic collaboration should be good for everyone.

Be Prepared to Change your Marketing Message to Do What’s Best for All

We know the coronavirus isn’t going anywhere any time soon, in that it’s far from over before things start to recover. Prepare your marketing materials and research ahead of time, so you’re not scrambling. This is simply good business practice on a good day!

Another consideration is hitting the “pause” button on your marketing campaigns while your target audience is in the thick of it. If your product or service isn’t useful to them, they won’t be digesting your message anyway. Remember empathy – it may feel offensive to be asked for a sale when you’ve just lost your job and livelihood. 

Be a Participant in the Pandemic Solution

Don’t be a bystander if you’ve got helpful—FACTUAL—information to share. There are so many ways to have sensitive marketing campaigns during a pandemic, like this relief fund by Hydro One. Be alert, keep yourself informed, and feel it out. Because we’re all in it together.

The Trade Commissioner Service has also prepared a great list of resources for Canadian businesses during this time that includes articles on how to support your employees, dealing with international partners, and financial implications and preparedness. 

And since it’s been a while since grade school, here’s a handwashing refresher from the CDC. Stay healthy, and contact us if you need help with your marketing.