We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but any marketing strategies you had planned for 2020 before the outbreak, bin them. Throw them away.
To be frank, they’re just not going to cut it right now.
Look, there’s no denying these are incredibly strange times. The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everybody, it’s not business as usual for your audience, so it shouldn’t be for you.
If you’re not acknowledging the current climate, no matter how well-intentioned you are, you’re going to come across insensitive. This is a once in a lifetime global situation, and if you’re not adapting your marketing strategy pronto, you’re going to get left behind.
Now is the time to make it known that you’re not looking to sell your customers unnecessary products and services, you’re not looking to capitalise on their struggles, but you’re going to be there for them because you genuinely care.
Why Support Marketing?
Your audience is spending a lot of time online.
A lot of time.
It’s a no brainer really, people are locked inside their homes, they’re away from their friends and family, and they’re turning to social media for not only interaction, but also for comfort.
According to Kantar 2020, 78% of people believe that brands should be a pillar of support to their audience during these times.
If there’s ever been a time to engage with your audience on social media, the time is now.
However, you must remember that the priorities of your audience have changed. People in isolation are relying on social media as a way to connect, stay informed, support each other, and stay entertained. It’s a lifeline for most people, and you need to be sensitive to this when marketing on the platforms.
Creating this support system and switching up your strategy also has the potential benefit to create a halo effect for your brand.
COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon, and even after it’s gone, we’re not going to be forgetting about this period quickly. People will remember who was there for them during their time of struggle, they will remember the businesses who cared, and the support they received as life starts slowly progressing back to normal.
Here lies the perfect opportunity for you to put your foot on the pedal, amp up your marketing strategies and be there for your audience in a time where your competition is probably backing off.
What Is Support Marketing?
We may all be physically separated, but emotionally, people are becoming closer and more engaged. This approach takes marketing away from a traditional and transactional strategy and makes it compassionate and sensitive to the current climate.
Support marketing is all about adapting your strategy in these unprecedented times, creating a relationship based on understanding rather than buying and selling.
Four key content pillars can be applied during a support marketing strategy. These are ways to stay active and visible to your audience, even if usual operations have been interrupted.
Compassion – Ask yourselves how can you prioritise compassion in your communications to your audience? How can you pivot your strategy to provide your customers with greater support during a time of crisis? This could be through information, mental health support, or through services that can help make their lives easier.
Connect – Now more than ever audiences are seeking genuine connections. Can your brand help people reach out to their loved ones? To their community? To people for support? Life since COVID-19 has changed the priorities of your audience. We are seeing people seek out connections with not only their loved ones but also with the community around them.
Teach – With so much spare time on our hands people are more open than ever to learn a new skill. Can your brand teach something? Provide a useful skill? How can you pivot your strategy so that instead of selling a product you are teaching your audience something new?
Entertain – We all need a break from the constant doom and gloom of the news cycle. How can you provide your audience with a genuine escape from what is going on in the world? How can you brighten their day and provide them with a safe place?
A message that might have made sense yesterday, might be completely out-of-touch or insensitive today. Things are changing hour-by-hour in this current landscape and your support marketing strategy should be updated and reevaluated just as regularly.
Ultimately you need to remember you’re dealing with people.
People who are struggling, who may have lost their jobs, or who might be separated from family.
Your marketing strategy should reflect these issues and remind your consumer that hey, we’re all human, let’s get through this together.