How to pivot your marketing strategy in a crisis | Business masterclasses

Over the last few months, the sweeping changes of the global pandemic crisis have changed everything, from how we live and communicate with one another, to how we adjust our working conditions to accommodate unprecedented circumstances.

As businesses are learning to evolve their services and offerings from offline to online, it is important to note that in order to adjust to customer needs and shopping behaviour, these businesses have also had to quickly adapt their marketing strategies in response to the wider cultural impact of the pandemic.

As a digital marketer who helped many of these businesses adjust to sudden changes in consumer behaviour online over the past few months, I am divulging three valuable tips and insights that will help you to pivot your marketing strategy – for these uncertain times, and for the future of your business.

1. Pivot your advertising spend from sales to brand awareness

With many customers shifting their personal purchasing habits during a crisis, and withholding their spending from non-essential products, it’s important to re-evaluate your marketing budget spend from purely sales-centric advertising to awareness brand building.

With more people spending time consuming content on social media than ever before, it’s a great opportunity to create high value content that can add value to your audience, and then spending top of the funnel marketing budget to promote content and drive awareness to your website.

Using social media to interact with your audience can be key for brand awareness
Using social media to interact with your audience can be key for brand awareness Photograph: Patrik Giardino/Getty Images

2. Offer value and impact with live video and other interactive features to engage with your audience when they need it the most

The plethora of live interactive content channels during the pandemic crisis has meant that individuals who were isolated from others socially can now connect virtually anywhere on social media with brands across the world.

Businesses who were quick to adapt to this offered daily and weekly interactive live content with their audiences when they needed it the most. Global fitness brand Barry’s Bootcamp, for example, offered daily free live training sessions on Instagram Live, and rather than offering them exclusively to existing members, opened up access to everyone. This gave Barry’s Bootcamp the opportunity to stay top-of-mind for their loyal customers while also building brand awareness with new audiences and growing their online community.

3. Build trust and connection with your email marketing communication

During times of crisis, transparency is key to winning the hearts of your audience and customers online. During the pandemic, many e-commerce brands have struggled to fulfil demand due to logistics, warehousing issues and staff shortages.

Laurie Wang
Laurie Wang Photograph: Jess Yau Photography

If approached the right way with email marketing, through timely and responsive customer updates, you can win the trust of your audience for the long term. For example, as a customer of Cambridge Masks – who went above and beyond what a small business can do in terms of communications – I appreciated their weekly email update on shipments for each batch of a highly sought-after PPE. Being human, trustworthy, and authentic as a brand is even more essential during a time of uncertainty.

Laurie Wang is an award-winning digital marketer who gets businesses seen by audiences that are hungry for their products or services. Her knowledge and understanding of the digital landscape have benefited from an eclectic mix of clients from young startups to FTSE 100 giants. She has been featured in the Metro, the Guardian, FT and Fast Company. Laurie runs our Masterclass in creating a successful digital marketing strategy.

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