Marketing in Times of Crisis – II

“Survive today, plan for tomorrow”

Part II – Plan for tomorrow

While working hard to keep your doors open – primarily by focusing on maintaining, even strengthening your brand and business reputation through a driven focus on your customers – you also need to be planning for “after;” at some point business will flow again. Your competitors are preparing for that, so should you.  What plans will you have in place that will take advantage of the positive contributions you made when things were at their bleakest?

First – put aside the idea that the pandemic will at some point “be over” and life will return as it was pre-pandemic. That’s just not realistic. The COVID19 event is going to change the way people think and act going forward. Especially for younger people, this event will be a benchmark in their lives. 

Second – with this in mind, examine how your market, supply chain, products, competitors’ behaviors have changed as a result of the pandemic and adjust accordingly.

  1. Will cost/pricing structure be affected?
  2. Will your customers return? (Some may have gone out of business.) When will they return?
  3. Where does your product/service fit among customer priorities?
  4. Should any of the interim changes made during the pandemic be made permanent, e.g. working remote, changes to supply chain, etc.?
  5. Should more of your business be conducted online vs. face-to-face?

 Third – launching new products

If you had been planning on a new product launch only to have its introduction interrupted by the pandemic, you might want to reconsider the timing. People’s mindsets will be focused on pandemic related issues for some time. So unless your new product somehow addresses a pandemic related product or service, it may be tough sledding to a successful product launch. 

Referring back to the Edelman survey mentioned in Part I of this two-part series, some 54% of respondents said they will not pay attention to a new product unless it is specifically designed to address pandemic issues. In the near term, time and effort might be better spent solidifying customer relationships and nurturing new ones.

Fourth – if you are fortunate enough to have significant cash reserves – realize that the world will be on sale! Perhaps you can make an acquisition that will put you at a competitive advantage, offer a new service line, or be in a position to offer “returning” customers short term deals that they will mightily appreciate.

Fifth – The dynamics of the pandemic and its fallout on populations around the globe are far too complex for simple explanation. Thus a marketing strategy to address post-pandemic actions should incorporate a great deal of flexibility so that it can adapt to a changing landscape.

Research on your customers, your market, your competitive landscape are all tools to employ as we enter a new era of marketing in a post-pandemic world.

Mark Ryan & Chris Pratt

April, 2020