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PR TIPS - How to adapt your marketing strategy for COVID-19

How to adapt your marketing strategy for COVID-19

Companies of all sizes around the world are feeling the effects of COVID-19, and now have to re-evaluate their business plans for the foreseeable future.

The pandemic has brought changes in consumer behaviour, media consumption and social media platforms that now require businesses to adapt their marketing strategies accordingly.

Particularly hard hit are brick-and-mortar businesses and those who predominantly rely on offline marketing strategies such as events, trade shows and word-of-mouth referrals. Web traffic of most industries has seen a decline, apart from finance, food, healthcare and media, with the travel industry leading the downward trend.

Like many parts of the world, New Zealand is about to enter into a 4-week lockdown to hopefully ‘’flatten the curve’’ and ease the pressure on the health system. Recently released research by Gartner reveals that in China time spent online increased by 20% as people confined themselves to their homes and social networking continued to be a favourite activity. It is very likely that a similar spike will happen in New Zealand.

The report also found that Chinese brands were able to maintain consumer connections and sales throughout the COVID-19 outbreak by adapting their marketing strategies and messaging.

Here are some ideas on how you can adapt your marketing strategy for the next couple of months:

  • Shift your marketing efforts online
  • Listen to your fans – what are their concerns, what platforms are they using etc.  
  • Consider online alternatives for your services and how you sell products
  • Focus on content - home quarantine has led to an increase in demand for entertainment and information
  • Use online video or livestreaming to engage with your audience – livestreaming has become the No. 1 sales and engagement channel in China
  • Be flexible – take advantage of new platforms, develop new content and products where possible
  • Manage expectations and promises – stay honest about what you can and cannot deliver
  • Adapt messaging to be less sales, more branding and awareness focused – this is not the time for hard sales
  • Prioritise brand building and increasing your fan base so that you’re ready when the economy picks up again

There’s no need to panic and pause all your marketing campaigns just yet; but it is time to start adapting and shifting your efforts online.