Marketing Advice During a Pandemic

Update your coverage to help customers get the products they need.

Offer the option for customers to pick up products from your stores, or, if you have delivery options, allow your site to sell online by upgrading to ecommerce. Adapting your business to ensure business continuity during a time of uncertainty is a critical way that you can keep serving customers and keeping staff actively employed.

Proactively communicate any business changes.

Consider updating your local business listings in Google My Business or Bing Places, or your social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere. Another useful tip is to set an auto-reply for your email address, with answers to Frequently Asked Questions to help customers get information quickly, and updating your website so that your utilizing your "shop window" to communicate with website visitors who might need to know how you're tackling the issues that come with business continuity during a pandemic.

Make use of grants and other support packages.

In addition to the Government's response to help with retaining jobs, and ensuring businesses survive this thing, there are some companies offering additional support. Google Ads will be adding an ad spend credit to all small and medium businesses who invested in advertising during 10 months of 2019 to help businesses continue advertising during these tough times. These sorts of initiative help businesses to continue marketing to relevant audiences during times when guarding the purse seems to be a priority, and this initiative helps to alleviate this somewhat so that marketing campaigns can continue on Google Ads, rather than being suspended.

For more on how Google are responding to help small businesses cope, visit their COVID-19 support site.

How can you measure your marketing efforts during a time of uncertainty?

It is difficult to predict and forecast at the moment, with things changing from day to day. Many marketeers and businesses are analytically wrestling with how and what to measure since COVID-19 changed everything. Personal and professional lives, and behaviours, have all shifted to adapt to social distancing rules and this has had profound effects on the way audiences interact with businesses. In many cases, marketing campaigns have either been drastically altered or suspended until some sense of normality resumes.

The question begs, should we even be measuring marketing efforts at such a time?

To this end, we've come up with some marketing advice that we're adopting whilst this pandemic is prevalent.

1. Measure critical campaigns and channels.

You shouldn’t stop all measurement. Even in tough times, ensuring that you’re investing responsibly remains important. Forecasting tools are still helpful in identifying potential keyword opportunities, for example, or the ideal placement for a display advert and the usual post-campaign tools are essential in measuring the performance of these campaigns.

2. Creative pre-testing.

It's probably more important than ever to understand how your advertising, messaging or creative is perceived tonally. It's crucial not to misstep and damage your brand during a time of heightened anxiety. Make sure you review all old creative and update it if necessary to ensure it doesn't strike the wrong tone.

3. Strategic analysis.

Things are moving really fast and it's critical to measure the effect of cross-channel marketing which means comparing those multi-channel attribution models and continuing to test campaign performance across search engines, referrals, social media, content marketing pages, video, influencers and display networks or whichever other channels. If you're seeing a shift towards YouTube advertising, for example, as dwell times on YouTube have exploded during self-isolation then shifting your marketing strategy to incorporate more video and YouTube advertising may be a sensible approach.

4. Make the most of the extra thinking time.

With a lot of marketing now paused, you may find yourself with something usually rare as rocking horse doo doo - and that's time to think. If you find yourself in this situation, it's the perfect time to invest in planning and upgrading your strategies, and as we all come out of lockdown and recover from this situation you can be in a good position to implement these well-thought strategies. It's difficult to know what life after coronavirus looks like - but, we can try to figure that out together and plan how to make the most of the situations as they present themselves.

5. Update short-term KPIs.

Tough calls are going to be made about business objectives in the short-, medium- and long-terms. If those objectives are still relevant, you may be tempted to adjust long-term objectives and short-term KPIs. 

6. Consumer behaviour has changed massively.

Online consumption in some areas has exploded, and in others has completely dried up. Whether this is long-lasting or temporary remains to be seen, but it's almost impossible to build learnings from this scenario that would be relevant in future as we exit the pandemic lockdown.

In summary.

This isn’t an easy time for anyone. Like everyone else, we hope this is a rare occurrence and that the period of disruption will end sooner rather than later. But we still have to deal with the reality of the present. As marketing reacts to this ever-shifting landscape, measurement strategies should be similarly agile and we should continue to be talking, at an acceptable social distance, about how we can best ensure business continuity and success for us all.