The COVID-19 crisis has changed how organizations market and consumers react. The “new norm” is far from normal though, and a new future — a new way of staying in touch with customers or, in the case of nonprofits, with donors — is quickly emerging. Building lasting relationships with customers and staying connected to them has never been more important.
For marketers, this new future requires us to rethink how we communicate with customers. As digital marketing accelerates, success means finding ways to personalize messages that form connections between your client or potential customers and your brand.
The increased use of e-services provides an opportunity to create additional touchpoints with customers. As marketers, we can broaden our reach through these shared platforms that enable us to cross-market with like-minded companies or services that benefit the customer. This like-mindedness lets us maximize our marketing budgets while also providing enhanced experiences to our customer bases.
Travel restraints imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic have increased the importance of addressing consumers or donors within their own specific neighborhoods and geographical areas, with messages that pertain to them. By speaking their language, we instill confidence, and they listen
At the same time, the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the trend of consumers holding brands to higher standards and social values. Research equates “doing the right thing” and “looking after one’s neighbors” with the idea that companies and consumers alike are “all in this together.”
Especially now, marketers need to convey a strong sense of a brand’s purpose, of how it can make real differences in the lives of consumers and communities. That sense of purpose is communicated through the projects that a brand supports, the partnerships it forges, the culture of its organization — its diversity and inclusion, for example — and the messages it sends to customers.
In the age of the coronavirus pandemic, genuineness and transparency are essential for marketers. Customers know when businesses contrive messages for their own benefit. Brand statements need to be backed by ongoing action. Now is the time to revamp brand visions and marketing strategies for the new normal.
Denise Blackburn-Gay, APR, Fellow PRSA, is president and CEO of Marketing Strategies, Inc., in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
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