Coronavirus. Covid-19. Social Distance. Quarantine.
New terms that have become a part of our everyday vocabulary. Six months ago, we would have been hard-pressed to define social distancing, we would have scoffed at the idea of people hoarding toilet paper, not shaking hands, not trusting as much, along with the constant sanitizing. Yet here we are.
In the blink of an eye everything changed, and so did the world of marketing and advertising.
Suddenly it was no longer business as usual and we were all shifting gears as quickly as possible to learn the new normal if there is such a thing. Or maybe we should refer to this current state as simply a new reality. Make no mistake, we will not return to what was. We will settle into something new. What that will be is yet to be defined.
As marketers, it is our business to keep our ear to the ground and be on the forefront of what consumers want and how they feel about interacting with your company. Listen to what they are telling us.
Right now, they want companies to be sensitive to the situation around us. They want to begin to return to business as usual, but safely. They are weary of the constant messages shrouded in Covid-19 dreariness. They want hope, optimism, and confidence you are mindful of their space and safety. Your customers want a rainbow after the storm.
On the flip side, there are still many that live with the devastation of Covid-19 in their daily lives and are not ready to move on with regular life as usual. They are more cautious minded and are offended by messages that seem to minimize the impact of Covid-19.
The challenge marketers are tasked with is to find that balance. We must walk that fine line between not minimizing the storm and bringing hope to those that need it. Brands must move beyond this time and find their new footing with strong messaging that will resonate with consumers in this new normal where we don’t just survive, but instead we learn to thrive.
Over the years our company and the marketing industry has been faced with many challenges, but we have learned to be open to innovation and doing business differently realizing the only constant is change. We must learn to let change catapult us into the next wave of opportunity instead of having the waves crash our dreams.
One example of how change affected our company, is how we embraced technology and refocused our marketing efforts when a crisis hit several years ago. Remember the Anthrax mail concerns? Our company had several different revenue streams, but one of the largest was our direct mail business, with millions of mailings going out. When anthrax initially hit people were afraid to open their mail and many businesses were struggling because that was one of their only proven advertising methods at the time. We made a shift from primarily traditional media to digital marketing, remnant media, and ecommerce years ago.
We didn’t just survive, we thrived from a handful of companies represented by one marketing company to several companies formed, with thousands of customers and contacts nationwide.
Faced with another challenge here with COVID 19, our agency has fortunately made calculated moves at the right time to assist both current and new customers. We have transitioned our team to working remotely by providing secure access to the servers, while also leaning on our partner software tools to deliver results for ecommerce and social media to name a few. In addition, video conferencing has allowed us to maintain a personal touch and keep momentum.
With operations solid, we shifted our thinking from long-term campaigns and solutions with clients in need to short-term blitzes to help with quick turnarounds and quicker means of revenue for them. This gave flexibility in the weekly (even daily) changes we saw with the virus and quarantine. From digital marketing, to video production, brand development and media placement, this plan proved successful. It was important for us to put our clients in position for quick, attainable victories and keep the line moving.
I am grateful for business success, but 20 years of being in business has taught me the most important things in life are my faith, family, and friends. Prayer, frequent zoom meetings, facetime, having a flexible structure, and good coffee with family and friends 6 feet apart will get us through adversity. On a related note, I have a real burden for the business leaders trying to keep it together for their employees and grow their company. This can be challenging at best and you need assistance from all sources, which includes a full- service marketing company ….Innovators are just a call or an email away.
My prayer is that you may know the peace of God in your life, your home, and your business, and not get burned out as you are stretched and go through transition. May you not be anxious about anything and have the faith to put God first in all you do, while asking Him to direct you with knowledge and wisdom in the days ahead. May your business have the financial provisions to meet the daily demands and may you have peace to enjoy the fruit of your labor.
President & CEO, Americom Marketing