You are not alone if you feel like you cannot escape news the COVID-19 crisis these days. The crisis is dominating every water cooler discussion, every newspaper headline, and every cable news broadcast. It is even influencing how we marketers do our jobs.
First, we want to encourage our fellow marketers not to abandon marketing out of a sense of guilt. Business activity must go on or the economic damage of COVID-19 will be far worse than the harm to public health. We marketers must do our part to keep the economic engine chugging along – even if at a slower pace.
To that end, we have put together a collection of do’s and don’ts related to COVID-19 marketing. Hopefully they will offer you some much needed guidance as we navigate a crisis unlike anything most of us have seen in our lifetimes.
Do Focus on Local Needs
It is true that the COVID-19 pandemic is global in nature. However, anxious people are not thinking about their counterparts on the other side of the world. They are thinking about how the crisis affects them and their families. As such, local information is far more important to them.
Now is a good time to focus marketing efforts primarily on local audiences. Content should meet people where they live. It should provide them with relevant information for getting through the crisis at home.
Do Focus on Helping
One of the benefits of a free market economy is that businesses can use their resources to promote the common good. During this time, marketing with a focus on helping people is ideal. Helpful marketing provides people with important information. It steers them to those products and services they will need to avail themselves of throughout the crisis.
Do Not Jack up Prices
Unfortunately, there are always those unscrupulous business owners who prey on people during times of crisis. Do not be one of them. Do not jack up your prices beyond what is reasonably necessary to cover your own costs. Price gouging is not good marketing; it is exploitation. And make no mistake about it, companies that exploit COVID-19 for their own gain will suffer for it in the long run.
Do Not Spread False Information
Another thing that marketers should not do is knowingly spread false information. For example, telling people that a daily dose of vitamin C will protect them from the coronavirus is a bad idea. There is no scientific evidence suggesting as such. Do not spread false information as a means of selling products and services. Again, doing so is not marketing. It is exploitation.
Do Adjust Your Content
The vast majority of online marketing centers around content. During times like these, it is more important than ever for marketers to adjust their content accordingly. Now is not the appropriate time for content that divides or points political figures.
Adjust your content in such a way as to guarantee that it contributes positively to the current situation. For example, set the scathing op-ed’s aside for now and produce helpful ‘how-to’ articles that offer readers proven tips for coping with lockdown. That is the kind of information people need right now.
The wheels of business cannot grind to a complete halt over COVID-19 if we expect to have any economic strength on the other end of the crisis. As far as we marketers are concerned, our contributions to local and regional economics continue. But let us do everyone a solid by adjusting what we do in accordance with current circumstances. As long as we are going to market, let us do it right.