Revisiting Digital Marketing Strategies in a Time of Crisis

How should digital marketing strategies change during a global pandemic?

There’s no playbook for what we’re currently navigating. No guidelines. No best practices yet. But here’s what we DO recommend:

1. Revisit the plan and content approach: Anything that might have been scheduled or planned before two weeks ago MUST be assessed all over again. It may not mean changing everything, but looking at everything through a new filter must be an immediate priority, and should done on an individual brand basis.

2. Don’t abandon digital content or SEO: Given the massive uptick in social media usage and ecommerce for many verticals over the past two weeks, abandoning, or even reducing, digital investment should be a last resort. According to Sprout, 91% of people believe in social’s power to connect people and 78% of consumers want brands to use social to help people connect with each other.

3. Start with data: Or more accurately, whatever data you can get ahold of. Without deep insights, you can still get a feel for the conversation through social listening and other content measurement around engagement. What products in your category are people buying? What’s gone up? What’s gone down?

4. Don’t self-promote: If your product or service can add value to society, or even just alleviate, mitigate or distract consumers from their current challenges, ask… then ask again if it feels too much like you’re trying to sell something.

5. Avoid the pity party: We’re all in this together, and understanding that many businesses and individuals are facing unprecedented times requires a healthy dose of empathy. Lead with sensitivity, compassion and care. People will remember this.

6. Listen: Now seems like a great time to listen to, learn from, and highlight your audience. We’re a community, so giving them a platform to share, or even just vent, can build a collaborative spirit (so long as it aligns with the macro strategy).

7. Trust what you know: Now isn’t the time to be experimenting with new platforms or channels. Focus and prioritize, don’t experiment. Especially if budgets to get a bit tighter in the days and weeks to come, now may not be the time for test-and-learn.

8. Proceed with caution: Adopt the “yellow light” approach. When a traffic light turns yellow, sometimes we stop, sometimes you go through. In this case, don’t talk if you have nothing to add. This might mean shifting tone or reducing frequency, but don’t post content just to add to the stream. There is already enough information (and misinformation) being shared. Once you understand how the target audience is talking, only THEN should you determine how the brand can provide meaning. Remember your value exchange!

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