1. Read the room.
Seriously. Not all disasters are created equal, and the ability to market through them varies depending on public perception and sentiment. There are times when it’s appropriate to market during a crisis – a product or service that meets a need when people are isolating for a pandemic is a very different beast to advertising luxury products when the country is on fire. Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.
2. Maintain [or increase] spend. [Nope, we’re not kidding.]
The data shows that businesses that maintain or increase their marketing spend during a time when others are cutting back can increase their market share at a lower cost per result than usual, which helps them to position themselves effectively in the market once consumers start spending again. Please note: permission to continue marketing does not amount to permission to descend into a tone-deaf advertising frenzy. You want to acknowledge what’s happening in the outside world, and for your advertising to provide some degree of comfort or assurance. See point 1.
3. Be as generous as you can afford.
The human spirit loves a good news story, and when our collective spirits are a little dampened there’s no better tonic than having your expectations exceeded by kindness or generosity. Look at what people need [and how those needs have changed] look at what you offer, and meet them in the middle. Discounts. Giveaways. Free shipping. Random acts of kindness. If you can’t afford to be generous with your product [small businesses often suffer the most during a crisis] be generous with your time, your thoughts, your kindness, your humanity. People’s memories are long, and they’ll always remember how interactions with you made them feel.
4. Know your role.
Now is not the time for a fundamental shift in your business philosophy or offering [unless you’re pivoting to make those same services more accessible, of course]. Look at what role you’ve historically played in the lives of your customers, and work out how that role can continue to have value for people when they’re feeling raw and vulnerable.
At the most obvious level, TDP provides social media services- but on a deeper level, our business and its content provides validation, stability, warmth and thought leadership- and we KNOW the value that holds for our community- and that’s every bit as much our role as the service we formally offer.
5. Stay true to your values
If you don’t yet know what your business values are, there’s no better time than right now to sit down and map them out. TDP’s core values are authenticity, commitment to lifelong learning, collaboration, and courage. Rather than shift away from these when we feel vulnerable or threatened, we’re leaning into them and showing ourselves, each other, and our community what’s possible.
TL:DR? Nurture your customers, provide comfort or levity where appropriate, demonstrate value in the face of vulnerability and endear yourself to your people. It’s a long game, but we’re right here with you.