In my role as Head of Marketing at AmaZix, I help blockchain projects to get most from their marketing and PR activities, and to advise them on how best to handle unexpected events as they develop. Right now, the general feeling of anxiety and uncertainty that surrounds Coronavirus has led a number of clients to ask me: “Should we stop marketing now and wait for better times?”
The first thing to know and understand is what marketing is and what it is not. Many people confuse marketing and sales, thinking that they are interchangeable terms or the same thing. While sales is, as you might expect, about making sales, marketing is about building relationships. It’s not a magic button or a quick-fix shortcut. Relationships take time. Relationships take work.
One can’t go out, approach a stranger in a street and kiss them straight away. You have to take the time to build a relationship with that person first. It’s the exact same thing with marketing.
Now let’s examine what so many companies are currently doing in response to the pandemic: putting all of their marketing plans on hold. Perhaps they’re a little bit twitchy or nervous. Perhaps they’re worried about saying or doing the wrong thing in challenging times. Perhaps they simply think that people will be too distracted to listen or to care and that their efforts and funds would be wasted.
Meanwhile, their potential clients and customers will be mostly confined to their homes, spending more time online than ever before. That means more time on social media, and more time looking for anything to grab their attention, educate them or to simply make some kind of connection. Across the world, locked-down people want to engage more online to compensate for the isolation and loneliness.
Far from being a bad time to reach out, current circumstances have created a unique opportunity for everyone to reach out and build relationships. Now is a singular moment in which people’s time and attention are available like never before. There are also fewer brands to compete with, since many are making the mistake of ceasing their marketing activities.
The COVID-19 situation will, unfortunately, likely last for a few more months at least. The companies which implement a solid marketing plan over that period, who create relevant, valuable and useful content that speaks to their existing and potential clients alike, will be the great winners.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou
If you do everything right, if you remain close to your existing clients and initiate contact with new audiences, if you provide value and engage with people, and if you stay relevant and endure through these hard times along with them, they will not forget you.
When the virus becomes history and things start settling down, when clients start getting back to their normal lives, and when all your competitors start to think about restarting their marketing again, they’ll already be a distant memory. You will be the one with that key relationship, and you will be able to lean in for that metaphorical kiss — without fear of receiving a slap in the face.
You can either pause marketing and lose valuable time and an exceptional opportunity, or you can choose to take advantage of the situation that has laid itself out before you.
As a robust planner, I recommend that companies now consider their COVID-19 strategy in tandem with their post-Covid strategy. You may want to revisit your offers, pricing and your whole marketing plan. Much of it may no longer be relevant, or may require extensive and fundamental adjustments.
To succeed while everyone around you dithers and delays, get prepared and get working. You might even use the time and bulk produce content that can be released later.
By planning ahead, working hard and doing more than the competition, you will have a much higher chance of success in the longer term.
Now get your name out there and build those relationships.