The COVID-19 crisis has spread worldwide and will have serious ramifications for businesses of all sizes. That said, the crisis does not need to mean the demise of your business. Could it get very difficult? Absolutely. But, if you continue to make smart marketing decisions and remain agile, your business will be better able to respond to this and future crises and come out stronger.
During any crisis, consumers set stricter priorities to reduce their spending. As sales start to drop, businesses cut costs, reduce prices and postpone new investments. Marketing expenditures are often slashed or efforts suspended across the board — but such indiscriminate cost-cutting is a mistake.
Although it is wise to rein in costs, failing to market during a crisis means a failure in examining and supporting the customers’ core needs. Past crises, such as the burst of the tech bubble in 2000 and the real estate collapse in 2008, offer a wealth of information regarding how consumers respond to turbulent times and how marketing preferences change. In good times business increases in the security industry aren’t caused by our marketing efforts and awesome product offerings alone. They also depend on consumers having disposable income, feeling confident about their future, trusting in the economy and embracing consumption. During difficult times, the message and strategies need to shift to reflect the changing consumer preferences.
The pandemic is having a palpable impact on how customers approach the security industry. Navigating any storm requires a course correction. Now it is necessary to take a deep dive into your market and get to know where they are psychologically and address the success factors. During this time, consistent messaging and creativity becomes even more important. Now, it is about listening to your customer and prospect distress signals, being a beacon and responding with help. Here are some ideas:
- Provide opportunities to listen to your customers. Ask questions about how this crisis is impacting them, specifically as it relates to how they are viewing security technologies and services.
- Evaluate any pre-scheduled marketing, such as Facebook or LinkedIn posts, to ensure they do not appear tone deaf to the crisis or their pain points.
- Use a “stay-in-touch” marketing strategy, and strike a balance between staying top-of-mind without appearing to capitalize on a global health crisis.
- Stay relevant. Talk about what your company is doing to have a positive impact on the community.
- Be empathetic. Marketing does not always have to “sell."
- Communicate clearly about your response to the crisis including any accommodations you are making to meet customer needs.
- Communicate your benefits. Provide consistent positive messaging on how security technologies are essential during a crisis to provide oversight of closed businesses or over vulnerable family members, for example.
- Don't monger. Instead, acknowledge the issues and be sensitive, optimistic and helpful.
- Improve affordability where possible. Introduce a “Fighter Offer” — a lower-priced and streamlined version of your premium offer. Consider lowering up-front costs, or folding in additional offerings.
- Demonstrate you are on the customer’s side by providing cost saving information on products.
- Create helpful content. Whether you write blogs or create videos, keep the focus on helping people.
Yes, times are tough. But we encourage you to stay strong. We realize the stakes are high and many are feeling unmoored right now, and our hearts are with you. Together we can get through this. We wish everyone health and safety during this time.