Marketing re-entry properly is not as easy as it feels it should be. Do you really believe that after a year of lock down you can just open the door and they’ll come? And, when people do feel comfortable re-entering, why should they come to you?
The first premise we need to talk about is the success of your crisis communication. Many of my readers have heard my lectures on Crisis Marketing or read some of my blogs. If not, lets’ start with some of the key bullet points:
- We’re here for you today
- This is how we’re handling your needs
- Transparency with clients, prospects and employees
- Have a plan in place
- We’ll be for you tomorrow
Good communication during a crisis makes a company stand out. It helps inspire. It reassures. You need to explain how you’re handling people’s needs.
A crisis is not the time to stay silent with your employees, customers and other stakeholders. Even if you don’t have all the answers, keeping people looped in is important. That’s because if you don’t let your customers and employees know what you are doing to handle the current crisis, the will wonder if it’s a priority to you at all.
Customers want to know how you are planning to keep them safe. You need to reassure them that you are taking every precaution. Not just during the crisis – but now, we re-enter. People are scared. Your re-entry marketing needs to empathize with their fears….. and re-assure them.
Your employees will want to know what you expect from them. Many businesses are putting together their plans for how employees will return to the office. For many companies, the way they do business will not be the same. Some of the changes we will see are hybrid schedules, a continued reliance on technology, the elimination of corporate travel, downsizing of office footprints. And, what about their vaccinations? Can you require that they be vaccinated?
On line shopping is here to stay
The entire world of retail has changed. We used to buy some things on-line. Now we buy most things on-line. Many long-standing retail stores have closed. Some brands have begun marketing direct to consumer. On-line apparel sales increased by 34 percent; on-line electronics sales rose by 58 percent. According to Supermarket News, online grocery sales have jumped by 300 percent. New services included same day delivery, curbside delivery, touchless delivery. These aren’t going away.
Restaurants. They either adapted – or closed. Those restaurants that had outdoor options or were able to retool to a takeout and delivery format flourished. We saw the rise in meal deliveries with Uber Eats and Delivery Dudes. Will we go back to the old way? Is it like we snap our fingers and voila – everything goes back to the way it was? Or will it take time for consumers to be comfortable with eating inside a restaurant again?
Lot’s of questions. Not a lot of answers. But our businesses need to go on and we still need to market them.
First and foremost, businesses need to get their re-entry plans in place. The same bullet points we used when we drafted our crisis marketing plans are still in play.
The tone of your messaging is still important. Honesty counts, It’s what people ultimately trust. Don’t paint rosier-than-possible pictures. You are setting your customers (and yourself) up for disappointment. Be transparent – leverage credible, reliable sources only. Don’t pass along hearsay. You want people to feel good about your business.
Speed counts – get your plan in place.
Yes, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Eventually, this crisis will pass and our businesses will have adapted to the new normal. But don’t slack off now. As you’re marketing re-entry, remember we are still in a crisis marketing mode. Stick with the program.
Because, in the long run, it’s how we handled the communication during the crisis that customers, prospects and employees will remember.