How your Marketing can Stand Out and Survive during COVID19

We are all in a pandemic, and it blows. People are dying, the economy is volatile, people are worried about getting corona virus resulting in medical debt—or worse—making their preexisting health conditions worse. While it is difficult to address and discuss, it is important to acknowledge as business owners and marketers how we approach marketing during COVID19. We have to understand where humanity is and where their priorities are at this time.

How are you standing out—appropriately—during Covid-19?

Photo by Michael Longmire on Unsplash

Be Price Aware, but not Damaging

Based on the daily news, we are seeing record levels of unemployment. While that is a critical metric of consumer confidence, we also have to take into consideration how even those with money or jobs, while still financially secure, are looking at their funds and being more cautious with their money.

Discounts and special terms are in place for higher priced items like cars, but we aren’t seeing the traction. Usually luxury goods are a good indicator of how serious things are, and even luxury goods are seeing a drastic reduction in conversions.

I have seen many businesses focus heavily on the sale/discount message. It has been a tried and true message—especially in ecommerce—but will is last? For some ecommerce and businesses, it will continue to serve them well, mostly if that has been their go-to strategy and the discounts are already built into their P/L.

However, when you start to discount consistently and heavily over and over again and your business isn’t used to such drastic measures, it is incredibly difficult to get back to the real value of your product in the long-term.

So where does that leave you and your pricing model with discounts?

  • Do
    • Look at value of product selling, what cost of goods and competitive set look like? Yes, run a P/L. Basic task that must be done.
    • Review how long you can keep inventory. Can you sell some of this year’s new release while also keeping some inventory for next year? Some larger businesses may not have the space. Smaller businesses might be able to run a ‘limited edition’ or special promotion, and keep some inventory for a later season when paychecks rebound.
  • Don’t
    • Undercut your prices because of a competitor. While marketers are often active in the ‘price’ part of the 5 Marketing Ps (Product, Price, Promotion, Place, and People), remember bringing in a new customer solely based on a lower price point doesn’t mean you have a new brand loyalist. They might even become frustrated when you try to rebound your prices.
    • Reduce your product’s quality. Sure, you might not be able to serve your weekly wine tasting at your bottle shop due to social distancing and other regulations. However, you can think about how you can empower your customers to stay connected with you be giving them a quality experience in other ways. Now more than ever, people want that comfort of normalcy, even if it’s in a not-so-normal way like a box they can order with information on how to have their own wine tasting, or a 1:1 zoom call with you to walk through the wines for 15 minutes. Everyone stays safe, and you continue your connection with your customers.

Pivot to needs of market

While consumer goods are still in demand, the demand for the type of products has shifted. We are seeing more consumables like wine/beer/alcohol, toilet paper are seeing incredible surges in sales, while higher end products like purses, and clothing are seeing a drastic drop resulting in a market shift.

We are seeing consumers flock to “staples”—paper products and food—and “affordable luxuries”—wine, coffee, in-home entertainment from on-demand shows to puzzles. These two main areas give consumers a sense of control as well as the opportunity to give themselves permission to enjoy their money and life in smaller, perceived micro doses of spending.

What does this mean for you? You have to pivot your products and services based on the consumer market.

Action to take: Identify your key audiences and what products they would identify as ‘staples’ and what would be their ‘affordable luxuries’.

From there, pivot your product offerings positioning to these two areas. This gives consumers permission to purchase.

Example: Say you manufacture luxury soap and shampoo products in small batches. The price might be higher than a $1 store bar of dial. So you position your soap as not only a necessity, but also an ‘affordable luxury’. Your customers still need soap products (especially during a pandemic) but why don’t they enjoy the lavender scent that will also help relax during this stressful time?

3. It’s not all about brand right now, it’s about service, availability

While people are loyal to certain brands, I don’t know many people that wouldn’t grab the available brand of toilet paper if that what was available in the store. This also goes for many consumable goods like soap, wine, coffee ok, I draw the line here, and even clothes (my child as grown through two different sizes in two months. You bet he is wearing whatever we can find at the store or online).

People will be venturing to the stores for their regular products—or staples— but with so many people still adhering to a version of a stay home order, they will also be looking for ways to stay home and still enjoy live—which goes back to affordable luxuries.

If you are able to offer a service that makes your product even more available than before, maybe through delivery or online ordering in areas or ways you haven’t before, than you should see people taking advantage of that.

Example: You could offer kids shoes, and instead of in-store shopping where trying on shoes is part of the shopping process, maybe you mail two sizes with a deposit from the customer instead. Then you pick up the shoes that don’t fit and charge the customer for what works. Now, you can sanitize the shoe that you bring back, and you sold a pair to a parent that desperately needs shoes and was having to let their child wear their parent’s old shoes with tape … seriously, where can I get this service?

With that, you have offered a service while increasing the availability of goods that are needed at this time.

What are you seeing in the marketplace that has transitioned marketing overnight because of COVID19?

Surface RT Review

I’ve had my Surface RT since November 31, 2013 (It was an early Christmas/Birthday present), that’s a little over two months now and I’m really impressed with this tablet.

I had been wanting to get a tablet for entertainment, but couldn’t rationalize dropping hundreds of dollars to add another screen ‘for fun’ in our household. However, the more I learned about the Surface, the more I realized that this tablet might be the investment I’d been waiting on.

The Surface RT really seemed to fit the bill.

How I’ve used the tablet:

Work:

  • Downloading spreadsheets and word docs for presentations
  • Splitting the screen to do an internet search or check analytics to insert onto the spreadsheet
  • Reading up on current events and industry news
  • Editing docs on-the-go

Entertainment:

  • NETFLIX! This was amazing when I was ill in bed.
  • Twitter. I have tried to give up this social media outlet, but I am addicted to the 140-character format.

 

What are some pieces of technology that you can’t seem to live without? How did you choose them?

 

Community that can’t be replaced

I want to take a minute and talk about community. I am a HUGE supporter of the internet and the beauty it brings. The internet has a great way to bring (and keep) people together.

For example, as a person that has moved to several states over the years, I’m able to stay in touch with friends from all over the world because of the internet. I can send emails, view pictures of their trip to China, and they can see our new house in the mountains of NC. This is all wonderful, but at the end of the day it can leave a person feeling alone in a room full of people. You have the world at your fingertips, but without real, tangible community, you are left lonely.

I am NOT saying that you can’t find great community online, but you still need community in real life (IRL). These days, I believe it’s easy to fall into the rhythm of not attending social events and gatherings to play another game of halo, or to hang out and read Wikipedia articles.

But at the end of the day, it comes down to the fact that we need peopleReal, in the flesh, people.

I would be lying if I said my 1-year-old didn’t have anything to do with this post, but in all honesty, he does. We’ve moved and that means finding a NEW church/community home. We desire for Henry to have a community of loving and giving adults and other children he can play and grow with. My son can’t find what he needs on a computer, he needs people. And he taught me that.

Babies, children, teens, and adults all need one another. We need to learn to grieve, love, have fun, and be together as community. We all learn from one another and that doesn’t stop with age.

What is community?

How do you seek out community?

What tips do you have for people new to a community single or otherwise?

Below is a list of IRL events that communities nationwide are hosting:

(in)courage

TED talks– ideas worth spreading

Continuing education

Community Reading programs

 

 

 

 

Pinterest sharing

Since we have blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and more, we have ENDLESS ways to give people insight into our tips and tricks of our daily life/work. Today I don’t want to share anything terribly productive, instead, I’m sharing some of my Pinterest boards that house some of my favorite things. 

For your enjoyment:

Pinterest:

Beer— Here you’ll find some of my favorite beers, from  craft to more mainstream.

My future office— Items for my future dream office/professional style 🙂

Wish List— Need a present idea for me? Check this one out!

What are things you like to share online? Pictures? Life? Achievements?

 

Email Marketing

The next step in my career will be in Email Marketing. During the interview process for this new position, I was asked where I thought this communication tool would be in 5 years. That lead me to think about how organizations need to change to enhance their marketing…

My 3 thoughts:

  • Need heavy segmentation. The time of ‘batch and blast’ has been over. For email marketing to be effective, heavy segmentation is a must. We need to provide our customers a terrific experience right in their inbox. That means providing relevant content, not sending everyone the same thing. Perspective: Just because I walk into the women’s department at Target doesn’t mean I want to see toothpaste and camping gear next to the bras and swimsuits. I want a swimsuit, not see things I don’t want. —Now I know some people argue that I may remember that I need toothpaste when I see it, but that’s a whole other blog post. 
  • Must follow CAN-SPAM. You might be surprised how many people I consult with that are NOT following best practices that support CAN-SPAM laws. To be an effective email marketer, you need to follow best practices that make you not only follow, but surpass the laws in place. Otherwise, your emails can/will be labeled as SPAM and more and more of your communications to your potential and current customers could end in the junk folder. No bueno.
  • Improve promotions. I’m really tired of iPad giveaways. Honestly, you’ll get people entering to win the iPad that aren’t interested in your products or services. Are those people considered ‘engaged’ or even ‘leads’ because they filled out an entry form? Now, if you have an iPad app associated with your organization, or a great mobile site launch, by all means, give away an iPad.  Remember: If it can showcases/enhances/promotes your brand/products/services, do it. If the giveaway outshines, then please don’t waste your time and resources promoting the giveaway.

Where do you think email marketing will need to be in the next 5 years? What can people change or enhance to improve this tool?

 

Boundaries & self censorship


Photo from: Andrew Mccluskey (Flickr)

Boundaries. Important for any relationship, from business to personal, and it’s important to identify them in the beginning and even as you go. But what about boundaries with yourself?

There are people that blog, tweet, or facebook EVERYTHING that is going on in their life. I know, everyone overshares sometimes, but I’m reminded of the quote that I heard so often growing up:

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

When I am going to mention my husband in a blog post, I tell him, give him context, even though I don’t get into anything specific in the post. Why? Because I think it’s important to note that not everyone wants to have their daily life logged online. Their space needs to be respected over my desire to vent.

Besides, I can save that for girl’s wine night right?

A more sensitve example… I’ve volunteered with children in emergency shelters, worked with abused people, and drug addicts. I’m not saying that some of those stories wouldn’t be valuable to share in the right setting, but posted online, for the world to see, isn’t always my place. I think that people need to know that you’re not going to run and post a video, or make a new status update based on the guts they just spilled. It’s already hard to trust people, let’s not make it harder by getting rid of trust in relationships.

4 personal censor rules for deciding NOT to post:

  • Would I be proud, not defensive, about what I posted?
  • Am I up for being held accountable?
  • Would I not want the person or organization to find this out?
  • How would I feel if this table was turned?

Would I be proud, not defensive, about what I posted?Am I up for being held accountable?Would I not want the person or organization to find this out?How would I feel if this table was turned?

If I answer ‘no’ to these items, the post doesn’t happen. Social networks are made to build, maintain, and grown relationships. Not to create burn books. We’re all over high school.

How do you decide what to post & what NOT to post?

Snow, twitter, & MN shuts down

Snow storm 12/15/2010

Today we (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN & the state) have been hit by a storm.

Seriously.

This picture is from my window. The area where the seats and table are located, was clear… yesterday. Now? We’re missing a bench. Oh wait, this was taken around 1pm. It’s almost 7pm as I’m writing this and it’s still snowing.

Makes for a great ‘stay-in-and-hang-out‘ day.

What I love about days like this, is the way that people start to communicate. The mayor of Minneapolis was able to tweet the snow plowing plans, churches posted program changes, and other people talked about their experiences with food being delivered.

We’re able to communicate now, more than we were able to even just 5 years ago. Today, we can communicate for funsafety, tips for moving the snow, and lots of laughs.

And with a news reports like this, we need some laughs!

Minneapolis Mayor Tweets

Do you communicate differently now than you did 3,5, or 10 years ago? If so, what’s different?