Where Does Your Business Fall in the Marketing During Covid Quadrant Right Now?

How should we be marketing during COVID-19? The difficulties and uncertainty created by the Coronavirus crisis are unprecedented. Many businesses are struggling to survive, and marketing may not be a top concern.

Marketing During COVID = Communicating During Crisis

It’s important to think of marketing during COVID as communicating during a crisis. Crisis communiation is key for helping to get through it all in the best way possible. The very first marketing action any business should be doing at this time is reviewing ALL existing communications for visual and verbal impact. The words we use and the images we choose may be interpreted very differently now than they were before the Coronavirus.

Take a look at every communication point through the current lens. This  includes your website, on site signage, email (including those auto-replies), ad campaigns, social media, etc. Are you are communicating with compassion? Be sure to remove any elements that make your brand appear tone-deaf to the current situation.

And of course, any new communications you are creating must be carefully scrutinized. Whether you’re supporting new offerings, providing outreach, etc., don’t just push work out frantically. That’s important during normal circumstances, and it’s even more critical now.

Marketing During COVID IS Good Business

According to Forbes, advertising is one of the first areas cut during a recession. Yet research shows that companies who cut their ad spend during these times typically see significant sales decline. These companies also take much longer to recover.

So while cutting marketing efforts is the common knee-jerk reaction, Forbes actually recommends doing the opposite. In fact, when it comes to Marketing During Covid, Forbes recommends companies:

  • spend more than your marketshare
  • invest in new ways to reach your customers
  • dial up creativity

We understand that may feel counterintuitive – not to mention that businesses and their employees are overwhelmed with all sorts of new difficulties right now. That’s why we created the “Marketing During COVID Demand-Delivery Matrix” to help brands navigate the Coronavirus crisis.

Marketing During COVID: The Demand-Delivery Matrix

In our digitally connected world, communication with customers is not only possible, it is vital. Marketing during COVID is vital to helping your business survive the crisis. It is also vital to helping you help others survive as well. We’ve all been seeing (and hopefully feeling) #InThisTogether. And since marketing is just communication, actually being in this together relies upon these efforts as never before in our lifetimes.

The Demand-Delivery Matrix has four quadrants:

  • High Demand / Easy Delivery
  • High Demand / Difficult Delivery
  • Low Demand / Easy Delivery
  • Low Demand / Difficult Delivery

Determining where your business falls in the Demand-Delivery Matrix should help inform your marketing during COVID efforts.

High Demand / Easy Delivery:
WANT and CAN EASILY GET Product / Service

Why High / Easy?

Your offering is more in demand right now. Perhaps it fills a temporary situational need or competitive offerings are less available. One example: people always want coffee, and right now grocery store coffee brands are much easier to get than coffee house lattés. Whether its one of these reasons or for any other reason, you may be wondering why marketing during COVID matters since you’re already delivering at a high level.

Why Marketing Matters Now:

“Brands that fail to serve the greater good could lose customer loyalty.” (AdAge, 03/27/20) People are noticing the brands that make a difference right now. To help your brand command post-crisis loyalty, don’t just make a profit – make a difference. And have your marketing amplify awareness of the difference you are making. That way, when we get through the Coronavirus crisis (sooner rather than later, please please please), your brand will stand out in a memorable way. Otherwise, if people are only buying you because of commodity status (ie, they need anyone who makes or does what you make or do), you’ll remain a mere commodity – where lowest price may be your only competitive advantage.

How To Do It:

Help others. And let people know how you’re helping, without patting yourself on the back. Whether it’s helping your own employees, your community, or even other businesses, be sure to include that messaging in your social media, digital marketing, PR, email, and other channels.

High Demand / Difficult Delivery:
WANT and CAN’T EASILY GET Product / Service

Why High / Easy?

Your offering is always in demand BUT it is difficult or impossible to deliver right now. That may be due to supply shortage, delivery channel difficulties, forced brick-and-mortar closure, etc. This quadrant of the Demand-Delivery Marketing Matrix can include businesses ranging from toilet paper manufacturers to hair salons.

Why Marketing Matters Now:

Even if you enjoyed strong loyalty prior to the Coronavirus, this pandemic is bringing unprecedented levels of change to our modern world. Simply expecting customers to return after the crisis may be just a hope: after all, as people get used to life without your offering, they may find themselves evaluating the need for it in their lives.

How To Do It:

To maintain those valuable customer relationships, stay top of mind in a helpful, non-salesy way. Whether it’s simply staying in touch with “we miss you too” social posts and emails, offering virtual expertise via online classes and live streaming sessions, or developing alternate delivery options such as mailing DIY kits, brands can make this time count by using marketing channels that best support your approach.

Low Demand / Easy Delivery:
CAN’T USE but CAN EASILY GET Product / Service

Why High / Easy?

Your offering lacks awareness or temporary situational need because the crisis makes it harder to see or interact with and/or financial worries preclude purchase. Car dealerships are an example of a business currently in the Low Demand / Easy Delivery quadrant.

Why Marketing Matters Now:

Most likely you are doing your best to develop alternate offerings to spark demand. Marketing during COVID should ensure you get the messaging out there (and expand beyond your existing customers). Even if alternate offerings are not possible for your business, you don’t want to be forgotten about.

How To Do It:

Targeted digital advertising, social media and email marketing can alert current and potential customers about your new offering. And whether or not there is a new offering to tout, now may be a good time to invest your efforts in thought leadership PR – so that when your market is once again ready, you are remembered as the expert source.

Low Demand / Difficult Delivery:
CAN’T USE and CAN’T EASILY GET Product / Service

Why High / Easy?

The Coronavirus crisis makes buying, reaching and/or utilizing your offering extremely difficult or impossible. Sporting event arenas and trade show venues are two prime examples.

Why Marketing Matters Now:

When the crisis is over, people will be loyal to brands who helped make a difference. So maintaining an emotional connection to current and potential customers (and possibly to the public at large) can be crucial to future business.

How To Do It:

Even if you can’t sell right now, you can build equity by pitching in and providing unexpected assistance. (The conversion of New York’s famed Javits Center exhibition hall to a temporary COVID hospital is a stellar example of “how to do it” for brands in the Low Demand / Difficult Delivery quadrant. This will now become part of their DNA, and will make brands and consumers feel very good having / attending trade shows and events there.) Stay in touch with your customers to maintain connection – even if you can’t do something as grandiose as the Javits initiative, you can provide messaging around team status updates. You can probably also provide offers to help in some way. Companies in this quadrant should also consider investing in thought leadership PR and upgrading their brand foundation – so when the market is ready for your return, you will be too.

Marketing during normal times is not easy. Marketing during COVID is even more challenging. But the brands who do the right thing during this difficult time, including employing the right communication strategies, will have the best chances to emerge as strong as possible – possibly even stronger than they were before. We hope the attached Demand-Delivery Marketing Matrix helps. And if you want more information on how you can help your brand connect with your audience during the Coronavirus crisis, this article can help.

How should brands be marketing during COVID?

This matrix can help – feel free to print and share it as a reference.