Right now, growth marketers are focused on how to navigate the COVID situation in an ethical way—one that will still keep businesses moving forward. While many companies may be taking a loss at this particular moment, we can think of this time as an investment in your client base—and while that loyalty may not have a direct ROI right now, you will continue to grow if your brand is being talked about in a positive way during this time. Here are our experts’ best tips for making the best decisions for your company at this time.
Some businesses are ramping up right now—especially eCommerce businesses in the health and wellness space. Everyone is understandably interested in increased health and immunity at the moment, so vitamins, supplements, and home workout equipment can thrive at this particular moment—not to mention grocery and restaurant delivery services.
“Other businesses are going to cut spend, but now’s the time to differentiate yourself,” says Sophia Eng, the Director of Growth at MarketerHire, who has been the driving force behind the revenue and user growth at InVision, Autodesk, and Workday, as well as her own consulting agency using buyer psychology as the backbone of her strategies and insights. “Everyone else is freaking out about that and letting off the gas pedal, so if your competitors are slowing down, then that’s the opportunity to outshine them and do better marketing.”
If your business isn’t a great pet for the current moment, that doesn’t mean you should pull back on marketing entirely, however. “Good businesses make bets to grow, but there's a time and a place for that,” says Trevor Sookraj, a growth marketer with 5 years’ experience at companies like Shopify Plus, Clearbit, and Indio Technologies who runs Divisional, which helps startups build out their marketing engines by experimenting with multiple channels. “Consider ending any ongoing experiments like new channels, and focus on core competencies. If this includes paid spend, try to reduce budgets gradually by 15-20% per day to avoid affecting the algorithm and re-entering the ad set into the learning phase. Turning off marketing entirely and going into crisis mode will make it significantly harder to restart marketing post-crisis.”
Right now is the time to work with especially smart, careful marketers who understand how to frame your brand in the best light during this especially sensitive moment. “There's a fine line between exploiting COVID and showing awareness for it,” Sookraj says. “Be very careful with the copy and creative you're using, so as not to rub anyone the wrong way.”
No one wants to be sold to right now, so your sales team is going to have a harder time booking demos at this particular moment. “During COVID, try to lead with value and establish your brand as a thought leader in the space,” Sookraj says. “I work with one company in the Recruiting Tech space—instead of asking for demos, we're sharing resources from other companies and recruiters on how to handle COVID. This creates a warm relationship and builds our top of funnel, which we can convert post-pandemic.”
Whether or not your company can directly help COVID efforts, offering free services during an economically troubled time is a good idea. “Companies like Loom are extending free trials, removing limits on recordings for free plans, and discounting paid plans,” Sookraj says, “This will create a surge in leads and users in the short-term, whom you can market to during COVID—and convert once the crisis subsides.”
This is always a good idea, of course—but it’s true more now than previously. Offering free concepts and solutions is a great move at this particular moment, both for generally increasing good-human vibes and getting some great, well-earned PR.
One great example of this at this particular moment: Sweetgreen, which is delivering free meals to hospital workers, an act that won’t be forgotten when this is all over.
“Word-of-mouth marketing is the best type of marketing—leverage that right now as people are talking about coronavirus,” Eng says. “For instance, Khan Academy recently released a simple Google Doc, nothing fancy or branded, that broke down a good homeschooling schedule for different age groups. It was beautiful—all of these parents are understandably freaking out, and this is a very simple, actionable solution to give parents peace of mind.”
Sookraj agrees. “Try to lead with value and show kindness wherever possible,” he says. “It's brands that are selfless in times of crisis that will emerge at the top.”