With the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus that has swept into Europe, there is no doubt that there will be some disruption to businesses. We don’t fully know exactly how this is going to pan out, but as people in the business community, we should be prepared. There will be costs to look at, but marketing activity should be one that stays constant, or if your business can allow – increase spending. This is likely to be a short-lived problem and you should be planning for the short term, but also when things return to normal.
Here are some of the reasons why:

1. You must communicate with your clients about your plans to deal with any disruption

Even if you are in the business of selling hand sanitiser and toilet roll, then this will have some impact on your supply chain or in the event of a lockdown situation, you might not have all of your team available. Once you have planned how you will manage the situation, you should clearly communicate this to your clients to put their mind at ease that you will still be able to service their needs, or what the disruption may mean for them in the short term.

Make sure you keep to the facts, don’t waffle and be clear with your clients what this means for them.

2. What you are selling may need to change. You’ll need to let your customers know.

Without effective communication – via whatever channel, email, direct mail, social media or phone you must communicate with your clients about what your business is selling at that moment in time. Some of your best product lines may be out of stock due to supply issues. No problem, let your clients know what you have instead – and ramp up the communication to your audience. Keeping sales momentum going at this time is key to making sure that your business remains strong and comes out of the other side.

3. What you are selling or how you sell may need to change in the short/medium term

If the outbreak reaches the point where your customers are not able to come to your premises to buy from you, you’ll need to adapt quickly to make sure that you are able to get to them or you are able to deliver. Don’t assume that your client knows. If you haven’t told them you’ll need to let them know – send an email, promote it on social media. If your budget allows, send a direct mail as well – it’s likely that the mail from other businesses will be reduced in the coming weeks, so your offer is likely to stand out from the crowd in a less busy letterbox.

Some of your weaker competitors will be cutting back across their businesses, including marketing.

4. Some of your competitors will be cutting spending and marketing activity

One of the key reasons to keep your activity going or ramp it up is that some of your weaker competitors will be cutting back across their businesses, including marketing. If they are doing that, it’s likely that they will not make it out of the other side – this leaves a great opportunity for you to pick up customers from these businesses as they fall away. By keeping your marketing going, you show that you will be around for the long haul.

5. You will need to create special offers

In times of crisis, businesses and consumers are likely to want to reduce their spend. It is imperative to make sure that they keep spending what budget they have with you. Make special offers for existing clients only – make sure that they feel special and wanted by you. Once you have crafted your offers, produce regular communications and get them out there, and follow them up with your sales team, if you have one.

6. Face to face selling might not be possible for a while

If your business relies on face to face selling and movement of people is restricted, then this might not be possible for a while. If that’s the case, you’ll need to think fast about how you want your customers to buy or how you are going to make sure that they are able to buy from you. In the UK – networking events are already being cancelled, if this is a source of leads for your business, how are you going to replace that?

Don’t know where to start? We are here to help.

Hopefully, these points will help you think about how you are able to keep marketing at this time. Take some time to plan out what you need to say immediately to your customers, and work out your plan for the coming months. If you need help, we’d love to assist you with your email, print or online marketing. Contact us here

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Why The Coronavirus Outbreak Means You Should Not Stop Marketing

Written By Adam
Managing Partner at Trident