Marketing During COVID: Flexibility, Reflection, and Rethinking What’s Possible
When you can’t go out, it’s hard to bring customers in.
Nothing has put businesses to the test like the COVID-19 pandemic. The global issue popped up suddenly, forcing everyone – including marketers – to adapt to massive changes at a rapid pace.
Seemingly overnight, business owners were asking:
- How do we make up for lost trade shows?
- How can we reach our clients?
- What’s possible during a pandemic?
March changed things for businesses and marketers, and some of those changes will be permanent.
Tips for Marketing in COVID Times and beyond
Momentum Marketing Consultants felt these shifts right along with our clients, and now we’re sharing some examples of our work to help you think about how to continue marketing during COVID.
Flexibility is important, always, but in these socially-distancing times, rolling with the punches is essential. In this pandemic season, all plans change. Reminding your team that shifts will happen and then reinforcing the importance of maintaining a positive attitude goes a long way toward creating successful events and marketing plans during COVID.
Case Study: Engaging Women Virtual Summit
In the Month of May, Momentum was asked to assist Saint Mary’s WEI program in launching the Engaging Women Virtual Summit. The event, which normally took place on campus, couldn’t go on without going online.
Finding the right platform for the summit, adapting the itinerary to an online format, brainstorming ways to keep attendees engaged, and working through technical testing was all part of the challenge.
There were setbacks. There were switches. But more than 200 women from across the country attended and enjoyed the event. In the end, the college was able to call it a success.
RETHINK WHAT’S POSSIBLE – IT CAN BE DONE
The pandemic restrictions make it easy to reflect on what you can’t do. No in-person trade shows. Reduced networking events. Fewer ways to make personal connections with prospects and current customers.
It’s hard to flip the switch and think about what’s possible during COVID, but letting your team’s visionaries run wild can bring about new ideas with big returns.
Case Study: Heart Beat of the City
As a digital marketing agency, we were initially unsure of how to handle requests for help with fundraising, but as events turned into cancellations, we knew we needed to pull out some creative thinking to help clients adapt to the times. Improvise don’t compromise.
Heart City Health’s annual Health Week was an annual fundraiser that was massively impacted (read: canceled) by COVID. At least, it was at first. But after some brainstorming, Momentum presented a virtual, drive-in concert fundraiser called Heart Beat of the City.
The goal was to raise awareness for Heart City Health, give Elkhart (a city with a 100-year history in music) a COVID-safe music fest when all other such events were scratched, and raise some funds for Heart City Health.
In the end, the drive-in attendance was fair, with several dozen vehicles attending during the evening. Online, however, live streamers tuned in on more than 1,300 devices, and local leaders were enthusiastic and moved to donate in quantities that made Heart Beat of the City an annual event and a resounding success.
It couldn’t have happened without “what’s possible” thinking.
MAKE APPLICATION – REFLECT ON RESULTS
Unprecedented times are becoming…well, precedented. We’re not sure when things will go back to normal, which means we have to think about the chance that these unusual marketing events and tactics will have to happen again.
Improving your work can’t happen without reflecting on your results.
After pulling off a COVID campaign, breathe a sigh of relief, pat yourself on the back, and start diving into the data.
Post Project Reflection Questions
- What went well?
- What would you change?
- How did your actual audience match or differ from your expectations?
- Was the budget correct for this event/campaign? How would it need to adjust before the next one?
- What could you add or take away from the event/campaign to make it better? What tools, time, or resources do you need to make that happen?
These questions can help your team and your client review past projects and improve future plans. Once you’ve reflected on your results, you can discuss things like the ideal project timeline and anticipate what other campaigns or events might need a COVID-safe adjustment. With your mind on ROI, you can prove your value and plan for even more fruitful future success.
Prepping for a Digital Trade Show
Completing and reflecting on two COVID-specific projects has prepared us for this third one. We were able to present a digital trade show idea to a client several months ago, giving us ample time to collect content and create a digital marketing plan to advertise the event.
We’re still working through logistics:
-How to train sales reps to present digitally
-Navigating clear ways for attendees to connect with sales teams
-Keeping IT up-to-date on our plans
-Making the event special for viewers
As part of the team gets the photos, videos, and digital ad audiences ready, others are focusing on user experiences like how to conquer Zoom fatigue and treat our pre-registered attendees with some Doordashed doughnuts and coffee.
You Can Make it Happen
COVID is here, and we don’t know when it’s going away. That’s the dose of reality we’re all swallowing as we make our 2021 marketing plans. Good marketing teams have the unique balance of recognizing reality while visualizing potential. With flexibility, creativity, and reflection, you can still make an impact with marketing – especially digitally.
Share how you’re adapting to the pandemic and keep pressing on toward what’s possible.