Marketing Your Small Business Through COVID-19

Published: 19 March 2020

In this highly competitive day and age, a sound marketing strategy and a well thought through marketing budget are key to making your business stand out from the crowd.

But what happens when there is simply no money left to spend? COVID-19 means fewer customers which means businesses really need to lock down on their costs.

Well, this is when it starts to get interesting.

As a Marketer, I live by these four rules:

  1. Know your customer.
  2. Make sure communication is clear and consistent.
  3. Ensure the message is always relevant and authentic.
  4. Spend money on marketing efforts that are trackable and show a real return on investment.

So now that rule number 4 is out the window, we need to rely much more heavily on rules 1, 2 and 3. Let’s break it down a bit more:

1. Know your customer

A brand is only as strong as the customer need that it serves. Possibly the most important job that we have as marketers and business owners today, is to identify and drill down into what exactly it is that our customer wants, not what we think they want. We call it Customer Insight. Without knowing what your customers want, you run the risk of wasting money on marketing efforts, products and even services that they don’t need or want. As a Small Business Owner, you are well placed to speak to your customers directly, find out what they want and need from you, and how best you can serve them. Your customer insight is your secret weapon.

2. Make sure communication is clear and consistent

I like to think of a brand in the same way I would a human. Brands have their own unique identity, personality, tone of voice, values etc. In the same way you wouldn’t trust a human who constantly juggles their tone of voice, changes their personality and flick flacks on their values, consumers react the same way to brands. If you haven’t already, now is the time to decide how you want your brand to live and breathe in the world. What personality do you want to portray? What are your brand values? What is your unique tone of voice? Once this is locked down you are well on your way to clear, consistent and trustworthy communication.

3. Ensure the message is always relevant and authentic

It’s all good and well to have a cool brand personality and wicked tone of voice, but if you’re not communicating these in a way that is relevant and authentic to your consumer, you’re dead in the water. Think of it as an equation. Customer Insight (something you know to be true about a customer’s need or want) + Clear and Consistent Brand Communication = Relevant and Authentic Messaging for your consumer. If you get this equation right, you are set to stand out of the crowd and keeping your customers loyal.

During this unprecedented time, it is essential that we stop and take a look at how we are communicating with our customers. Are we clear, consistent, relevant and authentic; or are we muddying their already very muddied waters? When the dust settles and COVID-19 is behind us, make sure you’re one of the brands that retained attention and, ultimately, loyalty.

Opinion Piece By: Cate Williams, Retail Capital Marketing Manager