No marketing is not a solution either

Times of crisis for us all. The Corona crisis is not only slowing down the economy, it is bringing many business activities to a standstill. Does marketing still play a major role in times of securing our existence? In which direction is the company’s engine turning?

Corona demands quick action

Solutions are needed. Not in a week, not tomorrow – but today. Where familiar work processes are no longer possible, where business channels no longer exist, companies are forced to create new business models. For many companies, this rapid changeover is almost impossible. Old structures are too entrenched, digital solutions appear expensive and necessary know-how is not available. What follows is a great uncertainty paired with fear. How can I make up the missing turnover? How can I secure my existence? What does the future look like? How do I reach my customers?

 

You can’t go back

The fact is that the current crisis is causing long-term changes in the market. Lost sales cannot be recovered to 100%. What is feasible, however, is to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic on business activities. What is required here are clever measures and a responsible approach to the situation. The challenge is not only to adapt the distribution channels and maintain communication with the target group, but above all to strike the right note. Existential issues are currently coming to the fore. The Corona crisis also moves us emotionally and this also affects our consumer behaviour. Priorities are shifting and the question arises, what is the current significance of my product for the consumer? What contribution do I make?

 

Seeking support and giving support

A feeling that everyone probably has right now is insecurity. Nobody really knows what is right or wrong at the moment. We orientate ourselves on the behaviour of others and adhere to recommendations for action which are adapted on a daily basis. So what are consumers looking for? Being a part of a community and not beeing alone gives us security. We want to be connected with others and we usually achieve this through communication and human encounters. Due to the current security-related restrictions in our lives and the resulting lack of contact, people are looking for new ways to create a sense of community. In this case, we see developments that, for example, social media channels like TikTok are experiencing a real boom. Why? Users can challenge each other, give feedback and, most importantly, share how they are managing the current crisis. If we see that others deal positively with the situation, it inspires us, it infects us and gives us support.

 

We stand on one level

What is the significance of these findings for marketing? It is clear that commercial advertising is currently receding into the background. Edeka uses commercials to say thank you, the Coca Cola Company is completely stopping all commercial advertisements. Companies must put themselves on an equal footing with their consumers now and create proximity. What counts now is the message. Companies should use their social media activities to make their communication as personal as possible. Addressing the target audience directly is more important than ever. In addition to a clear statement and positioning the company in the crisis, regular updates from the company should be published to inform customers about how to reach the company and what it offers. The story function at Instagram can play a major role here. Customers can be asked to support the company. At the same time, question rounds or surveys can help to create a sense of unity. So in times of Corona, marketing no longer means the perfect product presentation, but focusing on crisis management – together with the customers.

 

Knowing how to use time well

However, the fact that such a stress test not only brings major challenges but also negative consequences becomes clear when we take a look at internal processes. The deceleration of business operations should be used intensively to rethink our own marketing strategy. The target group can be closely observed and analyzed. At the same time, companies should reflect on current developments and thus learn from their own handling of the crisis situation in order to be better prepared for the future. Those who use the current situation to set up or optimise internal crisis management will emerge stronger from this period. It is important that we do not lapse into paralysis of action despite the limitations, but rather present ourselves on the market as attentive and responsible players who are still capable of acting and who can cope with the situation together with their customer group. This is the only way we will get away with a black eye – but we will continue.