Marketing Management In the Times Of COVID-19 With other arms of the business getting strapped, marketing becomes the foremost important factor to keep the brand running.

By Kabir Siddiq

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The United Nations had stated that the Indian economy could shrink by 1 per cent in 2020 due to the global pandemic with national borders being closed and supply chains being compromised. The imposition of social distancing has led to restricted manpower. In such a crisis, it has become difficult for businesses all over the world to function smoothly. Most have taken drastic measures to deal with the financial hit, others have found ways to cope with the situation. While one might think that marketing in the time of COIVD-19 seems like a bad idea, one might want to consider the quote, "In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity."

Strategy based on spends capacity

With other arms of the business getting strapped, marketing becomes the foremost important factor to keep the brand running.

Before initiating or blocking any marketing strategies, it is imperative to keep a track of the revenue and assess all fixed and variable expenses. This gives an idea of where and how much room there is to stay afloat and sustain till the crisis is more under control. Accordingly, a marketing strategy can be developed and set into motion. Remember marketing is what leads to sales.

Move with the times

With the buying power of the general public going through curves, the focus of the business should be less on tracking end funnel conversions, and rather focusing on brand presence methods. This is the time to shift with the trends and adapt newer means of communication. In short, don't be keen to sell but rather to listen and reciprocate with your audience.

The economy has turned into a digital marketplace. It has been marked that India's Internet consumption rose by 13 per cent during the lockdown. Which makes sense, since stepping out has become close to a taboo, going digital is the only way for the population to stay connected.

So, with this, a business could gain more by following the mass and trying out new tactics to market themselves online.

Listen to what consumers want

Direct consumer marketing is the need of the hour. Being able to connect with your consumers will help build a trustworthy relationship. Share content that is engaging and eases your target group in this lockdown period. This will help gain shareability and also garner consumer interaction.

Purchases might have been affected but that does not mean consumers will stop searching for value. It could be in the form of either a discount or service. Offering pre-booking facilities is one such example. Although, one must be sure that correct information is communicated to the end customers regarding delivery timelines, stock availability, etc.

As this contagion has raised safety concerns, highlighting key factors of how your brand is taking measures to take care of these issues will help gain trust among potential customers.

Ask for what is needed

Another way to implement your future strategies is by asking the people what their opinions are. Understand their pressure points, ask for genuine feedback on your brand/product, get a fair knowledge of what they are looking for when they turn to your brand. And there are multiple ways where such information can be gathered from—polls, surveys, feedback forms, etc. The information will help you gain insight into what the current consumer psyche is and how your brand can change to suit their future requirements.

Be ready for post COVID-19

Now, how long this nuclear winter will stay is unpredictable. And even more unpredictable, is how the markets will look like in the post COVID-19 period. Many brands will have to change archaic communication techniques and be quick to adopt new methods. Analyzing "the now' and "the next' is crucial. Having a foresight on how the consumer landscape is changing is imperative.

One thing is clear that the market scenario will not remain the same as it was earlier. Brands and marketers will have to re-evaluate their funnels and look at opportunities with an open mind. As audiences are moving to newer platforms, so should be done by the businesses. It's more about finding opportunities and making the best of it.

Kabir Siddiq

Founder & CEO, SleepyCat

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