Which Marketing Channels Are Customers Responding to During COVID-19?


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There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has destroyed many lives and livelihoods, and it continues to do so in communities across the globe. While it is true that the full implications of this pandemic are still uncertain, its economic consequences have been significant.

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected customer sensibilities and how they respond to marketing campaigns, across the different marketing channels. For business owners who are thinking about how to adapt during these challenging times, it is crucial to understand how to adjust your marketing activities and messaging to customers accordingly.

In this article, we will outline how B2B (business-to-business) businesses and B2C (business-to-consumer) businesses can adapt your marketing strategy, so you can continue to thrive during these challenging times.

The Shift to Digital Marketing Channels

Events, conferences, and out-of-home advertising have slumped to a new low, accelerated by the need for social distancing and the imposition of quarantines across the globe. More so than over, businesses are seeing the importance of investing in their digital marketing strategy to reach their customers better.

Businessman infront of a screen
There is now a big business shift into digital marketing channels.
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For sales-heavy businesses that rely on in-person meetings or demonstrations, there is a need to transition to digital sales channels. As you can no longer sell in person, the importance of digital account-based marketing and lead generation cannot be overstated.

In the B2C space, local businesses have also adapted and began brand-building processes. For example, many gyms have been uploading workout routines for free online, and many creative brands have been posting free tutorials online to build customer loyalty when it is no longer to provide free trials in person.

Investing In Content Marketing

As many companies cut their ad costs, they have re-diverted budgets into content marketing to reach their customers. Content marketing refers to the creating and sharing of digital materials, such as videos, blogs and social media.

During these challenging times, companies should focus on providing value to their clients and minimise any hard-selling tactics. Content marketing is the perfect channel to do this.

The benefits of content marketing are also varied and multi-faceted. For B2B businesses, you can build quality content to benefit your customers, building goodwill and brand loyalty. But there are also tangible benefits can you can use this opportunity to scale up your future email prospecting lists.

For example, Leadpages created a toolkit with quality, niche resource to benefit their customers, such as creating an SEO checklist for small businesses, and then ask if customers would like to join their marketing newsletter. Or you can create a free directory like Traktion to provide a useful index of free marketing tools for business owners and digital marketers.

Screengrab of a content marketing tool
An example of content marketing: Creating a directory of free tools that your customers would need.
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Getting Your Messaging Right

It is also vital that companies adjust the messaging of their marketing campaigns during these times. Be sure to refine your communications such that you do not add further stress onto your customers.

For B2B businesses, this means no hard-selling, the minimising of cold-calls and writing succinctly and with clarity. Always prioritise quality over quantity; if you know your email will not add value to your customers, do not send it.

In the B2C space, businesses need to assure customers that their goods are produced in hygienic conditions, and stores that are re-opening have fine-tuned their social distancing measures and have protection for their staff. Companies have also adapted their advertising mottos and marketing communications. For example, KFC’s “finger-licking’ good” tagline contradicts advice to stop touching your face, and the company has adapted accordingly.

Girl on mobile phone, with mask.
Ensure your marketing tone of voice is neutral and confident, and written in a succinct way with clarity.
© Photo by Unsplash.

Whether you are a B2C or a B2B company, you need to learn to incorporate the right messaging into your a customised content marketing strategy for your marketing mix to ensure your company’s success during these hard times.

Using Social Media Ads

People of all ages are turning to social media to stay connected with their loved ones during the pandemic, or to simply pass the time. Facebook has reported a 70% increase in usage since the crisis started.

While some companies have chosen to pause their Facebook ads during these times as they re-evaluate their marketing strategy, it has never been a better time for companies to run ads. The increase in supply, as explained above and the massive fall in demand as more prominent companies slash their advertising budgets, means that the unit advertising costs have fallen to an all-time low.

Many B2C companies are experiencing outsized return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) due to the combination of these supply-and-demand factors.

There is an abundance of opportunity in Facebook ads for B2B and B2C businesses right now.
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Do keep in mind that Facebook is currently manually reviewing all new ads, as well as all ad copy changes. With this in mind, if you would like to update your Facebook ads, you can either duplicate your current ads or change your ad copy and wait for the review with the original copy of your ad still running.

Tapping into Paid Search

As far as online shopping goes, Google Trends has also reported that e-commerce activities have been experiencing a surge in search traffic for consumer goods. The fields of home entertainment and gaming are skyrocketing right now.

If you are planning on incorporating paid search into your marketing mix, make sure avoid any keywords relating to COVID-19 or Coronavirus. Google is rightfully verifying those ads to ensure they do not contain false or harmful information.

In Conclusion: Inspire Confidence with your Customers

COVID-19 appears that it will stay with us for quite some time, and companies need to adapt their marketing channels accordingly for the long-haul. The heightened sense of uncertainty means that businesses need to inspire confidence with your customers, helping them understand through your messaging that your company cares about your employees’ health as much as your customers’ welfare.

Ensure your existing marketing team understands the changes in marketing trends. If your team does not have the right expertise for digital marketing channels such as content marketing or paid search, consider hiring remote marketing specialists to bolster your current set-up.

Man working on laptop
Companies need to carefully review their marketing strategy in terms of their marketing mix, tone of voice, and team set-up, in order to ensure your business survives and thrives through these challenging times.
© Photo by Unsplash.

If you can get these adjustments right, your customers should stay right by your side for this long, uncertain ride.

Saher Shodhan
As CEO and co-founder of Traktion, I am passionate about helping businesses scale with the right growth talent. I have 5+ years scaling marketplace businesses across 3 countries, having started my career as part of the Uber launch team in India. I am also the co-founder of P2P events platform Lemonade.


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