Global communities are constantly taking measures to mitigate the negative consequences of Covid-19. During this time, organisations, such as multinational and transnational corporations, are playing key roles in alleviating people and aiding them in adapting to the rapid changes demanded of them. Rafid Zaman Khan, a management trainee at Unilever Bangladesh Limited, stated, "With the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in tremendous shifts in the lifestyle of people and their media consumption habits, it has become common for them to resort to spending longer hours online. Despite other challenges faced by many businesses, one positive avenue that has opened up for them is the way they can reach their consumers."
This is the reason why digital marketing has become crucial to reach out to the target audience of companies worldwide. With more and more digital presence of consumers, marketing through this platform is the primary answer to tackle this pandemic. Rafid has further talked about how several start-ups and online businesses can also extend their presence to communities. "Through engaging and informational content in addition to their brand-centric communications, popular brands both in Bangladesh and abroad are ensuring they constantly spread positivity among their consumers; moreover, the situation has also given chance for many emerging start-ups to come to the limelight (such as e-commerce sites, clothing brands, catering services, creative agencies etc.) and spread word about their services better," he said.
To say digital marketing is a unique opportunity for organisations during Covid-19 is an understatement. It has become the one powerful weapon that will make or break businesses. So here are five ways businesses can adopt digital marketing to the utmost advantage of both them and the communities.
Addressing customer concerns
No one really cares about a firm's unique innovation or structural changes during this pandemic unless the business communicates them to its stakeholders about how these alterations are for the best of them. As an increasing number of people are spending time online now, organisations have the unique opportunity to present themselves in these places and even find the next potential customer. And there is no doubt that numerous companies worldwide are using digital media as their weapon but the determining factor for success is the tone of their content. People are tensed and more anxious about the current scenario, so if the message sounds thrilling or exciting, it will put customers off as they will not be able to relate to it. The messages should sound empathetic and supportive in a way that lets people know that there is someone by their side. Furthermore, any hint of social gathering must be avoided. Figurative languages like "get in touch" or "work hand-in-hand" can be deemed inappropriate and deeply scrutinized by consumers.
Carefully demonstration of brand image in communication
Amidst thousands of advertisements and marketing campaigns that people see every day, it is very difficult to retain each and every single information. Every organisation has a differentiating factor that shapes its brand image. So, the only way to secure a place in the hearts of consumers is by uplifting the distinct features of organisations and boldening them. It is time to reflect on the core values, principles and purpose-driven brands. In this way, people will be able to relate more with the amalgamation of letters and colours that business put forward and comprehend them as meaningful messages of care and compassion.
Active communication with stakeholders
It is very easy to go off track and lose focus on the way forward but companies fail to realise that breaking communication will lead to heightened confusion, chaos and distrust. Additionally, lack of communication will prevent idea generation and creativity to tackle the problems that will continuously arise with the lockdown. Companies have to keep in touch with its suppliers, employees and customers about their present situation, their future plans and how being there for each other matters. Email marketing is a key tool to keep in touch with stakeholders. Small acts of kindness and reassurance through content marketing in email bodies will strengthen relationship. Social media marketing can be adopted to increase awareness about charitable activities. Websites must be redesigned to cater to present sensitivity; the landing page must embody supportive messages and a dedicated blog section can be structured to showcase varying actions and solutions the companies have pioneered to benefit society in a directionally positive way.
Highlighting how brands can help
People naturally become very uneasy during health crises. So inevitably they start caring less about marketing activities that businesses conduct. Hence, it is imperative that the content is relevant and engaging. Highlighting the positives of purpose-driven brands and how they can add value to people's lives is significant. Every message should have a purpose and should be delivered with a specific goal in mind.
It is natural to roll out a string of content during a pandemic to form a concrete emotional attachment with consumers so that they return for purchase even after everything becomes normal. But one of the key elements to remember is that everyone cannot be the target audience. Organisations must be well aware of their target group and tailor specific and relevant content to their needs. Besides content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) are key tools that can alleviate the response from target groups too. Google Search Console can be used to enhance these functionalities. To determine the success of their campaigns, evaluation of the results must be carried out. This can be done using analytics tools provided by prominent search engines like Google and Bing.
Organisations during COVID-19 are becoming more aware of how important digital marketing is and those who do not have a digital presence are becoming obvious victims of the situation. But with careful relevant content and showing sympathy and concern, businesses have the chance of survival. Sharing and caring is all that matters now. To not become too capital intensive, setting goals by prioritization and assessing outcomes will take organisations miles ahead.
The writer is a third-year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org