Marketing your way through the Coronavirus Crisis

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Marketing your way through the Coronavirus Crisis

I’ve got a set of old newspapers from the Second World War in my loft. They’re not originals, they’re from a series reprinted twenty years ago as a weekly compilation called ‘The War Papers’. As an advertising person I was always as interested in the ads they carried as much as the editorial. But why were companies advertising their brands in a wartime economy with rationing and limited buying power? Because the astute brands realised that they’d be ones remembered when better times came along. Consequently most of those advertisements carried brands which would be familiar to you today.

The Coronavirus has changed peoples buying habits, at least for several weeks, maybe for much longer. So, what can a Yorkshire tourism brand do in this crisis?

  1. Talk to your customers and potential customers
  2. Adjust your offer to suit the times
  3. Use Video and live chat

Social media marketing

Social media is a hugely powerful tool. It’s also a two way one. You can speak to people who already like you. You can use ‘mirroring’ to find other people who are likely to like you if they knew about you. You can raise comments and invite responses. You can ask them what they think about something. You can stir a debate. You can inform. You can challenge assumptions. You can invite contributions. You can show the personality of your brand. You can encourage your followers to spread the word about you.

Adjust your offer to suit the times.

If you sell a product and rely on visitors to call in and buy it then clearly you need to offer it as a mail order service. But what happens if you run an attraction or a hotel that relies on personal visits?

Consider pre-selling for when the crisis abates. Could you sell gift vouchers for a visit later in the year? There are many people out there who want to buy gifts to mark birthdays anniversaries and special days such as Father’s Day. They can’t easily post an article of clothing or take round a bottle of something. They can buy a voucher. So, can you float the idea of a weekend break in your town, a meal out in your restaurant or a day visit to your attraction? At times like these a voucher promising a really nice experience becomes an attractive gift to the recipient and also sells your organisation.

If you have a restaurant can you home deliver or let them collect a superb meal.

If you have an attraction, can any of it remain open? Even the gift shop? Can some purchases and advance tickets be offered online? Utilise the opportunity to add your vouchers to by emailing Carolyn Nicoll with an image, up to 30 words and a voucher link. 

Video and live chat

Even if you’re closed can you offer live chat at times? Is there a video online showing the best of your attraction when it’s open or showcasing your hotel or showing recipe ideas with your food or drink product?

Check out video technology such as VOIP calling tools (Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime etc), Webinar/Online meeting tools (ZOOM, Teams, Skype for Business, WorkPlace by Facebook and many others) and Video live-streaming and video hosting platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, EOOVI, and many more.

Sometime soon – and we don’t know when – life will begin to return to normal. Those that have made the effort to keep building their brand will be in the strongest position to cope with the upturn.

I’ll finish by returning to my wartime analogy with the radio broadcast of Winston Churchill to the defeated French on their occupation 21st October 1940 ‘Good night then: Sleep to gather strength for the morning.  For the morning will come’.

Life will get better. If you’d like the award-winning digital team at Creative Marketing Services to help you through the next few months we’re standing by. Email [email protected] now.

Andrew Batty is Managing Director of Leeds based Creative Marketing Services, a Y30 company who provide Welcome to Yorkshire Digital Training seminars. CMS celebrated its 38th birthday recently, has £5m turnover and a 20+ strong team covering all aspects of marketing from strategy and creative services to PR and SEO, web design and video.


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