COVID-19 has really taken a toll on the world. The global pandemic has impacted our lives more than we would have ever comprehended. Everything seems to have changed right from the way we work on a daily basis to our overall outlook toward life. While such magnanimous changes are taking place around us, how can our businesses stay aloof from the negative impacts? After all, the customer is king for all businesses, and so, in order for them to survive, they have to accurately understand and analyze changing consumer behaviour while also empathizing with their situation.
For any business to survive and make a mark, marketing plays a vital role. A company’s marketing strategy is primarily based on who its customers are and how it intends to reach out to them, apart from other factors. One of the important questions that arise for marketers in this trying pandemic situation is what kind of marketing they should do in the current scenario when pretty much everything has gone online, and consumer behaviour has changed so drastically.
In an energetic discussion between Ashish Sinha, Founder of NextBigWhat, and Ankur Warikoo, Co-Founder & Board Member at Nearbuy.com, the latter spoke on what needs to be done in this difficult situation in order to retain the existing customers, acquire new ones, and keep all of them engaged.
The pandemic has shown and taught us many things. From social distancing to nationwide lockdowns, it has made us face the worst and expect the unexpected. Many businesses have suffered great losses, many people have lost their jobs, and numerous others have lost their loved ones. And what has made all this even worse is that all of us have been confined within the four walls of our homes – no going to the office, no social life, no travelling. In short, life has drastically changed, and so should the customer-approach strategies that marketers devise.
In the talk, Ankur Warikoo stressed the fact that this is one of those rare and unprecedented times wherein paid marketing just won’t work. What marketers need to do now is empathize and connect with their customers more organically. This time is not just about selling your stuff, but about telling your customers that you care. It’s not about bombarding them with your ads and offers but about owning up to your mistakes, apologizing for the delays in delivery, and being as genuine and authentic as possible while communicating with customers.
So, one of the biggest lessons Indian marketers should take from the COVID-19 situation is about accepting their mistakes as their own rather than blaming them on others. Marketers need to be always open to new suggestions, no matter where they come from. They should be willing to learn new things and adapt to the changing scenario. They need to understand their customers so that they can better serve their needs. That, according to Warikoo, is the basic mantra for growth during the pandemic.
This is a critical time, the time of crisis. Statistics have shown major dips in people’s willingness to spend money because they want to save for the rainy day. Therefore, it has become all the more important for marketers to keep their customers engaged onto their platforms in some way or the other. What better way to do so than putting up informative content online telling people what’s happening around, how the company is helping people, what the company cares about, what are the ongoing trends, etc. Many companies are even putting up stories and first-hand accounts of people’s experiences during the pandemic to keep customers engaged and motivated.
However, what one needs to understand here is that generating content is not a one-time task. It is a constant and continuous effort, irrespective of the situation. It is through content that your customers will get to know what you have been doing, what your plans are, how you can help them, etc., and that is how your brand awareness will grow among people.
The form in which you put content now and in the future might change – whether you want to write blogs, create videos, post pictures, or want to put up a combination of it all will depend on what works for you in the long run. But the fact of the matter is that generating and publishing fresh content at regular intervals is the best way to reach out to your customers and showing them that you care so that a symbiotic bond is built between them and your company.
Generating great content is not always about selling your products and services. It is about establishing a strong and long-lasting connection with your customers. Especially now, when they are working from home and not going out for long, a good piece of content would help fill up their mind and keep them motivated. That kind of bond, according to Warikoo, is something that surpasses anything, which money can buy. After all, customers will stay with you for long only if they feel a connection with your company and your brand. Otherwise, there are many other competitors out there to grab the opportunity. Therefore, during these difficult times, Indian marketers need to build genuine content so they can focus on their long-term growth.