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Marketing after COVID-19

Your customers have changed post-COVID. How should your marketing messaging change to meet the needs of your customers?

Author: Jeremy Harrison

November 2, 2021

After a challenging 15 months of upheavel (March 2020 – May 2021), the tide is turning. The dust is beginning to settle, and businesses are getting back to “business as usual.” But what about the strategies you used in early 2020? Do they still align with the needs of your customers? 

Make no mistake, your customers have changed. You must adapt your strategy and your tone for a post-COVID world.

How Have Your Customers Changed?

Before we answer the customer question, perhaps the best place to start is with a little self-reflection: how have you changed this year? Not your business: you. What happened to you this year? Where did you have to dig in? Where did you have to give in? Where did you fight and where did you retreat?

Your customers are just like you. They’ve just endured a long year of division and stress. Many faced (and some are still facing) extended times of isolation. Many have watched their children miss out on significant milestone events from graduations to sports seasons. Many missed the weddings and funerals of loved ones. Many have faced their own health uncertainty and the health of their loved ones. Jobs, business, and livelihoods were in question. From remote school to Zoom calls, those who had jobs were forced to change the way they managed their lives and adapt to hard things that were completely out of their control.

Many lost family members. Many lost jobs and had to change jobs. Some lost their businesses.

Any one of these life changes in a normal season adds stress, but all of us likely dealt with more than one challenging life event this past year. These things are highly emotionally charged. There’s trauma involved in the moment, and grief on the other side. Our emotional reactions drive strong opinions about what’s unfolding in the world, which leads to: division.

In our homes, workplaces, families, places of worship, schools, and communities, many of us have felt divided from people they love over differing views of pandemic response. Simultaneously, major events including racial tension and a presidential election in a polarized nation were taking place. Everyone had opinions, because everyone was affected in different ways.

So, where does that leave your customer?

Grieving. Angry. Weary. Fearful. Uncertain. Stressed. Conflicted.

But they are also healing. They have new perspectives on life. Because of how much time they’ve spent together, they may feel more connected to family and value home relationships more than before.

We are all recovering from our trauma, but PEOPLE WHO ENDURED 2020 WILL NEVER BE THE SAME, in the same way people who endured major events in the past, like The Great Depression, the late 1960s, and 9/11 were never the same.

My grandfather would pound a bent nail to straighten it and keep it to use in the future, because of hard lessons he learned 60 years earlier in the Great Depression.

Your customers have changed, and they will never be the same, so your marketing must adapt.

How to Market Effectively in 2021

#1: Adapt the Tone of Your Marketing Message

Given everything you know about your customers, you want to craft messages that meet them where they are. Create content that gives people hope and unifies people. Tell real stories where your customer is the hero. And bring levity: there’s a time to pause and reflect, and there’s a time to move forward. You need to be able to sense when your customers don’t want to keep wallowing in the past.

#2: Plant Seeds

In farming, there’s a time to plant seeds, and there’s a time to harvest. The same is true in business. Seed planting and harvest season may still be in fluctuation, and you might have to take time to pull short-term weeds along the way, but keep planting seeds—when you’re planting seeds, you are planting hope for the future and keeping your vision alive for the long-term.

#3: Give People Small Next Steps

Many people are still a little uncertain about the future. As a result, they might be feeling cautious about big commitments. Give your potential customers baby steps that will help them move toward the commitment, one step at a time.

#4: Build Rapport with Your Customers over Things You Have in Common

No matter what you think about 2020, we all endured it together. There is division, but there is also a big, messy, scary, stressful year that we all have in common. Out of that suffering, we can be united in our hopes to be better, stronger, and wiser.

#5: Find Ways to Make Human-to-Human Connections

Everyone is hungry for human interactions. Start planning events now to invite people back into face-to-face interactions.

Not only are people burnt out with Zoom meetings, they’re also tired of every business interaction being all business with none of the small talk that makes us human. Zoom meetings tend to be very formal. The platform is great for many reasons, but this is one area that needs improvement. Look for ways to incorporate elements of in-person meetings into your Zoom meetings to warm up the interaction.

#6: Apply Effective Marketing Strategy to Your HIRING

It was hard to find great workers prior to COVID; it’s even harder now. Lots of companies are looking for workers but there are fewer workers looking for jobs. Some people are getting paid more not to work. Some are employed but unhappy in their jobs—they’re bored, disconnected, disengaged, disrespected, or under-appreciated.

You need to use marketing to reach those people who aren’t looking but should be… and get them excited about making a change.  This doesn’t happen with traditional HR / recruiting efforts, but it can happen with great marketing.

Spire can help you make the shift you need to get the tone right in your marketing messaging, from the content on your website to the ads you push out and everything in between, to ensure your message resonates with your ideal customers. We can help you assess your strategy to help you find the right people in the right places. Using the same marketing tactics we use to promote businesses, we can help you improve the way you recruit workers. Connect with a member of our team today to take the next right step in your marketing.

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