The statistics right now about the U.S. economy, and how people perceive the downfall of U.S. economy, are startling. Here are the results of a recent nationwide study :
- Sixty-five percent (65%) of Americans say the economy is getting worse – a 40-percentage-point jump from four weeks earlier, when 25% said it was getting worse.
- Forty-two percent (42%) of Americans say they’ve experienced a drop in household income in the past 12 months, up significantly from 25% in April 2018.
- Almost a quarter of Americans – 22% – say they’ve had difficulty paying their rent or mortgage. In April 2018, that number was only 12%.
- Seventy percent (70%) of Americans say they are very or somewhat worried about their finances, an increase of 11 percentage points from a similar time period in April 2018, when 59% of Americans said they were very or somewhat worried about their finances in the past six months.
As the U.S. experiences this huge economic downturn, the question for many organizations now is: how do we market our products (or services) in this type of climate? How can we support our falling (or stagnant) sales?
In a recent survey of over 200 marketing agencies and advertising professionals, almost 90% indicated they’d made changes to their marketing due to COVID-19. And this is appropriate, given the magnitude of what’s happened globally.
With this rapid change, however, marketing mistakes are being. Be sure not to make these three big mistakes as we all move forward.
Mistake #1 – The chest-beating chorus – It’s all about us.
This is a classic mistake made by businesses of every size. And it’s a surefire way to lose customers. When everyone is hurting, no one wants to hear or see how great you think you are as a brand, product, or service.
Interestingly enough, Pitney Bowes continues to make this mistake, even now. I should know – I was in marketing there for a number of years. One of the traps they fall into, again and again, is talking about themselves – not about how they service their customers. Here’s a social media post on LinkedIn from two weeks ago – in the middle of the COVID-19 shutdown. Does this feel tone deaf to you? It does to a lot of people.
Mistake #2 – Push the humor a bit too far. Tread carefully…
There’s a fine line between having fun and being playful, and being a bit insensitive. I received this email from Amtrak today and, while I understand the message, it feels a bit like someone grasping for relevancy when, in reality, this campaign could have been put on hold for just a bit longer. The headline is “Stuck at home? Join us for a virtual watch party!”
The ad below reinforces that, in essence, I have nothing better to do right now than watch their webinar about Amtrak vacations. Yes, they’re right, I’m itching to get out of the house and would love to visit a National Park right now. But this feels a bit – well, too soon. It feels like Amtrak is trying to “take advantage” of the fact that I’m a captive audience. Please – don’t do that. It’s tough enough spending the hours in this chair as it is.
Mistake #3 – Keep going like nothing is happening. Sort of.
This is a different way to seem, well, insensitive. While I love Clarks shoes, this email, sent out on Easter Sunday, appears to have a “business as usual” attitude. If it weren’t for the change in copy of the ad, I’d have believed they just put their marketing on auto-pilot as everyone is sheltering in place.
The headline: 30% off Sunday-best dress styles. The image is below. Final question: who can see your shoes in a virtual family celebration or a video chat cocktail hour (on Easter?).
Not sure how to market as we move forward, post COVID-19? Let’s talk about it – I’m happy to talk about your particular situation and what would be most appropriate.