Getting back to basics: A guide to marketing during a pandemic

With unemployment rates rising and cash flow decreasing, businesses have had to shake up their marketing to keep their customer bases strong. So, how do you market your business during a pandemic?

The pandemic-induced mass unemployment has seen individuals collectively having less money, but more time on their hands. As a result, in our digital age where we are exposed to brands at almost every turn, brands and their marketing activity have been put under the microscope.

Now, brands are forced to reconsider their marketing strategies, and carefully choose the approach they take with storytelling and customer connection. So, what steps can businesses take to ensure your customer base remains solid during the coronavirus pandemic? We spoke with Charlotte Petris, member of Dell’s Women Entrepreneur Network (DWEN), and Co-Founder and CEO of Timelio to share her expertise on marketing during a pandemic.

Define your brand with authenticity

Undeniably one of the biggest buzzwords thrown around over the last 18 months in the industry, but now authenticity in your marketing plan is crucial more than ever.

“Be authentic and stay true to your purpose and values,” is the advice from Charlotte. “Be consistent with your communication and connect with your customers on a personal level.”

Charlotte owes the success of Timelio’s marketing to ascertaining authenticity at every point in their approach.

“One of the reasons Timelio is different and stands out in the finance world is because we are a purpose driven business,” she explains.

“Culture and trust are our competitive advantage; words that traditionally have not been associated with success in the financial services industry.”

When asked what the absolute no-nos are for brands during this time, Charlotte warns marketers against appearing to exploit or take advantage of customers in times of need or scarcity: “Your customers need to know they can rely on you and that you are there to support them.”

Welcome change and adaptability

2 Source: Unsplash (Chris Lawton)

Evidently if there’s one thing we can all learn from 2020, it is to expect the unexpected. The more adaptable your marketing is, the more storms you can weather.

“You need to be able to change your strategy quickly and don’t be afraid to try something new,” encourages Charlotte.

“Being prepared with a solid digital marketing strategy is critical,” says Charlotte. “If your sales previously survived on bricks and mortar stores, face to face meetings, tradeshows, or events it’s time to re-evaluate your marketing strategy.”

Timelio has had to put this in to practice by chopping and changing planned marketing activity to ensure they were delivering relevant, timely content that solved their customers’ immediate challenges, such as helping customers understand and apply for JobKeeper.

Listen to your customers – and integrate them into your storytelling

With 992,300 Australians out of work and the unemployment rate at 2.2% according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics June research, the amount of your customers facing financial hardship is likely to be higher than ever.

When asked what the number one thing businesses should be doing right now, Charlotte’s response was simple: “Talk to every single customer – understand, empathise, listen, care.”

“Your customers’ needs are changing almost overnight so it’s about being acutely aware of this and what you need to do to be relevant at this time,” says Charlotte.

Engaging with and listening to what your customers have to say will also help develop insights for your next strategic marketing campaign. Charlotte says the team has been investing in new video content and case studies to share Timelio’s customer stories to create a sense of community.

Be the knowledge leader

3 Source: Unsplash (AbsoluteVision)

In trying times, being the expert is what will earn the trust of your customers and allow you to stand out from your competitors. Timelio does this by ensuring their business model equips their customers for the future, as well as providing short-term, instantaneous solutions.

“We focus on what we can do to support our customers, not just with their cash flow, but helping businesses brace themselves for longer term uncertainty and planning for a recession,” explains Charlotte.

By including future-proofing services to customers, Timelio has managed to be the knowledge leader among competitors and customers alike.

“When your competitors are reacting on fear and uncertainty, there is an opportunity to strengthen your market position,” says Charlotte. “In times of uncertainty, be the trusted advisor.”

Through the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, Dell is connecting female entrepreneurs across the globe with networks, sources of capital, knowledge and technology, giving them the power to do more. Dell and 10 play are proud to bring you inspiring stories and key insights from incredible business leaders across Australia, showcasing the clever and inventive ways in which businesses have had to adapt during the pandemic