Happy Post-Memorial Day!
It usually signals the start of summer in the US.
But, in New York City, rain and a 20 degree drop in temperatures put a damper on outdoor weekend activities and celebrations.
It might have been Mother Nature’s way of saying: The serious impact of the pandemic may be over but I still control your destiny. (BTW, my colleague, Jennifer Ast, is returning to The Weather Channel to host Extreme Weather.)
Memorial Day Weekend marked a return to Post-Pandemic Normalcy. But, it’s not without its drawbacks.
The good news:
- Family and friends can travel to reconnect with each other and/or to get away.
The bad news (as with any high travel holiday or period):
- Higher costs, unless you own a car and can drive to your destination.
- More people. Translation: Longer lines, waits and traffic.
- Some restrictions on activities remain. Such as the need for masks in some locations and limits on the number of attendees or customers.
To manage expectations, Secretary of Transportation Peter Buttigieg (aka: Mayor Pete) visited the Sunday news shows. His message focused on a key point that the public and marketers need to hear and pay attention to:
Be kind to travel employees. Like you, they’ve experienced high stress due to job uncertainty, limited travel during COVID, working during high risk periods, and the need to explain and enforce government mandated guidelines.
Have empathy for these employees since they are just doing their jobs to help you get to your destination.
There’s an uneven return to “normal”. Travel is up 25% over 2020, but still below 2019.
What does this mean for your marketing?
Understand that your customers and broader audience need and crave human contact. While the technology divide disappeared during COVID and people across different segments turned to digital options, they don’t substitute for interacting with people.
Actionable Marketing Tip:
- Allow your prospects and customers to choose to deal with humans when they want to. Understand that, in the short term, this may mean increased costs since you’ll need to provide both digital and human options.
Be empathetic to your entire audience including your employees and local community since you don’t know how their lives changed during and after COVID. These changes have occurred unevenly across locations and segments of the population. Among the major changes are:
- Ongoing impact of having had COVID or losing family and friends to the disease or being immunocompromised and at risk of catching it.
- Loss or reduction in work and/or personal wealth. This especially hurt low income workers, people of color and women.
- Significant changes in life and related lifestyles. Increased stress from being with family members 24/7 resulted in divorce and other negative family dynamics including increased depression and other illnesses
So, what do these 3 major changes in the population mean for your business and marketing?
- Local business guidelines and activity are in flux. CDC guidance continues to evolve and new strains of COVID are emerging. Further, decisions are made at the state and local level.
- People face different challenges and personal situations. We need to assess how to be more inclusive across race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, country of origin, income level and/or other differences.
- Inventories across government, geographies and businesses are uneven and disrupted. Due to COVID needs and changes, some organizations face challenges getting raw materials and finished products.
So, what do you do?
Figure out how to use what you have to meet the current needs of your customers and employees to stay in business in the short term so you can pivot for the future.
How Do You Position Your Business For The Future?
For most businesses, this means going back to the marketing basics.
► Figure out what your customers and employees want from your business
As my friend and former student, Professor Douglas Davis learned as an eight year old child from his granddaddy:
(BTW, if you’re a creative, visual and/or graphic marketer, you must read Douglas’s Creative Strategy and the Business of Design. He lays out how to sell your creative talents using a traditional marketing approach.)
My friend and colleague Sydni Craig-Hart who comes from generations of entrepreneurs, says,
“Don’t sit in your office and assume you know what your customers want! Actually go and talk to them person-to-person.”
(BTW–If you’ve got a small business and need help, Sydni gets that you need to pay the rent and keep the lights on to keep your business going.)
► Serve a higher goal that helps your community to be a better place.
Skip the empty words about being inclusive. Your customers, employees and community can smell insincerity a mile away.
Your audience needs you to work with them to make their community a better, more equitable place for everyone to live.
You have to put your money where your audience sees your real actions. Not just a small portion of people getting most of the value generated by the organization.
As a friend of mine who spent her career in HR told me, “If you think that you were compensated less than your male peers, you’re correct. And, the amount was probably more than you think.” And I’m a white woman. It would have been more extreme if I was Black, Brown, Asian and/or gay.
► Assess the security of your employee and customer data and protect it.
Most consumers worry about the security and privacy of their personal information. This is most evident in terms of consumer attitudes towards voice-enabled products.
While younger generations accept that they have no data privacy and/or it has limited value, it has significant value to the major corporations who collect and use it, often without consumers knowing what rights and value they’ve signed over.
Major companies, especially those running on AI technology, like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft, expose consumers to additional risks as do medical providers and governments.
And, under the radar totally are kids, gamers and other individuals just seeing if they can beat the system. So they spend their time trying to break security software just to see if they can.
How To Get Your Marketing Ready For Summer
Since summer is here, you need to get your marketing in shape to strut its stuff. And, yes this includes you, even if you’ve got a very limited budget. (Read: None!)
Instead of throwing your hands up in despair, make the best of what you have!
Actionable Summer Marketing Tips:
- Dress your business for summer. Think like a woman who looks in her closet and has no summer clothes. Get a few pick-me-up seasonal accessories. Every business can do this on-the-cheap even if you have to use past summer creative. Apply this to your store windows, retail space, website and all communications.
- Recycle your summer content. Take your existing summer content and freshen it up. At a minimum, add some new photos and a new headline.
- Brush up your marketing skills. Since the business market is in flux, you may be concerned about your current position. Instead of worrying, take action!
How? By brushing up your skills through reading the best of the marketing books and attending events that help you to improve your skills and make new connections.
Attend key events to build your skills:
Want to learn more about voice marketing?
Join me on Friday, June 4th, at noon ET, 9am PT and 6pm CET for Voice Lunch Marketing. We will discuss Voice and Marketing Persona.
Get Your Invitation Link
Editor’s Note: #VoiceLunch handles the notices; you must sign up for them.
► SOCIAL MEDIA:
Want to improve your agency’s approach to social media? Then sign up for AgoraPulse’s Agency Summit on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. Did I mention that it’s free?
► CONTENT MARKETING:
Want to improve your content strategy? Then join me at MarketMuse’s “Content Strategy Collective Live” (June 22-June 24).
Welcome new subscribers: Sharad, George, AntoniS, Tom, Dan, Yossi, Paul, Tatiana, Justin and Amir.
Please stay healthy and safe.
If you enjoy reading the AMG Newsletter, I would appreciate it if you forwarded it to your friends and colleagues.
Note: I quoted Douglas and Sydni from memory. Any errors are mine.
P.S.: Want Heidi Cohen to contribute a quote or other commentary to your next article, presentation, video, research and/or book? Then hit reply to this email and ask.
Welcome Mat Photo via Mabel Amber – https://www.pexels.com/photo/jetty-feet-sign-wooden-128299/ cc zero
The fine print
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