Businesses Adapt Marketing Strategies in the Age of COVID-19

By Adriaan Brits Friday, September 4, 2020

COVID-19 has changed the face of the business world as we know it. It’s brought about paramount uncertainty for businesses, with things like forced closures, disrupted supply chains, and lower consumer spending. 

More than 33 million people in the US reported themselves as unemployed in only two months, and in the UK, around 25% of people’s jobs are at risk. Talking to companies that are managing to stay afloat during this crisis, we’ve discovered some tactics and different marketing strategies they have used to do so. Some of these tactics could work for your business, as well.

Product R&D

In the US, much like the rest of the world, most businesses have been negatively affected. Many have also redacted spending on their marketing, with a third focusing more on product research and development (product R&D), to launch new services or products.

Many businesses that have suffered a lot from the pandemic have chosen to do this as a strategy. One business explained that this could give existing customers the feeling of “business as usual,” gain back the previous momentum, and hopefully start business again. 

This tactic is also a great method to prepare customers for the latter half of 2020, as the damage from the first half has already been done. What businesses can do now is look into the future and prepare for that. Having products ready means new products are always available to excite customers, even if the release has to be pushed back a few months.

Contact-Free and Home Delivery Options

You may be more familiar with contact-free and home delivery options, especially if you’re in the food industry. This is a great way to reassure customers the risk of contact with your driver is kept to a minimum. Examples of this include the driver leaving the food at the door, knocking, and waiting in the vehicle until they've confirmed you've received the food. This move means customers feel confident in their services and feel that you can support them through this time. 

The same goes for various other businesses, such as retail. Companies have begun to open online shops and are quick to offer services like home delivery, so as not to lose any existing customers, and reducing the threat of closing down.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO can be a transformative tool for businesses. Many brands know they need SEO for their digital properties, such as improving a website’s overall searchability and visibility. 

As more businesses move towards ecommerce sales, SEO will become increasingly essential. Since the pandemic has stopped a lot of store-buying, businesses have found that a way to get their customers in is from websites instead. Tweaking your SEO can mean a better user experience for consumers, so they are more likely to buy, as well as building trust and credibility for you. It also means increased engagement, traffic, and conversions.

Customer Retention and Remarketing

Another marketing method companies have chosen to use is focusing on existing customers, instead of trying to get new ones. This can be a good idea for businesses that don’t necessarily sell essential items or items that aren’t the first thing any new consumer would think about getting. 

Targeting old customers by reminding them of old products or a new and more developed version of their previously purchased product can convince them to buy something they previously brought. Essentially, if they liked it, they’ll probably give it another go. Your ad is a prompt for them and an efficient way to get them back into buying from you, especially when it’s been a while.

Discounts and Rewards

Offering discounts and rewards sets you apart from other businesses in the same industry and consumers could be more likely to buy from you. 

The pandemic has hit people from all walks of life, so people will be looking to save money in any way possible. Rewarding customers for their loyalty could mean they want to stay with you in the long run and choose you over other shops. Discounts are also great in the short-term, since your business can attract a greater amount of people — having discounts is a great method to get yourself on the grid.

About the Author


Headshot of author Adriaan Brits

As an analyst of global affairs, Adriaan has an MSC from Oxford, with diverse interests in the digital economy, entertainment, and business. He is a specialist trainer in Advanced Analytics & Media.

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