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“In These Uncertain Times…” Marketing Has Run Its Course

The entire United States pretty much went into lockdown around mid-March, about three months ago by the time you read this. And even though the crisis continues the “in these uncertain times…” marketing messages so popular right now have completely run their course.

Why? Because everyone it seems is using this type of messaging.

We know you’ve seen them. Whether it’s for a car, insurance, pizza, soda – just about anything – so many messages are starting out with “in these uncertain times…” with sorrowful – but still hopeful! – music in the background, with pictures of happy people (probably families) social distancing together at home.

And then the voiceover says words to the effect, “we’re here for you. And that’s why (we’re selling this or that, offering this or that discount).” And so on.

We’re All Getting Tired of It!

What’s more, your prospects can see right through you! They more than likely understand your need to continue to market to them, but the lockdown feels as if it’s been going on for forever and therefore this marketing feels…. old!

Some coronavirus marketing actually is pretty clueless:

Or, as an April 23 article in The Atlantic put it, calling the current type of advertising “disastertising”:

Many of those ads feature the voices of executives insisting that we’re all in this together, while those executives might be self-isolating in sunny vacation compounds. This worst kind of messaging flies beyond the bounds of simple uselessness and lands at full-on smarm; there’s no value except to the company itself, reminding you that it’s still around to accept whatever money you have left.”

So advertising and marketing has become useless and smarmy. Lovely.

But this type of marketing and advertising didn’t always feel this way. Certainly not at the beginning of the pandemic, when we were all pretty much in an understandable nationwide freak-out. Yet in just the last few weeks – remember, The Atlantic article above appeared only about a month after most of the country was ordered to stay at home – it’s become so.

So, Now what? How can Marketers and Advertisers Market and Sell “Properly” In a Pandemic?

Here Are Our Tips:

  • Don’t stop advertising or marketing.

It’s ok to sell or market your wares or services.

More importantly, continuing to market and advertise will truly help you recover from the economic downturn more quickly as things improve.

  • Stop with the “in these uncertain times….” and anything similar.

Instead, simply get to the point: “We can all use a little help now. That’s why we’re offering (free things, discounts, this new product of ours that does this for you).

  • Be very careful about using the pandemic to “sell” your product. You also should avoid a humorous tone.

“Ham-handed efforts to tie products to the pandemic could do as much brand damage as charging forward as if the world had not changed at all,” said this article. In addition, while you can do away with the schmaltz, it’s still too soon for making light of the situation.

  • If your business is one in which consumers may deal with you directly (such as a restaurant or store offering curb-side pickup), market/advertise how you’re dealing with their concerns.

Cottonelle, for example, sent out direct messages earlier in the pandemic letting consumers know there was plenty of toilet paper for the duration (and also created a campaign with United Way pledging $1 million and the donation of one million rolls of toilet paper to the charity’s global community response fund.

Another example: McDonald’s Philippines outlined the new precautions they were taking to help keep employees and customers safe. (Notice how there’s no “in these difficult times…” He gets right to point, and still comes across as caring and concerned.)

We’d love the honor of helping you with your marketing and advertising now and in the weeks to come. If you’d like to learn more about how Ingenex Digital Marketing – and our own expertise in using marketing automation tools – will help you in your digital marketing efforts. If you prefer the “old fashioned” way of contacting us, please feel free to send us an e-mail message or schedule a meeting with us.

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