By Leonard Machyo-Malana Research Consult , 8 April 2020
Businesses affected by corona virus (COVID 19) want to know when and where consumer activity will pick back up so they can focus their marketing, operations, and research appropriately. Which physical locations should they focus on reopening and with how much capacity? Where should they continue to concentrate their e-commerce efforts and quarantine-based messaging?
Executives can’t simply trust their guts to make these decisions. After all, their personal pandemic experiences aren’t necessarily shared by other geographies or tribes. At the same time, businesses can’t rely only on publicly available data that may not necessarily reflect their specific target audiences. Brands and businesses instead need to invest in customized research- and data-driven initiatives to drive marketing and strategy decisions now more than ever. The implications are not just about “when” and “where” to reopen businesses; they’re also about “how.”
If businesses open, will consumers come?
Just because the country relaxes restrictions, that doesn’t mean consumers in the country will flip a switch and resume life exactly the way it was. While some people are chomping at the bit to attend concerts and sporting events, others are still afraid to visit the mall, let alone sit arm’s length away from their stylists – mask or no mask.
And just because stores and restaurants start to reopen soon, that doesn’t necessarily mean that business will pick up. It depends on the consumer mindset, the degree to which they fear for their safety or believe that social distancing is the right thing to do, offset by the value they place on personal determination and the pull of social interaction.
How can marketers navigate the reopening?
Some of the short-term marketing implications are becoming clear: personalized advertising should combine geolocation and political orientation to increase effectiveness. More specifically, brands should consider targeting stay-at-home oriented messaging t.
Brands should also consider focusing their messages around certain behaviors and activities that people miss most during extended quarantine. For example, missed visiting the home of a friend/family member “a lot” or “intensely, missed going to a bar or restaurant. Since so many restaurants have offered delivery/take-out during this time, it’s clearly the experience (service, ambience, or social interaction) that people really miss. Should think about how you can promote and enhance each of these while still addressing people’s need to feel safe.