COVID-19 and Marketing:

Bryan Brulotte - Unity. Prosperity. Compassion. #CanadaUnited

The four Ps have long served as a basic framework for assessing and adjusting a marketing strategy.

In the face of the unprecedented disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this is a good time to review your marketing plan and ensure it is still effective.  Here are some of the basic points to consider when reviewing the four Ps of marketing in the wake of the disruption caused by COVID-19.

1. Product

Under normal circumstances, products and services evolve gradually. New car models will be released or updated every few years, for example.  But for some products, the COVID pandemic has totally upended the natural evolution cycle. The first question to ask yourself, then, is whether your product is still relevant. If not, then you will need to evolve your product or pivot to making something else.

Companies have also had to adapt their products for online sales and, in the case of service companies, online delivery. As many customers will maintain their online shopping habits, rethinking your products or services to ensure they are relevant online should be a priority.

2. Price

The COVID crisis has increased operating and supply costs for many businesses. Dentists are just one example of businesses seeing less clients, while rent and salaries have remained the same. Over time, this could result in rising prices for products and services.  In this case, entrepreneurs not to be overly ambitious when it comes to raising prices.

Studies show that people will pay up to 5% more to buy local products. A Leger survey of 1,500 people in Quebec found that 58% of them intended to purchase more local goods in the wake of the crisis. Yet, on average, they were only ready to pay 5% more for local purchases, according to the survey published in May 2020.

Buyers will quickly notice price increases, as such entrepreneurs to remain transparent

3. Promotion

The initial reaction to COVID was to cut marketing spending to a maximum, but this wasn’t the best decision for all businesses.

Many businesses who relied on traditional marketing methods such as events didn’t have a choice but to limit their marketing activities. They now have to rethink their strategy.  As a result, many companies are switching a lot of their promotion to advertise online and on social media.  You have to stay smart; everyone who can sell online should try to do it.

4. Place

The old saying went “Location, location, location.” But the COVID crisis showed that location can be a double-edged sword.  Companies located in shopping malls were hit especially hard by the crisis. Meanwhile, companies with a storefront on commercial streets were able to re-open a little faster.  Nevertheless, it is probably a good idea to review your business location(s) to see if it still meets your needs and those of your clients.

Three new Ps

The four Ps have evolved and marketers have added three new Ps over the years to make a fuller analysis of a company’s marketing efforts.

5. Packaging

Making a good first impression is as important as it’s ever been. Whether that’s through the packaging on your products, the look and feel of your website, or how you and your employees present themselves in front of a camera.

Employees are an important part of your packaging when we work remotely. A professional brand that’s uniform across all your communications will comfort clients in knowing that they can trust you. There’s a strong chance that they’ll buy from you instead of from your competitor.

6. Positioning

Customers might not be able or willing to visit your business in person, but they’re going to research your business online and on social media. You need to seriously think about how you want them to perceive you.

How do you think you are positioned in the mind of your customers and your prospects?  Clients are going to compare you to others. They’re going to benchmark you. You need to think about how others will see you.

The visual quality of you brand and you marketing assets is important, but so is your story telling. Entrepreneurs need to tell their story; tell customers how they are different and what makes them better.

7. People

Now more than ever, the people who participate in your sales process are extremely important. Whether it be in a remote meeting or in a face to face meeting, they need to be competent and credible. They need to have something that they’re prepared to say and they need to make customers feel welcomed. If I’m in a store and the staff makes me feel like I’m a menace because of COVID, it doesn’t work.  Employees have to take precautions, but you need to have that human touch. Whether it’s B2C or B2B, that human element is always there. Empathy and sensitivity will help you stand out from the competition.