What Should Marketers Be Saying/Doing Right Now?

BY Chris DeBoer
3/19/2020 - HVAC Marketing , COVID-19

As we are all finding ourselves in this unprecedented situation, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and struggle to get things done with all of the thoughts and ideas on what we should/could be focusing on. I think one of the most important things we can do right now is step back, take a breath, find out what you are hoping to achieve then then act. We all have decisions that need to be made and how we handle these is a reflection of our organization/brand.

I was just reading a great article that Google released, Inside Google Marketing: 5 principles guiding our media teams in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak”, that outlines 5 guiding questions that they are following currently to make quick decisions that are changing how their typical processes would have run.

In the article, they cover context of campaigns and efforts, the need to constantly reassess efforts, making careful creative decisions, how to prioritize through uncertainty and how they can continuously help individuals and businesses in this moment of need. The exercise that they have laid out for businesses to consider is very helpful and gives you some guidance on “What” you can start doing.

I also think that in this time of continuous uncertainty, it is important to communicate with your customers often. That said I would recommend only with updates that are really important to changes in business dynamics or efforts that might be of help to customers. I know that working with dealers is different than a broader consumer audience, but some of the brands that are I feel are doing a great job throughout this difficult time are, Starbucks, Dick’s and Pizza Hut. All of these brands have adapted businesses processes very quickly and were able to clearly articulate the changes that they were making and the reasons behind them.

Starbucks was quick to adapt and limit the encounters between patrons and their “partners” which is what they refer to their staff as. They also took it a step further to share with everyone the steps they are taking to help their employees through this difficult time. Dick’s used this time to help showcase at home workout equipment that is available for “Curbside Contactless Pickup”. They identified a need with gyms and fitness facilities and shifted their efforts to help consumers deal with their concerns of keeping healthy while going through this stressful time.

I think it’s goes without saying that most of us have not had the chance to really prepare for this, but this situation could be a good opportunity to really showcase how you are a valuable partner with your dealers and customers. What are they looking for and how can you adapt to their needs? Are there campaigns that need postponed or changed due to the situation we are in right now?  Messages that are not mission critical should be reconsidered with your audience in mind. One thing we have decided is to delay any messaging around our events outside of status updates. Another good example of changing marketing efforts, is Google’s shift in showcasing their Hangouts platform and Youtube as platforms that can help people through the COVID-19 situation.

There are many smart decisions being made right now that we can all look at and learn from. Again, I think that the most important thing to do is to step back, take a breath, find out what you are hoping to achieve then then act.

If you have found something that seems to be working, please feel free to share it with us. WE could all use the support of one another right now to help us keep the entire HVACR industry operate as well as it can!

Visit our COVID-19 Resources Page for more support on navigating this situation.