Marketing In a COVID World

Sep 9, 2020

In mid-May we talked about the emergence of a new normal in public relations and marketing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Media coverage of the virus has become all-consuming in the intervening four months.

Over 100 million pieces of news focused on COVID-19 have appeared. In just one sampled day, 340,000 came from 30,000 media outlets. As the lingering epicenter of the crisis, the United States produces one third of all global daily coverage.

Even as pandemic fatigue sets in among the American population, our collective obsession with the virus and its toll never wavers. Potential vaccines linger on the horizon bringing hope.  However, even aggressive projections place their availability 5 to 6 months away. COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

The brands and products that most easily resonate with Americans these days are those that fulfill critical needs, both physical and emotional. So, unless you’re selling hand sanitizer, outdoor entertainment, or any type of toilet paper, how do you keep your brand in front of your customers?

By making your brand feel critical.

The Five Things That Matter

Brand Messaging

Gone are the days of simple promotions. In today’s world the only messaging that stands out and feels genuine is that which tries to connect with people on a human level. The mixture of isolation, fear of the unknown, and an overwhelming sense of community and empathy has hot-wired most Americans to see the world differently in a very short amount of time. It has crystalized the things that matter and those that don’t. To matter, your messaging must account for this shift in thinking.

Social Media

The isolation of social distancing has caused 32% of Americans to spend more time on social media as a way to stay connected to their friends and family. Leveraging this groundswell of attention, paired with appropriate messaging, is the key to remaining relevant and to gaining new audiences. Make your brand into a trusted news source that offers important information during this time of need. Engage your followers in a conversation that proves valuable.

Virtual Events

Our need to connect with one another is fundamental. While physically isolated, virtual events have skyrocketed 1000% during the pandemic. These events are a collective backbone offering education, networking, and collaborative opportunities. It cannot be overstated how important these events are for socializing your brand’s presentations, white papers, and case studies. These webinars and virtual roundtables serve as important touchpoints with your existing customer base and essential engines generating new client leads.

Email Campaigns

Email remains another reliable and consistent communication vehicle. Since the beginning of the pandemic email open rates have improved 8% with a corresponding click-through increase of 22%. Incorporating the critical elements mentioned above into a comprehensive email campaign can help drive the success of your brand’s overall marketing strategy.

SEO & Lead Generation

The consistent theme here is Americans are turning to alternative tools to stay connected. Social media, virtual meetings, email, and the Internet have replaced most traditional in-person communication. Internet usage has surged 70%. A clever SEO & lead generation plan will plant the seeds that flourish long after COVID-19 has disappeared. Providing evergreen content that engages customers and answers core needs remains the heart of successful lead generation. Whitepapers, eBooks, and blog posts will always matter. And SEO drives their visibility.

The world has changed. People have changed. It’s impossible to know for how long. But for now, connecting with people requires embracing this new normal. The five keys listed here will help your brand lead as we all step into this brave new world.

Stacy State

Stacy State has nearly 20 years of experience in marketing, communications and product development roles within healthcare at large payers, health IT vendors, and start-up revenue cycle management organizations. Most recently, Stacy led all marketing for Advantum Health to include public relations, event planning, lead generation, brand awareness and content marketing. Prior to joining Advantum Health, Stacy held leadership roles at ZirMed (now Waystar) helping the company grow through three acquisitions, eventually leading to its acquisition by Navicure. Stacy also spent 10 years at Humana, where her last role was developing campaigns and content for closing gaps in care and improving STARS scores. Stacy holds a bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Kentucky and a master's in business administration from Indiana University. Stacy is also a certified project management professional (PMP) and maintains her health and life insurance license.