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HOW TO RESTART OUR ADVERTISING ACTIVITIES?

Firstly, I hope that you are healthy, that you have been able to get through this ordeal, and that you are on the list of companies to reopen (or which have reopened, if you are outside of Montreal). With this reopening, we are now faced with a new reality: restarting our operational and advertising activities.

But how should we restart our advertising activities with this new reality?

On the one hand, not all people will have had the opportunity to return to their jobs, not all businesses can reopen and not everyone is in "buy" mode. Also, this pandemic will certainly have had an impact on your operations, who works from home, how we protect our employees and your clients, how we work with customers, so that they can safely receive their purchase. In short, significant changes are taking place.

On the other hand, you have had to pay your costs for several weeks, the financial reserves are getting thin and if you are like most people, you want to resume activities. There is a whole "human" aspect of the business world that we didn't have when we were in lockdown, or that we got partially if we were online.

I believe that the first step will be giving essential information. If you have been able to keep your business open or have been active in your communication channels during this pandemic, then a good message explaining to your clients or potential clients where you are at would be in order. The same can be said if you are restarting your operations. Here are some subjects that need to be addressed.

The measures put in place to protect customers and your employees.

Now that businesses are reopening, that does not mean that consumers will flock to your business. One of the reasons might be because they may wonder if your business is safe for them and their loved ones. The most important part of this first step is to inform them about the measures you have put in place to be certain that their health is well protected. Social distancing rules, the number of people in your business, the hygiene measures for the common areas (toilets, checkout counter, products, etc.) are all important points to communicate to ensure that the customer feels safe leaving his/her home. Or, inform them of the other alternatives available to them to make a purchase. Are you online? Do they have to make an appointment to get to your business? Do you deliver? If yes, what are the fees? What are the delays? Is there a minimum for an order to be shipped?

Be empathetic.

Certainly, we have clients who have kept their jobs without loss of income. But not all. Some are using the government programs but may be struggling to make ends meet with $ 2,000 a month. If your products/services are not essential, have you thought about offering options to facilitate the purchase? Financing? Payment plan? Being human will be important in this recovery. Also, some people are afraid, either for their relatives, because of their beliefs, because of misinformation or for any other reason. You can try and reassure them by telling them the things you are doing to help them, to understand them, and to offer comfort. Empathetic businesses will stand out.

Inventory.

If you are selling products, this crisis has certainly affected your supply chain for certain products. What is your new reality? What products are available? Have you updated your inventory on your website to reduce the risk of a customer coming to your store to an 'out of stock' item? If you have limited resources and it is difficult to have an up-to-date website, communicate a procedure that will reduce these risks, for example: 'call first to see if we have the product'.

Your prices.

It is all good and well to have sanitary measures in place and a new way to do business to protect all, but this will come at a cost. Same thing with your suppliers. Some companies may have closed or increased their costs for the same reasons as yours. What is the impact on your price list? Will you keep it unchanged for some time? Do you need to update it to cope with this new reality?

Your new schedule.

Has your schedule changed? You must inform your customers and potential customers.

Your new reality.

Several companies will have experienced a delay with their operations. Companies in the field of construction, renovations, landscaping, swimming pools installation, and so on. What are your new deadlines? Are there any modifications to your cancellation policies? For companies that operate on a subscription model, such as fitness centers, what happens for the months when your center was closed due to government measures? Have you charged the monthly payment? How are you going to rectify the situation?

Any other specific aspects of your business?

In this reopening, there are so many parameters that need to be defined, that a good message with this information would be an excellent first step to resume/continue the dialogue with your customers and potential customers. In addition to managing your new reality, you have work to do.

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Stéphane Elmaleh-Riel, B.Ed., MBA
Marketing consultant