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How Marketers Are Adapting to the COVID-19 Crisis

Like every other industry, marketing has been forced to adapt under the strain of the COVID-19 crisis. In ways big and small, the pandemic and accompanying global economic downturn have changed how marketers create content, communicate with clients, and achieve marketing goals. Compassionate marketers have found ways to promote products and services while remaining respectful of the hardships facing many customers.

At IdeaRocket, we’re seeing more investment in animation over live action video. Our workforce is already remote, but are now seeing many of our clients move in that direction as well. Businesses are still marketing and marketers are adapting. They’re finding new and innovative ways to get the message out. To learn about those innovations, we reached out to our fellow marketers and asked them how they are adapting to the COVID-19 crisis.

“The word for this ‘new normal’ is adaptation,” said Ken Kerry, Co-Founder, CEO and Executive Creative Director of Script To Screen.  “Adapting to consumers’ needs, adapting to and being respectful of production crews’ productivity challenges, and adapting to timelines being stretched because of off site working norms while demands continue to be as hectic as usual. And if that’s not enough, we’re all adapting to ZOOM calls.” 

All of that sounds overwhelming, and it can be, but this new challenge has also created space for opportunities. Marketers are finding ways to build customer relationships and meet new needs. 

Signs saying: don't give up. You are not alone. You matter.

Keep marketing, but with compassion

Some marketers and clients have wondered if they should stop advertising during the pandemic. Many are trying to cut costs, while others worry that marketing during this time will be seen as insensitive or opportunistic. Those concerns should inform your marketing, but they shouldn’t halt it. 

“My focus has been to convince my clients to embrace the new normal rather than run from it,” said James Costa of Jim Costa Films. “A mistake that companies tend to make in their advertising strategy is to stop advertising during economic downturns. it seems to make sense to cut costs before closing locations or laying off staff, but this will hurt companies in the long run. It’s always important to keep your company name in front of the public so you come out the other side stronger than those who failed to advertise.” 

For customer-facing brands, Kelsie Collins, Founder and CEO of GetFit Marketing says it’s important to include the human touch in any marketing done during the pandemic. “In general, it will benefit brands to be as human as humanly possible! You can’t keep ignoring COVID-19 and staying radio silent. Address this change in a way that is empathetic and genuine. How can you adapt your business to show your customers that you care about them?” 

Micheal Anderson and his team at GeoJango Maps found one way to adjust their marketing and address changing customer needs. “We sell educational maps for kids and have been able to position these as a great homeschooling tool since children are unable to attend classes in person,” Anderson says. “While we don’t specifically mention the crisis in our marketing materials, we do mention the fact that parents can encourage their child to learn about geography from the comfort of their home.” 

“Essentially, marketers should understand how the crisis is affecting their target audience and identify ways that their product or service will benefit these people,” Anderson says. “From there, they just need to clearly articulate the correct value proposition.” 

Be the Solution

Jenifer Johnson of JJ Media Productions started by connecting with her existing clients. “I reached out to my clients that already knew and trusted my previous work and pitched new ideas to them,” Johnson says. “I wrote individual emails to my clients and let them know that I had hope for their marketing, listed a few ideas, and encouraged further conversation.  They were excited about someone else believing in their business and taking the initiative.” 

At Concurrent Productions, marketers found a way to remove some of the barriers that were preventing their clients from creating new marketing videos. CEO Kerri Feazell says they built a compact lighting, camera, and microphone kit that they can ship to clients. After guiding clients step-by-step through filming, Feazell’s team edit and produce the videos using their normal process. 

Other marketers have found new sources of raw content to create quality marketing videos. “We have found an incredible amount of value in UGC (user-generated content) as the base ingredient for an impactful brand spot,” says Mike Dominick, VP, Growth at SDA Media. “Licensing those shocking, loving, funny or emotional moments regular people are posting and weaving them into a larger brand story has created an opportunity to speak to consumers in a much more authentic way. All without having to gather a large production team on a set.”

Marketers may even find ways to reach beyond their traditional role and help clients achieve their goals. Mike Perlow, Owner of Perlow Productions says he’s been working with clients to transition from in-person events and conferences to video streaming and virtual services. 

“When it became apparent that in-person commencements would be going away, I created “virtual graduation productions” to help schools recognize graduating seniors in a fun, exciting way that would engage students and their families,” Perlow says. “We work with schools to create customized video that includes much of the pomp and circumstance of the commencement.” 

These kinds of supports help show that you care about your clients and customers and are willing to use all of your resources to help them achieve their goals. 

Adjust your workflow

Innovative marketing ideas must be supported by a flexible workflow that allows marketers to get the job done. 

“Clients still need content, but we can’t currently produce traditional shoots,” says Tristan Olson, Executive Producer at Venture. He and his team have found innovative ways to film including streaming, inside their own homes, with small crews, using PPE, and with social distancing. They’ve also introduced more motion graphics and animation into their videos. “We are accomplishing a lot through existing footage and really good, clean motion graphics,” Olson says.  

In short, marketers are finding ways to adapt and adjust during the COVID-19 crisis. While all have been challenged, many are finding solutions that serve their customers, grow their business, and build strong relationships. 

“Adaptability is key to meeting customer needs,” says Manuela Senatore, founder and CEO of Skilla Productions. “I’m speaking more these days with business owners to learn their concerns. I’m collaborating with others more to keep skills sharp. Fortunately, video’s adaptability suits it perfectly for our “new normal” and the future.” 

Marketers are adapting, too. For businesses navigating the new normal, Idea Rocket is here to help. Contact our team of video marketing experts to start creating quality video content. 

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