Innovative sales, out of the box social media and truly creative tips and tricks – our collection of marketing ideas from May 2020
Automating sales. Marketing your brand purpose. And building deeper customer relationships – even in a crisis. We’ve collected all the weekly marketing ideas from May 2020 into a single post. To inform your planning and inspire your future marketing, too.
NOTE: ABOUT MAY 2020
May 2020 was another hugely unprecedented month around the world. Many countries had instituted and maintained quarantine lockdowns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Entire economies ground to halt, almost everyone stayed (and worked from) home and businesses were still closed for some time.
But towards the end of the month, the lockdowns started to ease and globally businesses were faced with a new reality: How to get back to where we were after this unprecedented crisis that changed the world as we know it. There are some extremely innovative sales ideas, out of the box marketing and truly creative tips and tricks that came out among the marketing ideas of May 2020.
22 MARKETING IDEAS FROM MAY 2020
1. NEED TO STAND OUT? KNOW YOUR PURPOSE
A lot of experts say people didn’t get the info they really wanted out of the endless stream of COVID-19 updates. PR company Hill+Knowlton SA MD Jennifer Leppington-Clark warns that your messaging can get drowned out by the noise in a crisis. The antidote? Find your brand voice – know your purpose and talk to that. Yoco, for example, forgot about trying to sign new business (transactions are down 90% after all) and instead turned their entire company’s focus towards helping existing SMME clients weather the storm.
Ad company Havas SA’s chief creative John Davenport says if you’re struggling to figure out how to market, start by figuring out what you can DO before asking what to say. During COVID-19 lockdown in America Hyundai responded to trends by replacing car ads with ones that offer unemployment relief options for people who’ve been retrenched, for example.
You might remember that the idea of “knowing yourself before marketing” was a big theme in the recent interview with Design Infestation founder Christo Maritz. And that’s because it’s one of the things we specialise in through our brand strategy service. Need advice? Talk to us.
2. INNOVATION IN ACCOMMODATION
You’d have thought that lockdown would mean a total dead loss for hotels, lodges and B&B spaces. But accommodation broker and investor Kim Whitaker dreamed up an ingenious innovation while herself recovering from COVID-19 infection. It’s an initiative that opened up now-closed accommodation spots to healthcare workers, and it’s called Ubuntu Beds.
What could South Africa do differently in the fight against Covid-19?Our solution is to unite hospitality businesses with on-the-ground healthcare workers, offering them empty rooms in which to stay; reducing their commutes and the risk of them passing the virus on to their loved ones.Visit ubuntubeds.org to sign up, donate, or for more information.#covid19insa #coronavirus #helpourhelpers #hospitality #healthcare #healthcareheroes #covid19
Posted by Ubuntu Beds on Thursday, 23 April 2020
One of the biggest fears for doctors and nurses on the frontline is accidentally taking the virus home and infecting their own families. At the same time, a lot of hotels are standing empty. So, what the initiative does is give healthcare workers a bed (self-service) for free. But here’s the kicker: it’s such a nice gesture that businesses and people are donating towards it, to cover the hotel’s running costs. And that means accommodation spaces that would otherwise have had no income whatsoever can now at least pay their bills.
3. DIGITAL CONSULTATIONS
Services that traditionally required in-person contact needs to innovate. One example is virtual home viewings in the property sector. But what about contractors? Surely the designer or builder needs to be on-site to advise and quote accurately? Not anymore.
One company that embraced “the new” is Sandton-based Bella Bathrooms. They’ve created an app that uses your phone camera to have video consultations with their interior designers. So you can plan your bathroom remodel, even during the lockdown.
4. DIGITAL EXPERIENCES
Following the examples of a whole range of museums and parks around the world offering virtual visits and experiences, places that would otherwise have seen no interest or traffic during this time can still surprise and entertain. For example, the daily virtual game drives the Ngala Reserve:
Even KZN conservation centre, Crocworld in Scottburgh, is staying top of mind with a series of regular webinars, seminars and videos on their wildlife. And they’ve shown it needn’t be a huge tech investment, Crocworld just does it through simple Facebook videos:
Puff Adder Talk
Posted by Crocworld Conservation Centre on Monday, 4 May 2020
Just goes to show that there’s always room for innovation, no matter your industry.
5. PLUS: ZOOM AROUND THE WORLD
Serving multiple international brands and coordinating strategic business plans across continents when you can’t physically travel is quite a thing. Design Infestation’s team had to organise loads of virtual meetings across timezones in this time. Here’s a peek inside how we’ve managed it in the last week:
6. RETAIL: PREP FOR MULTIPLE SCENARIOS
Even as we headed towards easing of restrictions during the pandemic, experts said that consumer behaviour might be very altered. A new McKinsey survey found that 89% of South Africans were worried about their personal finances for the months after the pandemic. Some 60% had lost income and 65% stopped making purchases they would otherwise have made.
To help retailers understand and better prep themselves, Nielsen prepared a scenario report that tries to paint a picture of consumer behaviour could be like, with short- (3 months), medium- (6 months) and long-term (6+ months) social-distancing, quarantine and lockdown impacts.
In short, countries where people spend less time in lockdown, the easier it will be for retail to bounce back. But with longer lockdowns you’re more likely to see people focusing only on bare basics, local supply dependence and severe social impacts that could require retailers to completely reinvent themselves int he future.
7. FOCUS ON MARKETING YOUR BRAND
PR Agency Positive Dialogue’s brand experiential director Kelly Byrne reminds us that the longer people are in a crisis, the more strain it puts on their connection to their go-to brands. So now, more than ever, it’s time to lead with brand marketing.
We can help with that – see our brand strategy service.
8. INVEST IN E-COMMERCE
If it wasn’t for COVID-19, online sales would have doubled its SA footprint by 2020. (Which it might still do, we’ll have to see.) And, though the lockdown restrictions put a damper on that initially, when government reopened online sales, we were potentially on track to seeing huge growth in online sales – it was happening everywhere else in the world. So we shouldn’t be surprised if clients start preferring to buy online. Prepare accordingly.
9. FOCUS ON BUILDING DEEPER RELATIONSHIP WITH CUSTOMERS
With the crisis having disrupted in everyday life, Gullan&Gullan Ads MD Michael Gullan reminded us that not everyone is “getting used to” working from home and social distancing during protracted lockdowns. It might have started off well, but people are craving their old routines. And this is where brands can play an important role in deepening connections with customers.
Useful, relevant content that works and creates structure as people adjust to their new at-home lifestyle can help maintain your brand relationships.
10. WHEN MARKETING: PUT THE CUSTOMER FIRST
We’ve learnt that, during a crisis, people need content that really matters. The consumer needs to see themself in your stories. And, from content marketing to advertising, the best way to achieve that is to start with your audience. What do they want/need/feel right now? Anything else is just noise.
Ads24’s special projects editor Gayle Edmunds suggests 7 questions to ask yourself about every piece of content you put out there in a crisis.
11. FOCUS ON CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Marketing tech firm Salesforce released their 6th annual State of Marketing Report, this time including marketing data from South Africa. It shows that, apart from innovation, the most important focus for marketing people around the world right now is customer experience.
The main thing is creating ways to build relationships with your customer, beyond the first time they buy. And no doubt the big focus for customer experience is how to do it all online. For example, during the COVID-19 lockdown, both Virgin Active and Planet Fitness started offering free virtual classes for members and non-members alike.
12. KEEP AN EYE ON WHATSAPP
It’s already a widely-used way for customers to connect with businesses – or even to run your customer support on. But there were rumours in May 2020 that WhatsApp was beta testing a more robust video meeting/conference feature.
This after people in some countries noticed the latest beta version includes a new “Rooms” icon, similar to the Messenger app’s new video conferencing feature allowing up to 50 people. WhatsApp currently allows 4–8 people. But if rumours are true you might be able to pull more people into an instant meeting or conference directly on the app.
13. THINK AUTOMATED MARKETING WHEN GOING DIGITAL
With the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns forcing businesses to move online and, in some cases, shrinking teams, there’s reason to try and automate your marketing and sales as much as possible. Automate simply means taking the human out of the loop – like, if you have an ad running, don’t have a person capturing the data but use an automated system instead.
SA mail provider Everlytic’s MD Jan-Dirk Engelbrecht says automation could be as simple as setting up autoresponders for whenever a customer interacts online. Or it could be a complex series of pages that guide the user through entire processes of interaction without having to wait for human assistance.
14. STAY ACTIVE IN YOUR CUSTOMER’S LIFE
A small-scale study by communication agency HaveYouHeard showed that a third of South Africans wanted brands to keep connecting with them during the lockdown. In fact, only 8% of people said they don’t want brands to advertise. So, if you weren’t sure, take it as a cue to connect more with your customers.
15. FASTER BUSINESS RECOVERY? GET A CRM TOOL
Really good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools could give businesses the edge in crisis recovery, says tech brand iOCO’s Michael Bornheim. Because a CRM system collects data on your customers, you have more info available to your teams to make better decisions to use in marketing or even product development.
16. PLUS: AVOID LATIN BRAND/PRODUCT NAMES
You might remember people joking about the unfortunate similarity between Corona beer brand and the virus at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The brand even tweeted not to worry, they’re sales were actually up in February. But now, a few months later, sales are actually dropping as Gooogle data shows huge search volumes for the phrases: ‘beer virus’ and ‘corona beer virus’.
Intellectual Property company Spoor & Fisher’s Bianca Balt and Reinard Krüger note that scientists tend to name things using Latin. So, a good lesson to take from this is to think twice before using Latin for your brand or product names, just in case there’s some future outbreak with your name on it. (Yes, yes the pun.)
17. RETAILERS, THINK DIGITAL-FIRST
Business information BCX’s retail ME Jan Bouwer said that May 2020 was a wake-up call for retailers to think further than just plugging the current supply-and-demand holes the pandemic had created. What if you adopt a digital-first strategy? Or at least start working towards growing your digital offering so that it is the bulk of your business, instead of your physical premises.
It might feel like a tall order, but if the past few decades have taught us anything (think World Trade Centre 2001, the 2009 recession, and now Covid-19), it’s that every 7–12 years something unprecedented happens. The right moves now might set you up for more resilient success in the future.
By the way, we at Design Infestation specialise in this kind of brand positioning and digital transformation – feel free to contact us.
18. FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM’S NEW GIFTS CARDS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
In May 2020, little notices started popping up on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook had a “support local business” advert, while Instagram featured a “gift card” on shops’ profiles. And the idea is to allow the public to help those businesses that can’t open fully yet – restaurants, beauty salons, gyms etc.
If you’re unable to trade in Level 3, it could pay to make your loyal customers aware of this service.
19. PREPARE FOR HIGH-TECH PARTNERSHIP MARKETING
While direct marketing still makes up a large part of businesses’ customer acquisition strategy, May 2020 brought with it news of imminent new privacy legislation like Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPIA) that could put a damper on this. But, said data company Omniscient’s Anton Grutzmacher, new “privacy-by-design” technology has solutions. Sophisticated new data-sharing techniques can now allow one company to use a partner company’s data, without ever actually sharing the customer’s information – putting it within the law.
Look out for advanced database sharing solutions that use a partner’s database without actually sharing any info in the marketplace.
20. RE-LOOK YOUR BRAND POSITIONING
DataCore Media MD Grant Lapping reminds us that it’s easier to get noticed by a consumer experiencing a lifechanging event. And most of us are realising that the current pandemic is just that. It will likely change a lot of people’s behaviour in the long run. So, one of the most obvious changes in how your business presents yourself of late is moving to digital platforms. But there are other opportunities too. Either way, it’s always a good time to re-look your brand positioning.
21. LET YOUR LEADERSHIP DO THE TALKING
CEO, MD, Board – whatever your leadership structure – PR guru Regine Le Roux argues that, if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that when things get tough, it pays if your leadership steps up and become the single voice for your brand.
Who better to give accurate information than your CEO? The person who most likely has the most knowledge of all facets of your business. If you haven’t thought about it before, now’s maybe the time to invest in media training, communication skills and strategy.
22. BONUS: CRAYOLA COLOURS OF THE WORLD
Finally! Something that’s refreshingly not related to Covid-19. 21 May was the UN’s World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. And Crayola partnered with specialists around the world to create an all-new diversified skin-colour pack of crayons:
We are excited to introduce our new line of crayons, Colors of the World, available now for pre-order, crayo.la/COTW! 👦🏿👩🏻👦🏽👦🏾👩🏼👩🏾👦🏼👩🏽👦🏻👩🏿 🖍🌈We've teamed up with MOB Beauty co-founder and CEO, Victor Casale, to create 24 new specially formulated crayons representing more than 40 global skin tones. With the Colors of the World crayons, we hope to cultivate a more inclusive world for children of all ages, races, cultures and ethnicities.
Posted by Crayola on Thursday, 21 May 2020
ABOUT THESE #MARKETINGIDEAS
Our team scours the latest news and insights to bring you useful ideas based on actual trends in business and marketing every 7 days – see our marketing ideas this week. And then, to keep our overview scope broad and useful for you, we collect all of our trends-based marketing ideas into a monthly collective. If you want to share ideas or have a question about any of the ideas we’ve shared here, contact us at email@example.com.
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