Audience Behaviors During COVID-19

March 30, 2020

Over the past 30 days, the United States has seen a substantial economic downturn due to the coronavirus. The virus has not only caused stocks to crash, but businesses to shutter and employees to be laid off. The pandemic has also sent millions of people home, where they are not used to being for all day, every day. It should be expected that typical marketing audiences are going to experience changes in behavior due to these extreme and atypical circumstances.

How is your audience reacting to this situation? It could be assumed that typical marketing results cannot be expected during this time, and that marketing plans should be adjusted to meet the current needs of your audience. Here are some considerations in regards to audience behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic:

 

  1. Increased online activity.  As people have been sent to their homes and urged to practice social distancing, their extra time is being spent doing more online browsing and streaming. According to Forbes, internet usage is up between 50-70% due to COVID-19. If your marketing campaigns have not been digitally focused in the past, then you’re missing out where people are. Consider how you could engage with this channel adjustment, and how typical means of communicating via mail or email (especially if B2B) may need to be halted if business targets are no longer operating, or have relocated from their typical brick and mortar locations.
      

  2. Income considerations. As mentioned earlier, the economic impacts of COVID-19 on the business sector have been intense. Millions of jobs have been impacted and unemployment is skyrocketing across the country. Will your target market be impacted? Understanding the occupations of your typical purchasers and even age (do they live on a fixed income in retirement?) would help to understand why purchases may be trending down. If this is an impact to your target market, your business should evaluate the most helpful messaging and potential sale offers to help this group out during a difficult time.
     

  3. Home life. With schools temporarily suspending class, and many daycares closing, parents across the country have found themselves in a unique situation – trying to play caretaker and employee at the same time. A major adjustment is going on to gain balance between the two roles and to keep those kids active and engaged throughout the day. What can your brand do to ease their pain? Are you able to offer free online activities, livestream educational events, or create fun videos for the whole family? If this group is your target audience, it may be hard to get their attention during this time, but offering something useful/helpful for them may earn some brand loyalty.
     

  4. Emotional considerations. Social distancing is a challenging thing, especially when we’re used to being around others in a typical day. This could create a very challenging time for some, especially those who live on their own. Consider how your brand could help someone going through a time of depression, loneliness, or loss. Keep your marketing lighthearted, or find a way to shine light on good deeds and create warm fuzzies. How could you do that? Have your business do some good deeds, promote local businesses, offer humor in your ads, social media or emails. It’s easy to go dark when everything feels heavy – let’s all do our job to show compassion for others and help each other through this difficult time.

 

Like all things, this too shall pass. What do you want your audience to think about your brand on the other side of COVID-19? While some may consider this a challenge, for marketers it is an opportunity to build stronger relationships and strengthen brands through the human connection.

 

If you’d like help understanding who is in your target market, contact us at B2E. We’re here to help!
 

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