Practical Ways to Shift Your Marketing Tone During COVID-196 min readReading Time: 4 minutes
Marketing messaging during COVID-19 is uncharted territory for most marketers. This article provides guidance on the type of content veterinarians are looking for, communication strategies, and tips for adjusting the tone of your message to align with the needs of the market.
Create Valuable Content
Clear & Simple
There is more content than any veterinarian can possibly consume right now. Make sure your message is clear and simple. Use clean graphics and simple, high-impact messaging that gets your call to action across in as few words as possible. Now is not the time to get clever with subject lines and send names.
If you didn’t send that email, would your audience miss it? If the answer is “no,” don’t send it. Your brand should be singularly focused on providing value that veterinarians will both appreciate and remember.
Be a Leader
Prove the leadership of your brand by exposing what your company is doing to help during the pandemic. Social media is a great vehicle for this content. A recent survey revealed that 75% of consumers believe that companies have a responsibility to help with the outbreak.1
Understand & Advocate for AVMA Guidelines
The natural inclination of marketers in the current climate is to put out content that shows creative ways to continue using your product or service. However, ensure that your suggestions are in alignment with the AVMA’s guidelines. Condoning actions that are in conflict with the AVMA’s guidelines could negatively impact your brand.
If you have questions about how these guidelines impact your business, please reach out to the Brief Media team. One of our in-house DVMs is happy to consult with you.
Communication Strategy with Customers vs. Prospects
Most marketers are quickly retooling marketing campaigns to serve the evolving needs of veterinarians. Don’t overlook the value of providing educational opportunities for the entire veterinary team. Successful campaigns will put selling aside and take a critical look at the current needs of the market and take a human approach.
Make Customers Feel Like Family
Focus on messaging that makes your current customers feel like part of your brand’s family. For many of your customers, the best thing you can do is make them feel like they have a partner during this time. A recent survey revealed that 43% of consumers found it reassuring to hear from brands that they trust.2 Don’t miss this opportunity to put your arms around your customer base.
Consider extending special customer-only service to prove that you are there for them. Examples include customer-exclusive CE that teaches how to use your product or service better, free exclusive video training from a key opinion leader in the space, or free one-on-one consultations.
Your sales team should reach out personally via phone to every customer in their territory to ask how they are doing, and if the company can do anything to help them. During these calls, the sales organization can offer the exclusive customer training to ensure they are aware of it. These calls will provide deep insight into the needs of your customers and will allow your brand to respond most appropriately.
Strengthen Bonds of Collaboration with Prospects
Now is an opportunity to forge new relationships with prospects. Reach out and make them feel welcome in your community. This is the time to show—not just tell—what your brand is about.
Extend long-term relationship-building value-adds such as free continuing education. The content of this education should be designed to educate prospects about a high-level topic that includes your product or service as a part (not the sole focus) of the course.
If your product has potential to help veterinarians during the COVID-19 outbreak, consider offering them free trials, samples, or deferred payment terms. If you plan to offer specials during this time, be sensitive to the tone and language that you use when doing so. In the face of real business hardship, our veterinary community, like most, is sensitive to feeling like they are being sold something.
Message Tone—Don’t Overlook It
Campaigns aren’t the only thing that need an overhaul right now—take a critical look at the tone of your messaging. Each brand has its own persona and tone, but now is the time to look at the human side of your brand and bring it to light—quickly.
When surveyed, 42% of consumers said that brands mentioning the COVID-19 outbreak in any way was ok, while 44% said it depended upon the brand’s message.1 Tone and content has never been more important when communicating with our audience.
Calm & Realistic
The power of brands is that unlike people, they remain constant and unemotional during times of stress. Now is the time to prove your brand is calm, steadfast, and realistic. Don’t make unfounded claims or give opinionated commentary on the global situation. Instead, remain consistent; people are searching for things that feel normal and familiar—your brand can offer that comfort.
Your messages should prove you understand the challenges veterinarians are facing—and that your brand is in it with them. Industry-specific stories and concrete examples of how your brand understands will provide credibility.
Trustworthy & United
From marketing messages to one-on-one interactions with customers, your brand should present a unified front. During this time, consistent messaging and tone throughout every touch point is essential to present your brand as a trustworthy partner with a comprehensive plan for the future. The Guinness ad has received much praise for its ability to bring a message of unity and hope without ever mentioning COVID-19.
Appreciative & Positive
Show appreciation for key players in our community who are doing things to help—both big and small. Create a community of positivity, while being realistic in expectation-setting about the future. Negativity is fatiguing. People want to interact with brands inspiring positivity and a focus on what’s next.
No Commentary, Just Support
The global stage is changing daily. Brands should refrain from commentary, unless specifically qualified to provide it. Instead, focus on providing support in any way you can and focus on how your brand is responding. This may include sharing information about how you are keeping your employees safe or how you are helping either your local community or the veterinary market.
Are Veterinarians Looking for COVID-19 Information?
Veterinarians are actively searching for authoritative information about COVID-19. The Clinician’s Brief website has experienced a 33% increase in daily website traffic as a direct result of the newly launched COVID-19 resource center.
Our team has been working tirelessly to create the most relevant and timely guidelines for veterinary practices facing COVID-19. We are here to discuss the impact of the outbreak on your business and brainstorm about the most relevant content that you can provide to your audience in this time of need.
We welcome the opportunity to provide guidance on messaging to our community and ways to help your brand. Feel free to reach out at any time. We look forward to supporting you.
- Ace Metrix. How brands are navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Insights Blog. Published March 19, 2020. https://www.acemetrix.com/insights/blog/how-brands-are-navigating-covid19-pandemic
- Christie D. 4As: 56% of consumers interested in brands’ COVID-19 initiatives. Marketing Dive. Published March 24, 2020. https://www.marketingdive.com/news/4as-56-of-consumers-interested-in-brands-covid-19-initiatives/574728
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