You Ask, I Answer: What to Market During a Crisis?

Jennifer asks, “Given the climate I’m torn, do I hold off on the monthly newsletter, or do we bring some normalcy to inboxes with informative industry specific info?”

As has been documented in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes about 66 days – two months – for a new habit to settle in. When we talk about “the new normal”, we’re talking about a period of 2 months for people to develop new habits. In that time period, focus exclusively on being helpful (and not asking for much, if anything) while you study what the new normal is. Once you get past that two month window, you’ll have a better idea of how people may behave going forward. Give people the option to put you on pause if your systems support it.

Act like you’re the leader of your community. What is best for the people you serve?

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode Jennifer asks, given the climate I’m torn, do I hold off on the monthly newsletter? Or do we bring some normalcy to inboxes? With informative industry specific information? This is a really good question because obviously a lot of marketers are in the same boat and there have been no shortage of companies that have done.

Marketing that on a good day would be described as tone deaf on a bad day would be described as outright insulting their audiences.

So how do you handle a situation like this? When it comes to understanding a massive major change to your audience’s behavior, you have to look at how long is it going to be before they settle into their new behaviors and what are their new behaviors look like? You can start looking at new behaviors immediately.

Just studying passively tracking, asking questions serving me But for the most part just observing, if you have a list of customers that you follow on Twitter, see what it is they’re sharing see what it is they’re talking about.

And start cataloging just you know, in a standard little journal, a notebook and nothing fancy.

Things that you notice things you notice people doing so that you can later on go and qual quantitatively survey people about those observations.

That’s part one, part two.

People take time to set new habits in a in a study in the European Journal of social psychology.

in that study, they measured how long it took for a new habit to stick and the median was 66 days, about two months little more than two months for a new habit to settle in for it to become automatic for people to do.

Which by the way, is far more than the often cited but not scientifically proven.

21 days So, two months you have of people’s habits being unsettled as they try to find a new normal as they try to figure out how life is supposed to work.

Now, for good, or ill the current situation that we’re in, looks like it’s gonna last for longer than two months.

So you will be able to get a baseline on many of those habits during that time.

So what do you do right now? Right now.

It’s okay to maintain the cadence and the frequency, but you have to change the content.

You have to change what it is you share.

And this is where a lot of that qualitative information will be helpful.

Because what you need to provide is stuff that is helpful, legitimately helpful to people and avoid asking for too much.

Right now.

People don’t have a new normal right now.

You know, the applecart has been upset.

There’s stuff everywhere.

So we have to focus on what it is that people need from us right now.

And For some companies, for some industries that may be nothing, right? That may be we don’t offer anything at all because none of our products or services are good fit for the current environment.

You know, for example, if you’re a nightclub there’s not a lot of content you can offer about your products and services that will help you can create content that is helpful, like how to have virtual parties, but your business will not benefit from that except by attention until you figure out how to pivot your business model for the new normal.

If your informational industry specific information is useful to your audience, and is adapted for current events, then by all means, share it because yes, as much as people are focused on the news, people are also exhibiting signs of fatigue, right because there’s only so much stress strain your body can handle.

We know beyond a shadow of scientific doubt that cortisol, the stress hormone, has substantial negative effects on the body.

And at some point, anything is better than being under constant strain.

And there are other neurotransmitters epinephrine, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin that need to be provided to counteract those.

And so if there’s anything routine and rhythmic and predictable and regular and not a stressor, some people will respond positively to that.

My suggestion would be if your marketing automation system supports it, go ahead and and let people have the option to pause marketing and that way they can, you know, say, hey, we’ll pause it for a week, a month, two months so that they have the choice if your system supports it.

And otherwise, focus on being helpful as as helpful as you can be listened to people ask people, what do you need help with that our business could could reasonably provide? Whether it’s, you know, industry info entertainment perspectives, you may want to look at, you know, since the world has been forced, essentially to go almost completely digital, what are the options that are available to you, that provide some of that digital entertainment.

If you’re in travel, right now, physical travels off the table.

But virtual travel is on the table.

There are, you know, no shortage of apps like Google streetview and things where you can go see interesting places around the world and not leave your chair not leave your your home.

Your editors, your content creators should be putting together virtual tours.

Just give people 15 minutes like hey, here’s a list of 10 places Just check out on Google streetview that you’ve never been to.

That’s pretty cool.

If you are in the insurance industry, you absolutely should be talking about, you know, the different types of insurance and how people should be thinking about invoking their insurance or drawing down on it if you’re in financial services.

every industry in every company is impacted by current events.

So the question is, what can you do to be helpful about that, with that with the information you have to share? So, keep the frequency allow people to punch out if they just can’t handle any more of anything right now.

be helpful, provide value.

provide as much value as you can give without it being substantially harmful to your company.

Because in a time of crisis, scarcity is the greatest enemy we have.

And that’s what Makes enemies right so if you are trying to take from people instead of trying to give to people you will be on their list of companies they do not want to do business with you is a bad place to be.

Campbell Robertson said it best scarcity makes us all what can you do to be the opposite of scarcity? Again within practical business limits.

So that’s the strategy for now.

Keep an eye on current events without stressing yourself out and think about how you can be helpful think about whether or not you are a leader in your industry.

act as though you were.

act as though you are the leader what is best for your community in the long term, what is best for the people that give you value as customers what is best for them.

Temporarily put aside what is best for your company, make it second on the list, but act like that leader that You may or may not be what would a true good leader do in a situation like this? That’s the way to think about this for now.

As always, if you have follow up questions, please leave them comments box below.

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