Life as we know it has changed. Business as we know it has changed. In a few short weeks, the world came to a full halt. All non-essential businesses were forced to shut their doors. Work from home set ups and video conference calls have become the norm. Although physical locations may be closed, many “non-essential” businesses have found ways to keep doing “business as usual.”
When it comes to businesses continuing marketing strategies, the question has seemed to be “should we focus on business as usual” or “do we address the global pandemic and shift our current strategy.” The answer, we have found, is to do a little bit of both. Realizing we’re all staying connected to each other digitally, marketers have been quick to adapt digital tactics to shift focus of their media plans.
Addressing COVID-19 early on: 2 key ways to stay successful
With many of our clients, “business as usual” has been quite easy. In the case of our Medicare clients, people age 65+ always need health insurance, and with a sudden job loss or another event in the wake of the global pandemic, they may now qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to sign up or switch. So, when those clients reached out early on for our recommendations about addressing COVID-19 with their current customers, and how to continue marketing strategies to prospective customers for the time being, we offered two immediate short-turnaround tactics:
Communicate with current customers quickly! The first recommendation to our clients was to address their current customers as quickly as possible. Email campaigns were the perfect way to reach them, and fast. We wanted our clients to assure people that they were there for them during this difficult time, offer suggestions on ways to stay safe — washing hands, wearing protective gear, social distancing, etc. — and ways they could still contact their health care providers while safely at home. We recommended that our clients then continue with a robust email campaign to keep customers informed about any new issues that may arise due to the virus.
Adjust current strategy to be beneficial to consumers. DMW has also worked with our clients, including Medicare health plans, to figure out how to adjust their current strategy to help consumers. For example, one client created display and Facebook ads to promote Medicare webinars instead of their usual in-person seminars for Medicare information. Others have added messaging focused on job loss and how to sign up for new health insurance coverage. Creating relevant landing pages has also been a way to house all information related to COVID-19.
Keeping consumers safe, healthy, and informed should be the top priority of any brand right now.
Creative ways brands can stay connected to consumers
There are several different, creative ways that any brand can stay connected to consumers, even during these difficult times. We have found that the best recommendations are to increase or adjust their digital presence as part of their overall strategy by:
In general, expanding campaign targeting to audiences that may now be relevant that weren’t before. A strategy mentioned above: health plans targeting the recently unemployed or uninsured and notifying them that they may now be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).
Keeping messaging relevant by focusing on how the world is right now and not looking ahead to being “back to normal.” Address safety concerns and steps that are being taken to ensure the health and safety of consumers is top priority. Creating a relevant landing page for all things COVID-19 may be a helpful way to find answers to their questions.
Using email campaigns as a way to directly connect with current customers to keep them up to date on COVID-19 and the ways the business is directly affected, e.g., now offering takeout/curbside pickup, new in-store shopping protocols.
Offering information to prospective customers about new ways to stay connected, whether in small groups or virtually (i.e., limited capacity meetings or webinars instead of in person). Do this by utilizing programmatic display ads and/or Facebook ads.
Posting display ads programmatically to job sites, such as Monster and Indeed, if your product or service can help when employment status or income shift.
Using Facebook to keep consumers updated about COVID-19. These can be ads targeting an appropriate age segment, or life events. Boosted posts are the perfect way to keep current Facebook fans up to date with information.
Retargeting consumers who may be searching for information related to COVID-19 with paid search ads as well as with programmatic display ads.
Potentially launching campaigns specifically targeting HR directors who may want to offer their employees options for health care insurance. This can be done using platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook.
Keeping consumers safe, healthy, and informed.
That alone should be the top priority of any media strategy right now. Be sure to address any safety concerns consumers may have once the world finds its new normal. And as always, giving information clearly and concisely will leave consumers happy with your brand.
DMW is here to help any way we can.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses must stay nimble with operations and marketing. We can help you quickly develop, implement, and execute digital strategies and/or tactics to strengthen your brand and better position you for success — contact us today. Medicare marketers can also download our 7-Point AEP Checklist to help you start preparing for this year’s AEP.