COVID-19 has changed the marketing and sales world and some companies are finally listening: It’s no longer about what customers can do for us by buying our stuff. Now, it’s all about what we can do for them. As demanding as it is to craft meaningful messages in troubling times, customers respond to those that make a difference in their lives.
In these troubling times, what customers are looking for is understanding and help. Isolated, alone, stressed, and frightened by an unseen enemy, they look for those who are prepared to come to their aid, those who are on their side.
The good news is that a growing number of companies are getting it. Here are some companies that are looking inward to find ways to help customers cope with a relentless enemy that would harm their health and safety.
Anton’s Cleaners, a dry-cleaning company in New England, took the what-can-we-do-to-help question seriously and came up with an on-target message for the COVID-19 crisis:
We care about your health.
Sterilization is a standard part
of our cleaning process
The company offered no coupons, discounts, or “Offer expires in 2 days notices.” Instead it provided a simple, direct, and factual message, that answers the question of why someone should take their clothes to Anton’s.
The message neither knocks down competitors, nor is it price driven. Instead, it highlights an existing benefit. It’s a guess that few Anton’s customers knew their clothes were being sterilized and all of a sudden, it’s a huge deal.
Even so, there’s another side to the story. Supermarkets everywhere jumped in with early morning hours for the most vulnerable coronavirus age group: those age 60 and older. Some didn’t stop there. They limited the number of customers in a store at the same time, provided wipes, and installed see-through barriers at check-out registers.
So why does it take something like a whack on the head with a two-by-four to come up with a worthwhile idea like providing early- morning hours for seniors? We talk “customer commitment” to death, without having a clue as to what it means.
Happily, a growing number of businesses are now getting it and are coming up with innovative ideas that benefit customers. Here’s a snapshot of a few that are doing it right:
- Communications has increased internet download speeds from 30 MPS to 50 MPS to help improve productivity for at home workers.
- Best Buy offers contactless curbside service for purchases and returns.
- Constant Contact has a free Website Builder Business Plus plan to help small businesses get an ecommerce site up and running.
- The Institute of WorkComp Professionals is offering its members a free five-part webinar series on prospecting and LinkedIn positioning.
- Planet Fitness offers free online home workouts.
Some cynics may scoff that these companies want more business. So what? Along with other organizations, these companies are digging deeply to find new and innovative ways to be of help to their customers at a painfully difficult time.
All we need now is more like these companies and we’ll come through this crisis, energized, and on our feet.
John Graham of GrahamComm is a marketing and sales strategy consultant and business writer. He is the creator of “Magnet Marketing,” and publishes a free monthly eBulletin, “No Nonsense Marketing & Sales Ideas.” Contact him at email@example.com.