Are you marketing for a Covid-19 Christmas?

COvid CHristmas

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Oh 2020, what an absolute nightmare you’ve been.  You almost started off with a third world war, you burnt half of Australia, and then locked us all at home whilst a virus rampaged around the world.  It would be nice to think that it will all be over before Christmas.  But we cannot guarantee it.

In any other year, right now, we would all be furiously creating our campaigns for the peak sales period.  But this year people are being tentative about getting their peak sales season marketing going. 

Perhaps this is because nobody knows what Christmas will look like this year.

Everyone is worried about Santa slipping down their chimney with a bright red face mask complete with white woolly trim.  A Covid-19 Christmas seems very much on the cards, so how do we market for that?

Christmas is happening

We start by being reassuring

Everyone has an opinion on how the pandemic is being handled.  Whether it is Noel Gallagher stretching for long lost relevance, or Janet from the school playground; everyone is making a chaotic mess of it all. 

So, everything can be a bit confusing, for both your customers and your brand.  The media gives conflicting accounts of whether there will be second spike, or that we are over the worst.   The worst thing we can do as marketers is to give in to the fear.  In fact, our job is to do the opposite.

Marketers and business owners should be working together to make sure that they are delivering solutions, and not stirring up more problems.  Adopt a reassuring tone and begin solving your customers problems.

Christmas is still happening.  It may look different than it has in previous years, but we still can celebrate.  Our job, as marketers, is to reassure people that they will not lose their festive season. 

In fact, we should be making it easier for them.

Look but don’t touch this Christmas

You have to give it to the logistics firms and the couriers throughout lockdown.  They have done a sterling job of keeping us safe.  The contactless deliveries that we have received have not only physically made sure that we are safe but have given us peace of mind.  And this has been an important part of anyone’s service.

You might not sell on Amazon.  You also might not have thought about doing deliveries before now.  However, with Christmas coming, you cannot afford to run the risk that your shop may not be open and then lose heavy sales through the peak sales period.

Whether you are adding a delivery service, or have been doing one for some time, now is the time to push it.  Make sure that your customers know that you will be operating a delivery that is COVID-proof and contactless.

If reassurance is the word of the season, then this will go a long way to demonstrate that you are taking your customers health and safety very seriously.

2020 apocalypse

Avoid making predictions

Mark Ritson makes a valid point in an article for MarketingWeek.  He tells us to avoid unhelpful research:

“While the sample for the Ratuken research, a global group of 8,673 adults, is more than enough to tick the box of representation, the validity of asking people how they think they will behave in six months’ time is 100% stupid.”

COVID-19 has changed so much about our behaviours and buying habits, that making any suggestion of how we will be Christmas shopping is futile at this point.  We are yet to find out whether there will be another lockdown.  Some cities are having curfews imposed upon them.  If we don’t know how the nation is going to be operating in four months’ time, then how can we be certain of our own behaviour?

Don’t allow research and predictions to colour and flavour your marketing campaigns just in case something does change.  You may feel that your theories are correct, and you may also feel justified in believing that Christmas will turn out a certain way.

But this is 2020.  Your complacency could trigger an apocalyptic event.

Best to play it safe.

Start now

Where were you this time last year?  Were you nervously sitting on your bed watching the media sensationalise a pandemic and hoping to find a clear time to start talking about Christmas? 

No, you were pounding the keys, taking pictures, drawing pumpkins, thinking about the new year celebrations, and planning your time off.  Sooner or later either you or your competitor, are going to realise that continued procrastination will only cause you more problems further down the line.

Isn’t it better that you realise this first?

Get the early traction, reach those customers now whilst they are still floating around in Chrimbo-limbo. 

That is the only way that you can possibly capitalise on the peak sales season.

If there is something you wish to add to the conversation, please comment below.

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