*Originally published on CommercialIntegrator.com
AV industry consultant Kelly Perkins outlines how integrators and manufacturers must adjust their message in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
On average, between 30 and 40 percent of a typical integrator’s marketing budget is allocated to trade show exhibitions, travel and accompanying marketing materials.
Literally overnight, however, event cancellations and postponements have forced marketers to redistribute those marketing funds elsewhere – and hopefully back into marketing.
Just because we can’t go into the office, that doesn’t mean marketing goes away. Your approach just needs to pivot and refocus on your customers’ specific needs and concerns right now.
Sending the right message during a crisis is incredibly important – and will serve you well for the long term.
A lot of us are working from home and, chances are, your customers are, too.
To put them at ease, provide updates on what you’re doing to protect your employees, how you will continue to serve them, your hours and capabilities, and the helpful resources you’ve made available.
Instead of creating content focused on selling, create content relevant to the situation they’re currently facing: point them to blogs, online training, and other resources on your website (or elsewhere) that discuss currently relevant topics, such as remote working, videoconferencing, podcasting, or even cleaning and disinfecting AV and security equipment.
Why Marketing is Still Important
Almost every organization offers free training: NSCA, BICSI, AVIXA, CEDIA, CompTIA and several manufacturers.
By capturing this information in one place – using your website as a hub of resources, for example – is a great way to provide valuable information to our customers without giving the impression of a hard sell.
Our industry knows better than anyone the value of using technology to connect people. What better time to educate on, train, and assist our customers with the technologies we use routinely?
Over the past week, I’ve connected with more people than I have in months—and that includes friends outside our industry. To make this happen, people are adopting the technology we’ve been preaching for years! How cool is that?
Put those marketing chops to work and show the rest of the world how to do it right:
- Create a consistent, thoughtful message that addresses your customers’ current concerns and puts them at ease. Be positive, but not ignorant.
- Communicate regularly with your customers about your situation, availability, capabilities (especially if they’ve changed recently), how you can help, etc.
- Reorganize or pause pre-planned marketing campaigns that may seem disconnected.
- Create valuable, helpful, genuine content with the goal of keeping your customers efficient and productive; don’t exploit the situation.
- Constantly reassess and pivot your approach based on what you’re hearing from customers – and what’s happening all around us.