Sales and Marketing

Situational Marketing: Developing Your Brand in Hard Times

May 1, 2020

Situational marketing is a unique technique for reaching customers. Learn how your brand can benefit from this strategy during hard times.

Image of a desk top, with coffee, a smart phone, and a computer with the word BRAND on the screen.

Staying at home means drastic changes to our daily lives.  Among the changes, many of us now have an opportunity to watch the morning news.  If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice the commercials in between the news segments are different than they’ve ever been.  Normally, we see businesses promoting their goods or services.  Now, nearly every advertisement includes some element of how to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic.  That is situational marketing at its best.

A company’s brand is important, and business owners should remain aware of the perception of their brand.  So, here is what situational marketing can do to keep your business front and center with customers, even in the hardest of times.

The Ins and Outs of Situational Marketing

Situational marketing is an advertisement campaign geared toward an audience’s distinct circumstances.  The thing that differentiates situational marketing from a typical marketing campaign is the depth at which a company digs to reach its audience. 

For example, during ordinary times, a t-shirt company might focus on providing sturdy, yet comfortable, attire.  During a pandemic, however, that company might use situational marketing to show that the same t-shirt material is perfect for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  The company would then include a free mask with each t-shirt purchase.  PPEs are all over the media lately, as people worry about the risk of exposure when going out in public and returning to work.  So, that t-shirt company being mindful of customer fears, and delivering on their needs, is situational marketing.

The Benefits of Situational Marketing

No one will argue that marketing is good and necessary.  Therefore, it is beneficial to identify different ways to market your business.  Situational marketing is especially beneficial because it shows customers that you are truly aware of what is going on around you.  When you run a situational marketing campaign, customers know you are not playing reruns of stock ads you created a year ago.

Image of a silhouette of a person with identity-related words, showing how situational marketing explains who a company is.

Besides this situational marketing builds trust with customers.  This, however, can only happen when customers can see that you are putting your money where your mouth is.

The most important benefit of situational marketing is that a company that truly embraces this strategy will eventually evolve into a company where the mission statement and company values align with the desire to truly feel part of customers’ circumstances.  Some companies launch with these values at the forefront of their mission, while others develop them as they go.   Simply put, engaging situational marketing with a company’s mission answers the question, “When push comes to shove, who are we?

Related:  Salesman or Sales Professional? 5 Ways to Distinguish Yourself

Situational Marketing Strategies

While it’s not necessarily possible for every industry to turn their products into PPEs, there are situational marketing strategies all companies can use.

Acknowledge the situation.

First, don’t be an ostrich.  It’s a bad idea to pretend that we aren’t in the midst of a crisis.  This kind of attitude will only alienate your customers, because they will think you are disconnected from reality.  So, be intentional about acknowledging the situation as soon as you have the right words to address your thoughts.  Be specific with terminology when developing your situational marketing strategy.  This way, there will be no confusion as to your purpose.

Ask for customer feedback.

Image of word bubbles saying, "feedback / we listen."

Try not to talk at your customers.  Instead, have a conversation with them.  A conversation includes statements, questions, and responses.  So, give your customers a way to provide feedback.  Asking for customer thoughts and suggestions is a good way to incorporate situational marketing. 

Deliver action, not lip service.

Anyone can say the right things, but your actions will make you stand out from the competition.  Thus, know that customers will be quick to identify businesses who are simply talking the talk, versus those who are walking the walk in the trenches.

Partner with local charities.

Not every company has the means to hand out cash or give away free products or services, especially during a crisis.  However, local charities are great resources, and they often have many connections.  Partnering with local charities is a great situational marketing strategy that can strengthen your message, showing customers that you are doing your part to lend a hand.

Continue to stay in front of customers.

One thing is for certain:  If you don’t stay in front of your customers, someone else will.  Therefore, be ever present, so that customers’ eyes will remain on you.  Remember that your situational marketing strategy will change, depending on the events taking place.  So, be sure to continue to reach out to customers, making the most relevant events the focus of the discussion.

Journey Forward with Situational Marketing

At Journey Payroll & HR, we make it our daily mission to humanize payroll for the workplace.  In order to accomplish this, we have to stay on top of what’s happening in the workplace, and also in the world.  Still, we don’t want to hoard the information we know, and what are continuously learning, for ourselves.  We want to share our knowledge with you

Related:  Your Brand at its Best: Five Focal Points for Branding Your Business

So, that’s where Journey Forward comes in.  We aim to provide the most relevant resources and materials to our clients, meeting you wherever you are in your business journey.  We are mindful of current events so that we can be ready to pivot with you on a moment’s notice.  Using the resources in Journey Forward, we want you to feel equipped to press on, regardless of what life throws at you.  This includes ways to use situational marketing to turn lemons into lemonade.

More than anything, we want you to know that we understand what you are going through.  We’ve been there, we are there with you now, and we will be there in the days to come.

Situational Marketing and Beyond

Situational marketing isn’t just a business strategy.  When done properly, it can also be interconnected with your company’s mission and your vision for the future.  So, avoid hiding from the curveballs that come your way.  Engage customers and align with partners who will make you stronger.  Remember to stay in front of your customers and remain active.  Always stand in your ready position. Finally, keep Journey Forward in mind, and eventually it might even turn into the mantra that gets you through your day.

Image  of a young girl at bat, standing in her ready position, wearing a helmet, and bandage on her elbow.

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