Truth in Advertising in the Age of Coronavirus
Here's an update to my last post about marketing automation in a time of crisis:
Some of you have made adjustments to your automated emails and funnel-triggered messages, but frankly many have not.
For example, Ruby Tuesday offered me a dine in buy one, get one (BOGO) offer. (To the restaurant chain's credit, I was also presented with the same offer for takeout.) I was also offered a HUGE discount to fly to Australia on Quantas Airlines (the offer was not directly from Quantas, but from an aggregator).
Frankly, those aren’t even the worst offenders — which I immediately deleted while shaking my head — but you get the picture.
If you're the marketer responsible for messages such as these, even if they're automated messages, you had better get on the ball now. You're putting out messaging that's tone deaf and is going to ding your brand image.
Of course, the same holds true for messaging on social media. Brand marketers have a lot of ads in the social media ecosystem. They also have a lot of social media posts that have already been written and are scheduled to go out daily. Many of those messages were designed for a pre-coronavirus world. And they're pretty distracted thinking about the minute-to-minute changes to our world and their lives. I implore you to take a look at your messaging on social media and double-check what you have automated to go out. Check your ads, too.
So how do you advertise in our current climate?
Be truthful, to start.
Here's a perfect example of that approach in the form of an email that I recently received from Jetsetter.com. The subject line, “29 Beautiful Places to Travel to When We’re Free to Travel Again,” was reflective of the current status of travel in our world.
The message is simple, truthful and keeps the reader focused on a time when things will get back to normal. I can only hope that is soon, because I want to go to at least 10 of the places on Jetsetter's list!
To follow suit, my company, Premo Guard, which primarily sells bed bug spray, pivoted and is currently sending messaging our about our stain remover products. We know it makes a great surface cleaner and even disinfects, but to be truthful, we're also including disclaimers that our product may or may not kill coronavirus on surfaces (despite ingredients that say the contrary). It’s important for consumers to know and make their own decisions. Again, up-front, honest, and authentic messaging is the route we chose to take — even though we wanted to sell more product and keep sales up.
To recap: Review your emails, ads and social messaging, then pivot to communications that are timely and honest. And most importantly, please stay home and be safe!
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior return on investment for almost 30 years. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing.
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Jim Gilbert has had a storied career in direct and digital marketing resulting in a burning desire to tell stories that educate, inform, and inspire marketers to new heights of success.
After years of marketing consulting, Jim decided it was time to “put his money where his mouth was" and build his own e-commerce company, Premo Natural Products, with its flagship product, Premo Guard Bed Bug & Mite Sprays. Premo in its second year is poised to eclipse 100 percent growth.
Jim has been writing for Target Marketing Group since 2006, first on the pages of Catalog Success Magazine, then as the first blogger for its online division. Jim continues to write for Total Retail.
Along the way, Jim has led the Florida Direct Marketing Association as their Marketing Chair and then three-term President, been an Adjunct Professor of Direct and Digital marketing for Miami International University, and created a lecture series, “The 9 Immutable Laws of Social Media Marketing,” which he has presented across the country at conferences and universities.