What Will Marketing Your Lab Look Like in a "Post-Pandemic" World?
As a water lab manager, you've likely found marketing during a pandemic to be an unexpected and challenging effort. And although the pandemic is still ongoing, it's a good time to at least start planning how you'll market your lab once the crisis has subsided.
A return to "normal" is not going to happen in the very near future, but the release of COVID-19 vaccines means you can begin to roughly project your timeline for next year. How will your marketing efforts change as economic circumstances evolve post-pandemic?
Maintain Your Digital Strategies
One advantage resulting from the pandemic is that in the name of communicating with customers remotely, you have likely introduced or ramped up the use of digital marketing tools. These will remain useful and offer greater flexibility moving forward.
Just because you may soon be able to reach out to current and potential customers face-to-face doesn't mean you can't keep using virtual tools to broaden and vary your marketing options. Maintain the digital strategies you pivoted to this year, including:
- Email newsletters
- Social media posts
- Website and blog content
Adopt a Hybrid Marketing Strategy
Even after the pandemic is officially "over," it is quite unlikely things will return to the way they were before. It will be important to reflect that shift in your ongoing marketing strategy. Here are three key focus areas as you engage customers throughout the transition period.
1. Commitment to the Community
For most of 2020, nearly everyone struggled with unprecedented challenges and pressures. Millions of people lost their jobs, thousands of businesses folded, and many communities struggled to maintain core public services.
In response, countless individuals and organizations have stepped up with contributions and encouragement for their neighbors and communities, and the importance of that spirit will continue indefinitely. Regardless of the specific method of communication you use, your community-centric approach should lie at the heart of your marketing message.
For example, many of the changes you may have made in recent months — receiving samples outside, allowing customers to ship samples, meeting with clients by phone or video conference rather than in person — are intended to protect both your clients and your staff from possible infection. Highlighting these and other changes will enable you to send the message that you are still eager to provide services to your customers but, like them, you've adapted to meet the demands of the new "post-pandemic" world.
As the economy reopens, you're presented with the opportunity to "reintroduce" yourself to current and prospective customers. In addition to the changes implemented in your business process, you may have decided to develop new services, as well. For example, testing wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 has emerged as a promising approach to monitoring outbreaks, and describing those new services as part of your ongoing commitment to public health can be a way of reinforcing that you are still a part of the community and plan to be for the long haul.
3. Empathy and Compassion
Be sure that your marketing strategy and content reflect your concern for your customers and the challenges they've endured. Consider what sort of message they would find both reassuring and informative as they work to revive their business or set their personal lives back on track.
None of us anticipated a year like 2020, and it's still far from clear what shape the "post-pandemic" economy will take. It's not even clear when we can expect a return to consistent economic activity that would be considered "post-pandemic." Consequently, your marketing communication should be as focused on eliciting current customer feedback, and encouraging queries from prospective customers, as it is on talking about the services you provide and the adaptations you've made in response to the pandemic.
In short, be authentic and share your sincere empathy and compassion for what your customers have faced.
Reassure Customers You're Here to Stay
At a time when the world both near and far is changing daily in often dramatic and impactful ways, the best message for any marketing campaign will point to your goal of reinforcing and sustaining your role as a member of the community. Your focus should be on helping those around you rebuild their lives, livelihoods, and industries.
The good news is that from the challenges of the pandemic have come new communication tools and new ways of affirming your goals and services as a business.