Pandemic Marketing:  Putting Your Best Steps Forward

Pandemic Marketing - Best Steps Forward

Over a year ago, most of us were led to believe that the pandemic would be short lived and things would soon return to normal. Here we are more than 18 months later still dealing with the challenges that have accosted the business world. There is no doubt that we have all learned to do things differently. No longer can we do things the same way and expect the same results. As these adjustments have been made, there have certainly been opportunities to consider.

One of the biggest areas impacted is marketing. Connecting with potential customers and cultivating existing relationships remains a priority, but how we do that today looks a little different and in some ways, it also looks the same. How so?

Technology Advantage

The pandemic has forced us to consider how to better leverage technology in our marketing efforts without necessarily having to use unknown technology. Think about it. Prior to the pandemic, we used email, digital platforms, banner ads, etc. to generate leads, develop prospects, cultivate relationships and more. Those tools are now being used in a different way to drive our marketing activity. In fact, we are relying on them more than ever before. With limited in-person opportunities for meetings, events, trade shows, etc., our technology communication tools are essential to our marketing activities. Businesses that understand this are making the adjustment by focusing on the tactical elements that work better today than they did just over a year ago.

Adapt and Align with Your Market

So what does this mean to your business? In all likelihood, it means a fairly major strategy adjustment. Putting your best steps forward during this time will give your business the edge it needs to be competitively ahead of the game. A revised marketing strategy will include an evaluation of how your business connects with the market and the tools required to accomplish each tactic. This is the time to consider the new opportunities that may exist as a result of how things are done differently today versus a year ago. Your market may also look a little different, underscoring the importance of capitalizing on that by visibly occupying space in that market with the solutions that businesses need. Your goal is to be well known so that prospects consider your solution as the best option available.

Quick Takeaways

  • Marketing strategy adjustments – look at the new behavior of your market and determine the best way to occupy a presence where your business is needed the most
  • Leverage digital marketing tools – this is likely the time to increase the frequency of your email marketing campaigns, refresh your website, update your banner ads, and evaluate your internet presence
  • Capture new market opportunities – consider how your market operates differently now and determine how to capitalize on the new opportunities that may have arisen as a result of these pivots

Businesses that choose to sit on the sidelines watching to see what happens will quickly be left behind.  Those that understand how to adapt to changing market conditions with a proactive marketing approach will win.  Put your best steps forward and win!

Feel free to share this on your favorite social media sites and email it to a colleague or friend.   

Marketing During Times of Uncertainty

Keep Your Marketing Engine Running

By now, you’re more than overwhelmed with everything related to the coronavirus (COVID-19). It dominates the news and nearly every conversation we have. If we all continue to do our part to protect ourselves from it, we’ll hopefully soon see better days.

This pandemic has made an impact on businesses in a way most of us have never seen before. In a lot of cases, it’s difficult to even know what steps to take that make sense for your business. It also brings to mind the challenge of keeping your marketing momentum going. Let’s be clear: Do NOT shut off your marketing engine. This is not the time to do that. Instead, consider the areas of your marketing that require refocusing.

Thankfully, there are things you can do now to keep your marketing engine running strong. Here are a few recommendations in key areas where you can invest time and energy:

  • WEBSITE – Take this time as an opportunity to review your site and overall messaging. Refine the areas that need it where your site receives the most visits. You can make these enhancements without rebuilding the entire site.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA – With nearly everyone working from home right now, social media platforms are busy. Use this to your advantage by developing a posting strategy that provides useful, insightful and beneficial information for your market. Create links to your website and downloads to engage your audience.
  • DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS – Stay in touch with your customers and prospects. Going “radio silence” on them now is a mistake. They need to hear from you. Offer them information about things that will help their business as it relates to your expertise. You may want to consider having more webinars and increase virtual meeting opportunities.
  • TOOLKIT – Review your marketing toolkit and determine what collateral, success stories, digital brochures, eBooks and other tools need to be updated. Consider any tools that may be missing that you need to add and remove those that are no longer relevant. With heavy emphasis now on digital communications, this is a great time to revamp the contents of your toolkit.
  • OVERALL – As you have time to do so, take a look at your branding, messaging and market position. Use this time to evaluate whether your company is connecting well to your intended market. Identify areas that need to be improved and develop a plan to address them proactively.

It’s worth repeating:  this is NOT the time to shut off your marketing engine. If you do, the challenge to regain your marketing momentum will be an exponentially difficult task. We saw this after the eCommerce and dotcom bubble burst 20 years ago and again in the 2008-2009 downturn.

Smart, resourceful companies with tenacity will adjust the course of their marketing efforts to benefit their business. When we get over this hump, those companies will be in the driver’s seat ready to forge ahead. Be one of those guys! Meanwhile, follow the guidelines of the CDC to stay safe and healthy!

Feel free to share this on your favorite social media sites and email it to a colleague or friend.   

What Drives a Buying Decision?

What Really Motivates or Drives a Buying Decision?

We are surrounded and pounded daily with messages to buy something. Advertisements flood the market on our smartphones, computers, televisions, billboards and more urging us to take action for purchasing a car, home, health care products, business services, clothing – you name it. These messages are present every day, but what really drives us to make a buying decision? That answer usually falls into one of three categories: 1) Cost, 2) Emotions, and 3) Timing.

Cost with Text

Even within the category of cost, there are several aspects that influence our buying behavior. Who doesn’t want to get a great deal when it comes to making a purchase?  It’s hard to find someone who simply pays full price regardless of what they’re buying.  People like to know they’re getting a really good price on the things they buy.  That’s why discounts and sales are extremely powerful.  The idea of “saving money” is a super motivator. 

Incentives also influence the buying process.  While getting a deal through a discount or sale is appealing, so is the opportunity of getting something in addition to your purchase.  Incentives can range from “free oil changes for a year” when you buy a new car to “free cappuccino on your 5th purchase” when buying coffee.  When an incentive is properly designed, it motivates a buyer because they feel like they’re getting more for their money.

Social status.  We would be remiss if we didn’t mention how cost can also be a primary motivator for prestige, significance or social status.  Simply being able to afford something that most people cannot afford to buy can put you into an elite category.  Maybe this is high-end office space that sets your business apart from others or perhaps an expensive automobile that elevates you above the average crowd.  In this case, cost influences the buying behavior of those who know they can afford it and who don’t have to worry about discounts, price reductions or incentives.      

Emotions with Text

Buying behavior is heavily influenced by emotions. That’s kind of a no-brainer, but when you think about it, emotional appeal is very powerful.  Sometimes this means we’re attached to a favorite brand and remain loyal to it – like Apple, Coke, Levi’s or Microsoft.  Brand reputation plays a part in this, too.  If you are consistently pleased with your preferred brand and it stands strong in the market, then you will likely remain emotionally attached to it. 

Solving a problem is also driven by emotions.  When something needs to be resolved and your purchase brings a solution to the situation, you will likely be elated with the result.  The satisfaction of seeing a problem or headache eliminated can be exhilarating.  And sometimes your buying decision solves a huge problem making you an instant hero!

The emotions can also be influenced by peer pressure or prestige.  Think about all the times you’ve seen nearly everyone with the latest product and you felt either left out or had an urge to join the crowd.  It could also be a matter of prestige.  Maybe you just want to feel special, unique or stand out from the crowd.  Instead of joining the masses, you’re looking for an element of significance through your purchase.        

Emotional buying decisions often involve convenience.  The idea of making a purchase that is easy, quick and trouble-free brings with it a certain amount of comfort and sometimes relief.  “Oh, I’m so glad I saw this…I’ve been needing it for a long time and here it is!” would be a common thought that many of us experience when purchasing a convenience item. 

Sometimes emotional purchases are driven by necessity.  These are not always the “fun” kind of purchases, but they take care of an identified need.  Think about the last time you bought a washer and dryer.  Probably not the most exciting thing to buy and often considered a “grudge purchase”.  Appliances are almost always purchased because you have to have them. 

Timing with Text PNG

Finally, most buying behavior is influenced by timing. Within this category, seasonal buying is a big one.  We are all influenced by different seasons of the year.  Aside from the obvious Christmas season, we always see sales for winter, spring, summer and fall.  Apparel is one of the largest product categories for seasonal buys, but we also see this for different products and services throughout the year.  Back to school is huge at the end of summer; tax preparation services are big in the spring; vacation packages are promoted in the summer; along with just about every holiday on the calendar. 

Timing often includes urgency or schedule influence.  In business, this occurs when a need arises in the office environment like equipment or something related to a special project.  For consumers, it may be event-driven like a cookout or special occasion with a specific calendar date that influences all buying preparation. 

Buying decisions made because of timing usually involve an element of pressure.  Deadlines are chiefly responsible for that which means the pressure builds until all necessary purchases have been completed.  A special price that is only valid for a short period of time can easily impact our urgency.  Who doesn’t remember the old television commercials that urged you to “call before midnight tonight…and we’ll double the offer!”      

While there are certainly other factors that can affect our buying behavior and ultimately the purchasing decisions we make, most of them boil down to the cost involved, our own emotions and timing.  When it comes to developing a marketing strategy that is designed to influence buyer behavior, it is imperative to know which element of influence drives your market.  Craft your marketing messages and content strategy to reach your buyers.  Use language and images that they can relate to.  Implement the best methods and ways to make effective connections with your buying market.  You can then create a presence that puts your product or service in the buyer’s sweet spot.

Feel free to share this on your favorite social media sites and email it to a colleague or friend.   

Summer Slump

How to Avoid the Summer Slump

The summer season is probably the most anticipated time of year:  school is out; baseball season is in full swing; the weather is warm; pools are open; people head to the beach; vacations are taken…and more.  It’s also a time of year when we find ourselves busy with “other things” that can easily distract us from our business.  There are those who’ll say, “Oh, it doesn’t matter – it’s summer and no one does much business this time of year.”  And then others will say, “Let’s just wait until summer is over and hit the ground running after Labor Day.”  There it is:  the summer slump.  Here’s how to avoid it.

Revisit your marketing strategy & plan
This is a great time of the year to do the things you may not otherwise have time to tackle.  Right off the bat, revisit your marketing strategy and plan.  Compare what you have already accomplished this year against what was planned.  Then, you can revise accordingly:  what worked well?...what didn’t?  Look at what you have planned for the second half of the year and determine if that is still realistic or requires some tweaking. 

Tighten up your marketing toolkit
After revising your marketing plan, review your sales and marketing toolkit to see what needs to be refreshed, added or even removed.  Pay careful attention to the tools that are helping you connect well with your market and consider tossing out those they do not.  Can your existing tools be improved or are you missing any that would help you achieve your business objectives?  Taking the time to update these communication tools with fresh content and the right messaging will ensure your team is properly equipped to win new business.   

Refresh your website
Now turn your attention to your website.  It’s easy to neglect your site while busy with other priorities, so use the summer months to spend some quality time with your website.  In all likelihood, you’ll need to refine the content to maintain messaging consistency with your sales and marketing toolkit.  Update images, graphics and videos along with links so that your site performs at its best.  While you’re under the hood, review your title and meta tags along with your meta descriptions in case these need to be revised.  This will help maintain your organic search rankings so that your business can easily be found. 

Obviously there are other areas you may need to spend time on, but the point is to maintain a proactive mindset without falling prey to the luring summer sun.  If you use your summer to address these key marketing areas, the dog days will be your friend!

Feel free to share this on your favorite social media sites and email it to a colleague or friend.   

Danger Zones

Avoiding the Marketing Danger Zones

Cruising along with your marketing activities can sometimes be a comfortable thing. In fact, it can be too comfortable if you have them on auto pilot. Even if you don’t, you still have to be strategic and purposeful to ensure your plans are hitting the mark and generating your desired results. That’s why you have to watch out for the marketing danger zones.

The challenge here is that those danger zones are not always obvious. How do you know what they are before they hit you and inflict damage on your marketing efforts?

Be strategic

One of the most prevalent dangers is operating in an opportunistic versus a strategic mode. If you’re always reacting to whatever happens to come along, chances are pretty good that your results will be mediocre at best. Strategy-based marketing will always outperform opportunistic approaches.

Always have a follow-up plan

Another common danger is lack of follow-up after a campaign. It’s very easy to create a campaign, exhibit at a trade show or hold a webinar, but then fail to follow up on any leads generated from these initiatives. It seems crazy to think that’s even possible, yet it is a widespread problem that plagues marketing effectiveness in businesses and organizations of various industries and sizes.

Consistency counts

Then, one of the most damage-inflicting danger zones involves inconsistencies with branding, messaging, content, product/solution offerings and communications. When you send your buying market conflicting messages about who you are, why you exist, how you solve problems and why your solution is the best option, then trouble awaits you. Introducing even an ounce of doubt in your buyer’s mind is extremely dangerous and marketing inconsistencies can easily do that.

Watch the market and your competitors

Other danger zones include a failure to respond to changing market conditions and ignoring your competitors. When influencing factors change your market conditions, you have to be ready with a solid response by either tweaking your content, messaging or solution offering…or all of them if necessary. You will otherwise be left in the dust and perceived as being out of touch. Instead, stay abreast of your market and anticipate how it will change. Similarly, you always want to keep a pulse on your competition. Pay attention to what they are doing and be prepared to respond in a way that casts a favorable light on your business. If you don’t, you’ll risk having your competitors bite you on the backside.

Gird up your marketing and build a stronghold that avoids the danger zones.  Be nimble and ready to respond to strategic opportunities and changing market conditions. When you take this approach, your marketing efforts will be rewarding.

Feel free to share this on your favorite social media sites and email it to a colleague or friend.   

Diet Coke New Flavors 2018

Diet Coke Gets a Makeover...and Four New Flavors

In an apparent move to appeal to the millennial market, Coke has unveiled a new look for Diet Coke.  And, they didn't stop there.  Along with the rebranding came four new flavors:  Ginger Lime, Twisted Mango, Zesty Blood Orange and Feisty Cherry.  Each product is now housed within a sleek new can design to give Diet Coke a youthful appearance.  

The initial responses suggest that Coke is simply jumping on the bandwagon with flavored diet beverage options packaged like many others already on the market.  In fact, not only are other carbonated beverages using sleek can designs, but so are alcoholic beverages that have been doing so for a while.  

It will be interesting to see how the overall market responds to this new look...and new flavors.  Originally introduced to the market in 1982, Diet Coke today is no longer your father's Oldsmobile!  

Feel free to share this on your favorite social media sites and email it to a colleague or friend.   

Calmettos QB PNG

The Marketing Beacon, a provider of custom-developed marketing solutions designed to grow businesses, announces the launch of a new e-Commerce website for Calmettos, LLC. The site is designed to highlight the unique palmetto tree paintings called “Calmettos” by artist and company founder Calhoun “Cal” Harrelson. These original works of art along with complementing products that feature selections of these paintings are available for purchase on the website. To read the full news release, visit: To visit the new site, go to


Logo Makeover

If you haven't seen them by now, here they are:  the new logo for Instagram and the refreshed logo for Aquafina. 

The reviews and responses to Instagram in particular have not been overly favorable.  Many considered the old logo as a beloved retro camera icon while others felt the new look was necessary to create a visual more in step with today's icons. The result is an interesting new logo that combines the simplistic white outline of the iconic camera while adding a vibrant, rainbow-esque background that ironically feels a bit 70's retro.  Regardless, Instagram felt it was necessary and it has certainly garnered major media attention - - which isn't a bad thing.  The brand itself enjoys a huge user base following yet many in that mass have had less than kind things to say about the new mark.  Like all things, time will tell and it will be interesting to see if this direction inspires other brands to follow suit...but hopefully without this psychedelic wave of colors.  

Aquafina, on the other hand, went the subtle route.  The old logo boasted of a jagged mountain range and a serif font with the recognizable elongated letter "Q".  When the in-house team at Aquafina was finished with the new logo, they revealed a toned-down mountain and a very plain font that is popular in many styles today.  Simplicity is the current trend and Aquafina appears to have hit on that.  Even though the roll-out of this new look was accomplished in somewhat of a stealth mode, the reaction to this new mark over the past couple of months has been positive overall.

What About Your Brand Identity?

Having a professional logo with visual appeal that reflects well on your business is important.  A dated logo will make your business look old and amateur while an updated logo will help your company stand out and look current.  Here are a few tips to consider about your logo:

  • Visual impressions matter - don’t give potential customers a reason to discard your business by having a cheap-looking, outdated logo
  • A solid logo design creates a positive impression of your business and differentiates you from competitors
  • Looking outdated may falsely convey that your company is out of touch
  • Be sure your logo connects well with your market without forcing them to figure out what the logo means and what your company is all about

Remember, your logo is only one important piece of your entire branding image.  When you update your logo, be sure to evaluate other components that may need to be refreshed so that your image is consistent across all communication platforms.

Feel free to share this on your favorite social media sites and email it to a colleague or friend.   

The business climate has experienced more conditional changes within the past few years than most people can remember. An uncertain economy, rising unemployment, a weak housing market and many other factors have contributed to these conditions. Although these remain tough times, it isn't a time to fold the tent and hide under the bed. Instead, why not buy a new mattress?

Read more

While in the waiting room of a doctor's office, I noticed a couple of framed posters on the wall that caught my attention. With an emphasis on sports medicine, this particular office is well known for their expertise in treating both athletes and those who enjoy moderate sports activities.

As I approached the large posters, I was immediately struck by the testimonials each one projected. The first was an image of former swimmer Amy Van Dyken. Beneath her picture, the text read "4 time Olympic Gold Medalist". However, that had been modified when Amy autographed the poster. Next to her signature, Amy had marked through the number 4 and written 6! But, here's where the eye-opener comes in - - next to that, she wrote "thanks to you". The endorsement now stated "6 time Olympic Gold Medalist - Thanks to You"; directly attributing her success to the sports medicine doctor.
The second poster was one of former Major League Baseball player, Jeff Bagwell, when he played for the Houston Astros. Next to his autograph, he wrote "Thank you for helping me make it to the World Series." Wow! That's the type endorsement you just don't see every day.
Your business really isn't that different from this sports medicine doctor. Granted, you may not have access to the same "star power" of a celebrity endorsement, but if you're doing a good job for your customers, surely someone will want to boast about that on your behalf.
Endorsements are powerful and can be used in many ways such as your website, in newsletters, brochures, etc. All it takes is a simple quote, a comment or something similar that states your business delivers what you promise and your customer receives the expected result - maybe even more!

Marketing Know-How Strategic Execution
    • Location

      The Marketing Beacon
      160 Milestone Way, Suite B
      Greenville, SC 29615

      Follow us