April 22, 2020 by Terry O'Reilly

Be the Service Provider Subscribers Value Most


As a marketer, I never thought I would ever see an ad from Hotels.com that said, “Stay home.” Or a tweet from the New York subway system saying “Thanks for not riding with us today.” But these are extraordinary times we are living through.

With the pandemic rolling across the globe and the key strategy to containing it is to stay home, we are all locked-down in forced isolation with no hard end point in sight. Many of us are now separated from family members.

In a crisis, tone is everything when it comes to marketing. For companies, it’s a difficult time to have a profit agenda. People are scared, life has been altered drastically, there is a lot of financial uncertainty. When businesses speak in times like this, being tone deaf is the greatest sin. But many companies have found a way to strike the right note.

Like Hotels.com and the NYC subway system, smart marketers are acknowledging the situation and offering help. I see a fast food company in my city who has paid a newspaper to unlock its paywall so readers can get all the latest COVID-19 news. I see a website hosting platform offering to help small businesses pivot to online. I read that a Lyft driver is handing out a roll of toilet paper to all her passengers.

I think communications service providers can play a special role in this crisis. People need entertainment and connection while quarantined. How can you be responsive? How can you use your unique role in their lives to help them feel less isolated? How can you be a thoughtful partner right now?

Data can help you answer these questions. As I always say, the best marketers are the best listeners. By listening to your data, it may inspire some meaningful ways you can assist your subscribers through this uncertain period. Some are promising no disconnections if people are struggling to pay bills. Some are waiving all late fees. Some are offering free installation and Wi-Fi to homes with children to help with online learning. Remember that in difficult times, nobody forgets a small kindness. So how can you be the service provider people value most? Plant those seeds now. Reap when we come out the other side.

We’re all in this together.

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