As the effects of COVID-19 spun the entire world into a disoriented mess of uncertainty and “new normals”, business owners were faced with some tough decisions and unprecedented obstacles. I think it’s safe to say that just as no one knew what to expect, no one knew exactly how to respond. And being in the marketing industry, we had a front row seat to all of it.
We watched as panicked business owners throughout our region, unsure of the lasting effects these circumstances would cause, instinctively started slashing budgets and cutting expenses to the bare minimum in a panicked effort to stay out of the red. They reacted to short-term setbacks while neglecting to consider the effects on long-term growth. Granted this COVID nightmare is certainly unlike anything any of us have ever lived through, but reactively scrapping marketing budgets at the first sign of economic downturn is certainly not a “new thing” by any means.
But we’re not here to talk about that!
We wanted to take a minute to shine a light on some of our valued business partners that are doing it right during a time when not many places are. Companies that are facing these challenges head on by way of generating new products, targeting new audiences, investing in new marketing initiatives, and generally adapting by pivoting their businesses in ways that allow them to confront our current obstacles head-on. Here’s how these companies have decided to invest in their future success.
John Boos & Co. – Effingham, Illinois
We’ve been working with the folks at John Boos & Co. for several years to bring their signature line of iconic kitchen products to new audiences by way of social media. But when things started shutting down, John Boos shifted their focus from cutting boards and countertops to products designed to help keep businesses and communities safe. Products like stainless steel mobile hand washing stations, hands-free sinks, and sanitizer dispenser mounts. We’ve reimagined and retargeted our social media marketing efforts to showcase these relevant products and get them in front of the right audiences.
JC Finley Co. – Gerald, Missouri
This is one of our newest clients and we couldn’t be happier to partner with them. A plastics distributor and fabricator, JC Finley cleverly rolled out a series of protective products including sneeze guards, social distancing floor decals, and informative wall signs and stickers.. Unfortunately, these products weren’t getting exposure and Google advertising dollars were essentially going to waste. After thoroughly researching the market and prospective audiences, our team rolled out a comprehensive Google AdWords campaign to get the right buyers to take notice. Furthermore, since trade shows and in-person sales meetings have temporarily fallen by the wayside, their adding of a shopping cart feature makes it easier than ever for potential customers to find and purchase the products they need.
Boom Pilates – Creve Coeur, Missouri
Like many businesses throughout the St. Louis region, Boom Pilates in Creve Coeur was forced to close temporarily in the interest of public safety—a mandate that would, unfortunately, signal the beginning of the end for many up and coming small businesses. Without a practical solution for virtual, long-distance instruction, the Boom Pilates team, in conjunction with Timmermann Group, focused efforts on building for a grand re-opening (though no one knew when that might be). We formulated a plan through which users could purchase vouchers for discounted classes to redeem at a later date. The campaign was pushed via social media and digital advertising platforms and targeted specifically to those most likely to purchase based on purchasing habits, location, interests, and other factors. From March to April, our efforts yielded a wave of new web traffic and users and an ROI of more than 420 percent!
Extreme Microbial Technologies – Centerville, Ohio
Extreme Microbial Technologies specializes in products and services designed to combat airborne viruses. So if any business model was built for pandemic success, it would be this one. Unfortunately, if no one knows about the products and services you offer, you won’t get the traffic and you won’t be turning sales. Since our partnership began, we’ve been promoting the EMT brand on Facebook and LinkedIn, creating unique content for these channels, and building a strategic campaign to drive users to the EMT website. We’re in the early stages of our partnership, but we’re already seeing an increase in web activity and we’re excited about the next steps of this journey.
Club Fitness – St. Louis, Missouri (Multiple Locations)
When gyms and studios were forced to lock their doors, it was unclear how long it would last or what the lasting implications would be when reopening was permitted. As a result, many gym-goers cancelled memberships and some regional facilities ended up closing for good. Club Fitness certainly felt the impact of the quarantine as well. We were able to add a “virtual studio” with energizing and interactive at-home workouts led by the Club Fitness trainers. The video series is subscription-based and only available to Club Fitness members. While not quite the experience their users were used to, the virtual studio proved to be an excellent way to keep members engaged and active during the closure.
Newton’s first law of motion states that an object in motion will stay in motion until acted upon by another force. To some degree, your business operates the same way. Whether your business has been around for a year (like Boom Pilates) or a century (like John Boos & Co.), you need momentum to “stay in motion” even as outside forces—like a worldwide pandemic—attempt to bring you to a halt. Even in the face of extreme economic adversity, these businesses, and countless more around the country, saw the value in getting creative and ramping up their “outside the box” marketing efforts.
And to my fellow business owners: now is not the time to throw up your freshly-sanitized hands and give up hope. While no one can say for sure when this “new normal” will subside, or what the business world might look like when it does, we can say that investing in your business and persisting is more important now than ever before.