Recovery marketing in the time of a pandemic

Recovery marketing in the time of a pandemic
May 20

Jackie Stierlin

Digital Marketing

In these uncertain times

as we navigate the new normal,

Are you willing to share your ideas and solutions?

As you know, many people are struggling.

First Lines of Emails I’ve Received While Quarantining by Jessica Salfia

We all know the coronavirus marketing emails. The phrases are so widely used that this poem by an American teacher and writer has been liked more than 83 000 times and shared by 23 000 accounts in the first day of being posted online. The reaction to the poem highlights the fact that as marketers, we have to be aware of how we are talking about the pandemic and the way we think about the content we create.

Make ethical marketing decisions

In the days when it became clear that the virus was going to have a massive impact on us as individuals and as businesses, I suggested that we needed to think about the way we spoke about it in the content we were creating. The spread of Covid-19 in most affected countries was declared a state of emergency and, as a company, we agreed that we didn’t want to detract attention away from the important messages being sent out by government officials or the World Health Organisation. To avoid contributing to the unnecessary noise around the spread of the virus, we agreed that we would:

  • Not use the words Covid-19 or coronavirus in headings.
  • Not put paid advertising behind the words Covid-19 or coronavirus.
  • Not use the words Covid-19 or coronavirus in social copy (and replacing them with “the virus” or “the pandemic” where appropriate).
  • Not use the words Covid-19 or coronavirus in naming images.

We also undertook to use only official websites as the source or reference for our content such as the South African Government Portal and

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes

Responsible marketing is also about creating useful content. The pandemic is having a profound impact on businesses, and being proactive will help them get back on track. Every industry will have specific ways in which they have been affected by the crisis. So instead of making content that offers platitudes (like in the poem above), we undertook to take some time to understand the problems that customers were experiencing and to offer solutions. These problems include supply chain disruptions, management issues when staff are working remotely and of course, economic uncertainty.

Align your recovery marketing campaign strategy to these principles:

  • Build trust. Provide reliable information to show your customers you are a source they can believe in. Be predictable and consistent in your marketing, post regularly and follow your theme or storyline. Make sure you are clear and make your product and service easy to understand.
  • Be empathetic. Make an effort to understand how your customers feel. Address their uncertainty and over-communicate about your support and service. Help your customers as much as you can. Be available and add more chat channels such as website chat and Messenger. Create a conversation that allows customers to ask questions. Stress that you have set the narrative for recovery. You should also address the emotions of purchasing during this period to show customers how they will need or benefit from your product during the pandemic or after it. Use these benefits as the key to your marketing.
  • Be positive. Use storytelling in your content to entertain your audience and to make them feel better. Share good news and Covid kindness. After all, there are also many feel-good stories in the time of the pandemic of people helping each other out and about our heroic healthcare workers.


The changes we’re all facing are forcing us to innovate and adapt. Now is the time to reassess how you engage with your customers. Get your business back on track with half price on the first three months of our 12-month Marketing, Employee Experience and CX programmes. Combine all three of these elements for a robust, end-to-end communication strategy for all areas of your business. Find out more.

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