The b direct logo Hive

Be Quiet — Unless You Have Something Real to Say


Heading into our second month working from home (I'm speaking about professionals in general — the Bs have been WFH for 17 years), we're fairly astounded by the number of emails we've received from businesses that lead with the coronavirus pandemic. Some of them make sense. Like the refund guidelines for a hotel or airline reservation. Or the new shipping policy from a production vendor we do business with. Or a discount on home office supplies. Or even a promotion from a tech company introducing us to its web conferencing solution.

But, some of them don't.

Yes, people are home. Yes, they're online. And, yes, they're probably bored. But, taking advantage of a national crisis is not a good way to sell socks. Or jewelry. Or T-shirts.

We have clients with legitimate reasons to do outreach during the current situation. One, for example, offers low-cost auto refinancing. So, we're working on a campaign that explains a set of very timely benefits: a lower rate, lower monthly payments, and cash advances. With more than 10 million people filing for unemployment, our client's financial solution will be good news to many.

Another client is one of the world's leading online learning companies. They have content that can help remote workers and remote managers alike, including courses on driving business continuity. And, with so many facing unemployment now and in the future, our client is offering an extended free trial so people can sharpen their current skills and acquire new ones. We're helping to promote the offer with emails, blog posts, digital media, webinars, and more.

These marketing campaigns make sense.

But, here are some (real ones) that don't: 25% off plush animals, 59% off personalized tote bags and water bottles; a "tranquil week in a Spanish Villa for $980;" and buy one/get one for a perfumer's "fragrance of the month."

We're not suggesting that you put all your marketing on hold. (Duh, we're a marketing agency.) But, be relevant.

For example, a women's razor blade company (Waitaminute, isn't one of the benefits of self-quarantining that you don't have to shave your legs?) invited us to join them for a free virtual meditation session led by a nonprofit that uses yoga and healing arts to help victims of domestic violence. A regional association that manages historic sites and wildlife preserves has created virtual experiences for families. Not-for-profits have reached out to explain what they're doing to help the communities they serve. A local (brick and mortar) toy company sent a promotion for cards, board games, puzzles, and paint-by-numbers, including free contact-less delivery.

There are only a few approaches that feel right during this terrible and terribly stressful time: assure existing customers that they can continue to count on you; have a real benefit to convey (like our clients mentioned above); or tie-in with other organizations to support people at risk (a partner/vendor of ours is raising money to order bulk N95 face masks through one of her suppliers).

But, whatever you do, be sincere and sensitive. Remember, we're all in this together. B smart. B kind. B relevant.


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