Take Advantage of the New Reality: The post Covid-19 environment will be similar to post 911

With respect to conducting business, there are going to be a lot of similarities in the coming weeks and months with what transpired after September 11, 2011. In fact, like post-911, some things will never be the same. Travel will be impacted the most in the near term.

Beyond travel being a problem based on the risk of infection, the increased use of Zoom and other video meeting platforms to visit with family and friends during our Covid-19 isolation will be extended into the resumption of our business activities. If you’re like me, you’ve already had Zoom meetings with customers and vendors.

Supply Chain Woes

Customers want reassurance that your company can deliver. In the past you might have visited with them or phoned to reassure them. Today you’ll probably employ an email blast to reach out and stay in touch. Although email feels good to you because you can build a big list, the reality is for customers it is less personal and less influential. What’s more, everyone else will do it. Just like all the nuisance Covid-19 emails you got from your financial institutions during the national isolation period.

A better way to reinforce to your customers, prospects, and vendors that your company is able to deliver is to let editors tell them. In addition to having the credibility of news coverage, you have the benefit of reach, internet visibility, and a greater likelihood of showing up on the first page in search engines.

As David Meerman Scott wrote in “The New Rules of Marketing & PR,” his first new rule is: Don’t just send news releases when big news is happening; find good reasons to send them all the time. That has been my mantra for over 43 years and it works. As Abby Robey, one of the principals of Xuron Corp. wrote, “By continuing our regular schedule of publicity releases during the down times, I think we planted a lot of seeds that are now bearing fruit – our sales are up and best of all, we continue to reach new markets, helping to diversify our customer base. I recently had a phone call from one of our Manufacturer’s Reps who told me that he was bombarded with inquiries for Xuron products – he wondered if we were doing some kind of new advertising. To me the answer is simple – it’s the publicity. Also, our Web traffic continues to grow on a monthly basis. I can’t think of a better, or more cost-effective way for us to reach so many markets.”

In Lieu of Trade Shows and International Travel

Just like post-911, companies are reluctant to exhibit at trade shows. Will the hotels be open, will the airlines be dependable, do I want my employees to risk exposure to large crowds? Plus, the costs are budget-busting right now! It is going to be a long time before trade shows return to their previous popularity; perhaps years. In the meantime, the best way, and maybe the only way, to get credible exposure to the greatest number of potential customers and reinforce your value to existing customers is to take full advantage of your publicity opportunities. In terms of international travel; is anyone ready to jump on a plane to Europe or Asia right now?

As Mike Kempkes, Vice President Sales & Marketing of Diversified Technologies, Inc. said, “Given the difference in geographic response between the US and International releases, it’s clear that there are a lot of foreign engineers and managers who don’t read the US publications, so international publicity is the way to get them.”

A product or service doesn’t need to be new to be newsworthy. Your products have different features, benefits, and applications which can each be highlighted in different press releases to different audiences; both domestic and worldwide. The fact is: product publicity releases remain the most cost-effective way to get widespread exposure in-print and online; especially in lieu of trade shows and the risk and expense associated with international travel.

© Steven M. Stroum (with permission to share)

Steve Stroum

Steven M. Stroum, founder and president of Venmark International is a seasoned publicist, marketer, and entrepreneur who has been featured in INC Magazine, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, Industrial Marketing, OMNI Magazine, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, The Middlesex News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other media outlets. He has also appeared on numerous radio and television programs, addressed many business and civic groups, and been a guest lecturer at Boston College, Babson College, MIT, and his alma mater Northeastern University.

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