A CEO’s Perspective on COVID-19 from Mspark’s Own, Steve Mitzel

In this blog post our CEO, Steve Mitzel, shares his perspective and insight on ways businesses can cope with our current shared reality of the COVID-19 crisis.
There is no doubt that most companies in America are in “level 1” planning right now as you have had to react and evolve your operations to accommodate the COVID-19 crisis facing all of us. Focusing on associate safety and wellness, pivoting operations, creating communication and contingency plans, and defending against demand curve declines have all consumed the majority of us for the past week to ten days as COVID-19 rapidly evolved.
There are two huge opportunities for us as senior leaders to be addressing strategically right now.
#1 How can I adapt my marketing spending (both media and levels) to communicate effectively to my existing customers and acquire new customers and market share?
#2 How do I start planning to go on the offensive when the dust is settling and seize the market bounce back opportunity?
Allocating senior leadership focus on both of these opportunities is as important as being reactive right now because this crisis will pass us. Preparing to win when the dust is settling is key to the sustained success of your businesses.
With so many Americans working from home, your customers and prospects need to be reached in different ways. While digital marketing can have a great impact, a lot of the tactics and strategies that they offer become more difficult to scale and be effective. For example, geofencing (using location settings) becomes a lot less impactful when your customers are spending the majority of their time at home. Premium inventory for display and dynamic mobile advertising becomes harder to find and more expensive. Email campaigns should work to talk to existing customers but probably not to acquire new customers.
Before COVID-19, consumers were spending over seven minutes a day sorting and scanning their mail according to the USPS. With online ordering increasing and more time on our hands at home, the mailbox just became an even more appealing advertising resource, more entertaining than it ever has before. Readership in Mspark’s shared mail package typically averages over 80%, with 50% of our readers making purchasing decisions based on the ads they receive. Are you shifting your marketing spend to optimize demand? Are you shifting your ad messaging to promotion oriented (price sensitive) and operational messages such as “we are open”, “delivery available”, and “curb-side pickup”?  Our shared mail and solo direct mail solutions can quickly, efficiently and effectively help communicate your message and activate your current customers and prospects.
Just as important, are you planning ahead for when the curve flattens on COVID-19 and the bounce back effect that is sure to come?  It’s not like timing the stock market, but it’s about timing the conditions that will open up for you to really go on the offensive to both retain and grow share. Are you actively watching policies and macro trends and micro trends within your markets to plan accordingly? Investing to maintain and grow your market share is as critically important as reacting to the crisis.
Unprecedented times require us all to dig deep in and think differently about our businesses and how we position and market them. A constant has been and always will be the availability and readership of the mailbox. We are here to help you react to the current situation and plan for going on offense and optimizing the bounce back once this crisis passes.