Show Notes: For those who prefer to read rather than watch

 Who else has been seeing the memes doing the rounds about all the things that Shakespeare created during the great plague, and the discoveries Newton found during the plague?

So much pressure! I’m now supposed to become super creative and super inventive during the pandemic.

Let’s just talk about that for a bit.

What happens is humans tend to have all or nothing thinking. We tend to think everybody is going to have the time to be super creative or that everybody is going to struggle – neither of which is true. There’s a spectrum of possibilities.

There are five possible niches or categories of where people are at to help you get a bit of an understanding of that it’s not an all or nothing thing.

1. Unicorns

Unicorns are people who are still financially quite well off or quite OK during the pandemic for whatever reason.

The other part of the unicorn equation is they don’t have school-aged kids which might mean that they’re singles, a couple that doesn’t have children, or it might mean that their empty-nesters or retirees without school-aged children at home.

Their discretionary money and their time at home is theirs to enjoy, which means that they can spend their money on themselves.

During the pandemic they finally have time and opportunity to get their creativity going. For them it’s about “I’ve always wanted to learn how to cook hand-made pasta,” or “I’ve always wanted to make sourdough bread”, or “I’ve always wanted to learn Klingon” or to “Learn how to paint watercolours.”

This is finally “their turn” and their time and it may be one of the most creative times in their lives.  

If they have a business, they may also use the time to set their business up for the future.

Unicorns are all about setting their foundations for the future, and your role as a supplier of goods or services is to help them think through their strategy to take them forward into the post-pandemic world.

It’s all about helping them realise their dreams and achieve their creative goals and desires, or helping them plan for the future.

2. Instant Home-schoolers

These are parents who’ve got babies or school-aged children at home, and because of the pandemic, they’ve suddenly turned into instant home-schooling parents.

Any discretionary income that they have goes towards helping their children achieve their dreams. But also remember that their available income is on a sliding scale from things being very tight to things aren’t too bad.

Any discretionary income that they have tends to go back to their core values, which is helping their children achieve their dreams.

So that might be helping their kids to be productive, healthy, happy to invest in their future.  It could be books, jigsaw puzzles, lessons, classes or tutorials.

It could be kids’ yoga; it could be tutorial classes to help them to catch up on things that the parents have noticed that they’re falling behind in school.

The thing to remember here as an ethical marketing perspective is to lay off the guilt. Do not put your marketing out there saying unless you use this opportunity to get your kid two classes ahead or fill their skill gaps you are a failure as a parent – lay off the guilt! There is enough stress without you adding to it.

3. Frontliners

These are the categories of people who are on our frontlines. They could be medical; they could be retail; they might be on logistics trucks. These are the people that at the moment are keeping the rest of the society ticking over right now.

They have to spend money to survive. Quite often they are working crazy long hours, extra shifts and they’re all doing it with an extra layer of guilt.

If they’ve got kids, they’ve got guilt about having to send their kids to school or childcare because what if they get sick? They’ve got guilt about how do I manage everything and do they potentially carry the virus.  

There’s a lot of stuff happening for those people.

The ethical thing for marketing here is to either help them to achieve their survival or get out of the way.

Do not try and heavy market to these people. These are people who just need you to help them, be thankful, grateful and express your gratitude and get out of the way and let them do what they need to do.

4. Business workhorses

These are the people whose business are open, but money is probably a little bit tight for them, and they’re looking for ways just to keep going.

What they’re looking for is help with strategies on how to get new clients, how to pivot their business to get new services up, help with thinking through their business strategy etc.

They’re looking for DIY solutions and ensuring value for money is a critical thing for them.

From an ethical marketing perspective, do not over promise and do not give false hope.

Unless you can demonstrate that what you are recommending is working in this market, do not give false hope.

It’s best to present them with some alternatives and get them to test and measure the results in this market as this is an unknown market.

We haven’t had a pandemic before. Businesses have not been through a pandemic before, so every marketing person is guessing that whatever they’re putting forward is their best guess on what will work in this market.

For example, in the Google Analytics of the businesses whose websites I maintain, I had two businesses whose Google Analytics showed a massive drop in visitors to their sites. These were people who provide direct care to clients such as massage therapists, that type of thing.

With all the other businesses, their Google visits either maintained or dramatically increased. The reason being people still have money to spend on essential things. Like if your car is broken down, you still need to get it maintained. If your lights go out, you still need an electrician to help you to figure out where the wiring has gone pear-shaped.

Interestingly, people are also spending on piano tuners. There’s a 220% increase in the number of people who are purchasing pianos according to a retail study published yesterday.

5. Unemployed/Closed Down

The fifth category is the unemployed or people whose businesses had to close down during the pandemic. For them, money is tight. For these people, they’re looking to their future.

They’re looking for things like how to help them find a job or how to help them to get their business ready for when the market takes off.

They’re looking for solutions that are low cost and how to do DIY. Pay what you can financial models work well for this group.

The ethical marketing component for this category is no get rich quick schemes. So no, “Make money while you sleep: Invest in on an online strategy, and you’ll instantly be able to make money while you sleep.”

Leave all that out because that’s unethical and black hat marketing that is wrong at any time, but especially wrong in this market.

Remember we talked about before in terms of ethics, no false hope in any marketing that you do to any of these categories right at this moment.

The other thing to remember is no matter where you are personally on those five categories that stress will have an impact.

So, if you are in the unicorn category, don’t suddenly expect that you’re going to write War and Peace or that you’re suddenly going to create the world’s greatest artistic masterpiece. You are under stress, so cut yourself some slack and know that results may differ.

Whatever you are, whatever your category you are in, be gentle on yourself and you will get through this.

Ingrid Moyle

Ingrid Moyle (BA - Psych/Industrial Relations) is the Chief Web Wizard at Heart Harmony Communications. A self-confessed multipotentialite, Ingrid shamelessly blends her passions of human resources, psychology, web design and copywriting. When not hardwired to her computer, she quests for the perfect coffee while chasing virtual reality creatures across the backstreets of Brisbane.