by Brendan White | CEO Connect Mobile

COVID-19 arrived like the proverbial Dragon from the East. The pandemic has hit with a ferocity that our planet has not known for decades and the collateral damage from a worldwide lockdown will affect economies for years to come. Many experts predict that the economic and social fallout will far exceed the damage caused by the virus itself. Scenarios sketched by economists and think tanks point towards the worst recession since WWII. Unemployment is predicted to reach over 50% of our population in South Africa while economic output could fall between 6 and 10 percent. These numbers are frightening and the fear mongering and fake news carried by social media and agenda driven news outlets is severely affecting consumer confidence and the general mood of the public is despondent. This is exacerbated by seemingly irrational and arbitrary rules that appear to play towards the specific egos of our political elite rather than the good of the country.

There is good news though.

Many countries have reached their peaks and are opening up their economies to trade again. Most have opted for a slow and steady release of lockdown interventions in a responsible manner to try prevent the much feared “second wave”. We also tend to underestimate the resilience of our economy and our people – we survived 2008s banking crisis, the dot bomb in 2000, the lost Zuma years (as quoted by President Ramaphosa) and we will survive this!

To survive and even thrive in these times we must find creative and effective ways to keep our brands in consumer’s minds. Our lives will return to normal at some point and during the process from now until then it is critical that our message is carried effectively to these consumers. This is the period of “survival marketing”. Consumer spend will decrease as the conditions of lockdown and decreased household earnings impacts on expendable income. Consumer behaviour has also changed and it will take a considerable effort to restore confidence and move consumers back to spending patterns of the past. This is especially relevant in the hospitality industry (in particular tourism and restaurants) but will be felt in all sectors. This “survival marketing” means that you must get a POSITIVE message across reminding the consumer of your brand and maintaining the trust relationship. You NEED to make sure that your brand is the first one that a consumer will turn to.

This is not a warm and fuzzy time between competitors. In a normal economy there is tough competition between brands for consumer spend with the pot being that much smaller, competition will be that much more intense. The brands that win will be the ones that can keep their message positive and fresh in the most affordable manner.

One of the most effective and affordable forms of direct marketing is still SMS marketing. Research has shown that 98% of SMS messages are opened within 2 minutes of hitting the handset. No other medium can compare with these numbers. The ability to customise your message for your audience and keep you brand “front of mind” is unsurpassed amongst all marketing channels. Connect Mobile has taken SMS and turned it into an even more powerful tool by the introduction of Genius SMS™.

Genius SMS allows an advertiser to add flyers, videos or PDFs to an SMS and track who opened the message and linked through to the content – from there the customer can be encouraged to fill in a form, follow a link to a booking site, share the information on social media and even navigate directly to your premises! During this difficult time we have opted to add these powerful features at no extra cost to the advertiser. This plays to the value philosophy we have at Connect Mobile of “Get More Across”. More value, more information, more deals and less price.

Relax and take a break to watch our video below to learn more about the ways our Genius SMS platform can help regain stability while reconnecting you with your audience:

By using marketing channels such as these, “survival marketing” becomes “growth marketing”. There is still an economy out there, there are still consumers who have needs. Make sure that they opt to support your brand when it comes time to make a spending decision.

Contact us today to reconnect with your audience, regain stability with new prospects and reinforce your service offerings with practical and cost-effective mobile communication solutions – call us on 012 991 4328 or send an email to info@connect-mobile.co.za.