Ask the Experts Episode 3 Q&A: Reopening Your Business

06.19.2020 Alyson Phillips3 min

Welcome to the third and final episode of Cox Media’s webinar series. Titled, “Ask the Experts,” our goal is to do just that – we ask marketing experts some of the questions we hear from local businesses every day. In our third episode, we talked to Marco Ochoa, Marketing Manager and member of our San Diego  team. We asked him, “What messaging tactics should businesses consider as they look to reopen their doors?”

Marco unpacked what’s happening with businesses reopening throughout the country, what consumers want to hear from local businesses at this point, and what consumers are hoping to experience while investing their shopping power in their communities. He also spoke to how businesses can tailor their messaging in accordance with these customer expectations, and touched on recent media consumption changes and how local businesses can leverage those changes.

If you’d like to watch the recording or listen in on that conversation, click here. To access all three webinar episodes, click here.

After the discussion, we had a lot of thoughtful questions for our guest speaker. We’ve transcribed the Q&A below:

Q: As a business that has already been open for a few weeks, what can I do with my messaging to make sure I stand out as more and more other businesses start to re-open?

Marco: Going back to the social aspect is a big piece here. When you think about ways to get your creative out there quickly, social media does a great job of offering an almost-instant way of connecting to your customers and really telling that story, whether it’s and offer or just something new you want to share. One interesting thing I’ve read about and seen in a few different places is how local businesses are working together right now. For example, there have been a few instances of restaurants getting together with auto dealerships to almost “cross-pollinate” their customer bases, and so on. So as you continue to look around, not only to your customers, but also to those businesses that are right there next to you, consider how you can work together to create that splash out in the world.

Q: Is it important for companies to address how they’re keeping consumers safe by sticking to safety procedures, etc.? 

Marco: Definitely. First, it helps businesses and customers stay on the same page. We’re all evolving through this period and we’ve been adjusting, together, since late March/early April. It’s important because no matter how you may feel about the COVID-19 crisis, consumers want to know what you are doing to keep them safe. It may be plexiglas barriers that you have likely started to see in some places, or extra hand sanitizing stations, or even simply outlining your social distancing procedures. I think it’s important to tell that story and to keep evolving it. As new guidelines and new protocols come into play, your response to that is going to be just as important as your initial steps toward safety. Social media plays a part here too, as having that open, clear line of communication with your customers helps you share those updates in an instant. When I think about stores or restaurants that I frequent, any type of news I hear from them is good news in my opinion, because it helps me feel updated and informed.

Q: In your opinion, is there any one best way to communicate safety precautions?

Marco: I think it’s important to bake the bigger changes into your overall marketing strategy, working these longer-term shifts (like social distancing in general) into all of your messaging. This could be a graphic at the end of a commercial, a call-out in your Instagram bio, or even a section on your website, something that consumers can see and know at-a-glace that you are prioritizing their safety. For more specific changes, digital advertising channels are a great option because you can change your creative quickly.

Q: Do you have any thoughts on using humor in your advertising messaging? Do you think it’s “too early” or that consumers will be receptive to that?

Marco: That’s a million-dollar question. For me personally, I think it’s helpful to lean in to our situation a little bit. It’s a weird situation for all of us, right? We transitioned to working from home, wearing masks, using more hand soap than ever, and more. Poking a little fun and leaning into the fact that this is a unique experience that we’re going through together could resonate well. While I think there is a place to acknowledge this in a humorous way, you also want to be sensitive to everything that is going on in our world today. You don’t want to be tone-deaf or come across as insensitive. But again, we’re all learning together – how to wear masks, how to socially distance correctly, etc., so it is okay to incorporate some humor, just be smart and be sensitive to current events.

As you can see, we had many strong, thought-provoking questions during our final “Ask the Experts” webinar. And just because this series is over doesn’t mean the helpful content will stop. Check out our blog library for additional helpful tips, and be on the lookout for more webinars in the future.

If you’d like to brainstorm ideas for your business, our local marketing experts are here to help. For current Cox Media clients, simply reach out to your rep and they, along with the local marketing team, will be happy to sit down with you (virtually, of course) and brainstorm some ideas. If you’re not a Cox Media client, simply fill out the contact us form here on our website, or call 1-855-755-2691.

About the Author

Alyson Phillips

Alyson is the Director of Marketing at Cox Media’s corporate offices in Atlanta. With a background in journalism and over a decade of experience in brand marketing, she has a passion for connecting brands to their customers through powerful storytelling. In her role, she’s responsible for amplifying the Cox Media brand in the communities we serve nationwide – whether through advertising, thought leadership, or the customer experience. When she’s not working, she’s chasing around her twin toddlers and spending as much time outdoors as possible.

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