Written by Anthony Del Gigante
The only thing you can be certain of during a crisis is uncertainty. Seemingly overnight, the strategies we’ve used to manage our personal and business lives no longer work in the face of the “new normal” brought about by the crisis. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing companies across all sectors of the economy to re-evaluate their business models and their marketing strategies to ensure that they remain relevant and survive. As a business leader, you’ve no doubt had to make many difficult decisions during the past few months as you guide your organization through these unsettled times. Your response now will have lasting effects on your business for years to come.
So, what should businesses do to survive a crisis and then thrive once the dust settles? At MDG Advertising, we’ve been helping our clients reshape their business models and marketing strategies to work in a world that none of us could have envisioned before COVID-19 became a household word. We believe that our work, especially for our clients in the healthcare industry, provides three essential lessons that can serve as a guide for businesses across all industries as they review and adapt to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
From restaurants to retail, most businesses rely on customers coming in to their establishments, which left them scrambling as communities across the country imposed stay-at-home orders to control the spread of COVID-19. As the pandemic intensified, many of our healthcare clients found ways to take their services to their patients.
One way our healthcare clients adapted was to shift their in-office practice models to telemedicine. According to eMarketer, telemedicine hadn’t achieved widespread acceptance prior to the pandemic. In fact, only 28% of doctors offered the service, and just 14% of patients were familiar with the concept of telemedicine.
Transitioning from traditional medicine to telemedicine created unique challenges: websites had to be reconfigured and updated to accommodate virtual office visits, and practices had to shift their messaging from promotional to educational to inform patients about their new services and hours.
Implementing this new model required strategic planning and error-free execution. For two of our clients with more than 450 locations, we had to find ways for them to implement and scale up their new approaches efficiently. To accomplish this, we developed control panels that enabled the clients to manage, update, and tailor messaging to specific locations.
Find Creative Ways to Get the Word Out
Adapting your business model serves no purpose if your clients or customers don’t know about it. You need to find creative and compelling ways to spread the word about your changes across multiple channels. In the case of one of our urgent care clients, we launched a new service line as well as a multi-channel informational campaign to inform current and prospective patients about the transition to telemedicine. This included using social media to educate people on when and how they should seek medical attention.
Since your clients’ needs and priorities are probably not the same now as they were before the pandemic, normal methods of connecting with your audience may no longer resonate. The challenge is to find new ways and opportunities to engage with your audience. For example, we developed a triage chatbot for one of our healthcare clients, which allows patients to screen for COVID-19 symptoms via the website.
Promote the Benefits of Public Health Safety Measures
Adapting your business operations and services to meet the changing needs of your customers can have a beneficial effect on society, too. One of our dental clients started offering teledentistry services to ensure that their patients had access to dental care while complying with social distancing and other public health measures. Within the first three weeks of practicing teledentistry, the client had more than 1,400 virtual consultations with patients. Not only was the client able to meet its business needs, but they helped slow the spread of COVID-19 by eliminating the need for patients to sit in a crowded waiting room and from having to go to overburdened emergency rooms for care.
The coronavirus pandemic will undoubtedly impact our world for the foreseeable future. By finding ways to embrace this new reality, inform customers of your changes and how you can meet their needs, and promote both your business needs and the well-being of those in your community, you can put your company in a position to thrive in a post-pandemic world.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Anthony Del Gigante, Chief Creative Officer at MDG Advertising
Anthony Del Gigante is chief creative officer at MDG Advertising, a branding/traditional ad agency made digital, with offices in Boca Raton, Florida and Brooklyn, New York. Over the years, his unique talents in brand strategy, visual identity development, and brand activation have consistently delivered measurable results for a wide range of world-renowned clients, including American Express, Verizon, AbbVie, and Cushman Wakefield. A brand specialist, Anthony leads MDG’s creative development, working with clients to develop creative, strategic, and functional solutions for their brands.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger that loves to write about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.