It’s time for marketing and marketers to step up.
Marketing is an under-utilised lever for business. Whilst I could postulate as to why this is (starting with a lack of ROI focus), the more important task at hand is how we use it to help New Zealand recover from the impacts of COVID-19 at consumer, business and NZ Inc. levels.
1. Better consumer decisions
Consumers have had an extraordinary life event, and they have changed. The break from the daily whirl of life and time to examine what is important to them, for many, has allowed for a reexamination of values and awareness of the impact of actions when it comes to spending. Vote with your wallet has never been more relevant.
The success of Facebook pages such as New Zealand Made Products started on the 13th April with now close to half a million members, shows that consumers want to support their own and make better buying decisions.
Fortunately, marketing and technology support this with readily available information about products and services ethos and brand behaviour.
It’s safe to say that we have a greater consciousness of our individual consumer power and the impact of our spending to create a new, improved, normal.
2. Re-launch businesses
It’s stating the obvious to say all of New Zealand’s 484,179 businesses1 will have been affected by COVID-19 in some way. More importantly, what are we going to do about it? We need to use every tool in the toolbox and marketing is a big, impactful tool when used correctly.
Marketing’s job is to drive businesses toward their goals (for more on this read our ‘What is marketing’ blog). Goals will be different, so the marketing approach needs a strategy to support them. Cookie-cutter tactics won’t deliver.
There are tried and tested frameworks that we are making accessible to all businesses to determine the best approach for them, starting with our free Marketing SOS Template, a one-page tool so businesses can quickly figure out how marketing can help them.
3. Market ‘NZ Inc.’
Marketing is a powerful success lever that can help New Zealand reach its prosperity and wellbeing goals. The government has made good use of it to inform us during Covid19 and now to encourage inter-regional tourism for example.
In an international context, New Zealand is in an enviable position to leverage our national brand. We can create demand and a premium for goods and services, based on real and perceived advantages of New Zealand provenance.
To date, this brand reputation has been largely driven by tourism and then supported by NZTE initiatives to give exporters an advantageous story. Blessed by location, this moat has largely protected the promoted brand perceptions of ‘pure, clean, green’, and our unique culture.
But we do not always meet that expectation. This must change. We need to walk the talk. Authenticity must be one of our values. Marketing 101 is to create an expectation and then, at a minimum, meet it.
People buy ‘like and trust’ and the trust in New Zealand has been heightened with our leadership and handling of COVID-19, thereby creating opportunity.
Like the budget, our country needs an overarching marketing strategy and plan. Now is the perfect time to review this. Globally, New Zealand is increasingly seen as safe and trusted. We can turn that into a great authentic story, add value, and get a premium for our exports – thereby fuelling our economy and enabling our goals.