One of the keys to marketing is knowing the sentiment of the marketplace. As these are trying times, being in tune with that is going on is critical. Let us talk about market sentiment.
A lot of people have been asking lots of different questions that start with:
- • Should I pause all my marketing?
- • Should I pause my business and lay people off or change my offers?
- • What do I need to do in these turbulent times?
Let’s look at and start with what are you putting out to the universe?
There’s a little bit of a technical phrase, because it’s not that widely used in kind of the small business or the local business space, but it’s called market sentiment. Market sentiment is all about the mood typically of the financial markets, and that general feeling, because there’s a lot of things that are tied to the stock market directly.
Surprisingly, or perhaps not, people’s highs and lows are often judged by the stock market. However, when I look further about the market sentiment I’d like you to kind of think a little bit outside the box and really look at that concept as your industry sentiment, the niche sentiment, or even the sentiment of the times. And really you need to put yourself in your prospects and your customers’ shoes to start to think about what they are feeling right now? What are they thinking about literally as their pillow is hitting the bed.
And what I want you to do is to take a step back and look at all the different marketing offers that you’re putting out there. And I will tell you that the offers that we were using for the businesses that we work with, as well as our offers that we were using to generate clients—those have completely stopped working.
And initially I was like, well, aren’t people still buying? Why would things just completely stop working even though there’s a crisis all around us? I was still a little bit shocked that things literally overnight, kind of, just like that switch that got flipped.
And the biggest word in all of this is fear. Now, again, this is not a debate of the seriousness of anything going on, that’s not what this is about. This is all about how you can get a feeling of what is going on, what is the sentiment in your marketplace and in your industry, that then can be translated back to your business and your marketing.
So for example, if you run or work at a local financial institution like a credit union. You might have been able to use an ad a month ago that said 2.99% APR on new vehicle purchases, this is the best rate of the year, come in and qualify, etc. You could have used that with great success, but if you start to look at what is then the sentiment in the credit union space, they’re called members.
What is the sentiment? Well, people, they’re probably putting their head on their pillow at night, wondering do they still have a job? Are they going to lose their job? Can they pay the mortgage? Do they have enough food to feed the family? Is someone going to get sick or what if someone gets sick? If they’re nearing retirement age and they didn’t necessarily balance their portfolio flawlessly?
There are people that have lost insane amounts of money and yes, it will recover. So maybe they’re thinking, we’ll now get to work another five years. You have to look at that sentiment, and then leverage that to tweak your marketing message and to tweak what you’re putting out to your audience.
Marketing is completely a game of knowing the biggest fears, the biggest desires, the biggest challenges, and all those things that are making it tough for your prospect or customer to feel fulfilled, relaxed, and at ease. And it just is one of those things that when something like this happens, their sentiment and their feelings change literally overnight. From where everyone was happy and getting ready to plan vacations for the month of April, which tends to be one of the biggest vacation months around Easter and spring break to “Holy crap, what do we do now?”
So if you want your local business to continue to remain functioning to continue to stay top of mind, and to really continue to position yourself as a leader whatever industry you’re in, you need to leverage that sentiment and call it out. You need to tell people that this is a fill in the blank show—like this is absolute chaos. And I’m sure that you’re really nervous. I’m sure that you’re worried about this continuing to negatively affect your business, you might even be desperate, and you’re probably scared that this whole thing is gonna get out of control. And it’s gonna destroy you and your fill in the blank. Now, if you saw what I did there, I wanted to call out the fear.
If your prospect is operating from a state of fear, they are not going to take action with you, regardless how small or how large that purchase. You need to call it out—you need to lay it on thick and drive a stake right through the heart of those fears. Let them know that you’re in tune with that.
Now what you’ll notice that I didn’t do is that, I didn’t say I know that you’re scared to death—we are also. You need to come from a place of authority and to know that this is all about them. You need to be very empathetic at this situation and at this time. But I need you to be a realist of everything that’s going on all around you. So if you were to come to me and say, “Michael, my marketing message is not working. Michael, my ad isn’t working. The door hangers that we just put on a neighborhood last night, normally, they have 30 calls and we’ve gotten zero calls.” I want you to pivot your messaging, call out their fears, leverage, empathy, and that will start to position you more appropriately. And from there, you can then find a way to work together, find a compromise, find a way to kind of move that needle for word.
Get out there, make a change and take some action.