The Marketing Department's Action Plan For Natural Disasters

SpotOn is located in Tampa with majority of our clients in Florida. We’ve spent much of the last couple of weeks helping prepare and communicate through the threats and consequences of Hurricane Irma. We feel thankful today that our business and client companies are safe and working toward getting their operations back to “business as usual.” Here are insights into questions asked, discussions had and ways to plan your marketing and communications for natural disasters.

  • Should I pause paid media? 
  • Should I donate for social likes and follows? 
  • How do I communicate fulfillment delays?
  • Should we share our relief efforts?

Through this time of adversity, compassion and safety took the front seat while revenue and productivity were on the back burner directing our decisions and recommendations. In the end, your customers will appreciate an empathetic approach to communication over receiving goods and services on time or learning about a new product you have for sale. 

Social Media

Social media wins as the platform to express empathy and support, not sell and promote. Don’t use social media as a way to gain followers or capitalize on those impacted, instead, don’t go completely dark, just dim the lights:

  • Communicate/share important messages to help those impacted
  • Share relevant information about the effects the disaster has on your industry and customers and how they can mitigate negative effects
  • Pause all pre-scheduled marketing/advertising messages

Email

Communicate by email about your process and any impact to customer fulfillment. Whether you are a brick and mortar business communicating when you will be closing, opening or if you are an eCommerce business serving customers across the U.S., communication is key so customers understand how fulfillment may be affected and when they can expect operations to get back on track. 

Website & Blog

Tell your story. Post on your own site - blog about it. How was your business affected and how are you helping customers. Authenticity shows others you are all in it together and sharing stories and experiences may help others as they get their homes and businesses back up and running. The more we can share our experiences, the more we can help each other through the current natural disaster and help better prepare and plan for future events.

Internal Communication

Have an internal crisis plan for data preservation, employee safety and connectivity, and steps to getting back to business as usual. Some questions to consider:

  • What is the chain of command for communication on the status of the business?
  • Who is in charge of communication to employees and customers?
  • Where are servers located- is there a backup plan to avoid any major disruption in digital properties and assets?
  • How to best support those who aren’t able to get back to business as usual as quickly as others
  • Are there any upcoming events that need to be rescheduled to give those time to get back to business as usual?

Volunteer & Donate If You Can

If you were lucky enough to be minimally impacted, offer discounted products/services to those in need and/or consider supporting relief efforts through volunteering your time locally or donating to organizations backed by Charity Navigator.

We’re thankful our clients are safe and they’re businesses in tact. With problem-solving being a top value for our company, it’s clear we lived that value during this time with our clients. Our SpotOn team stuck together . . . virtually . . .  while we took care of our own families. Although we were all in different places, we had each others’ backs and wanted our clients to feel the same - that we had their back. We won’t go dark, we're here to serve you through the dark.