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Everything that Rises Must Converge: Pandemic Edition

The universe typically will find a way to fill a void.  When one thing goes away there will usually be something to fill its place. The pandemic and its effects are no different.  When sit-down restaurants were pulled from our weekly menu of activities, nightly home delivery or pick-up replaced it.  When theatres shut down, Netflix and Disney+ whooshed in and, at least for the time being, dominated the visual entertainment space.

Life will not be the same. Clearly the way that we view the workplace, the concert scene, an elevator…even how we buy groceries, has forever changed. As marketers, our prime directive has always been to see beyond the fog of forest fires or storm surge or social media fad to see where the puck is ultimately going to be.  Here are some examples of what is emerging and what (touchless) technology can do to connect you with the new customer.  

The Traveler: The new traveler is more likely to shun public transportation.  What is emerging is a flood of buyers into the used car buyer.  Urban and suburban regular users of public transportation (even Lyft or Uber) are opting to find a low-cost alternative and used cars are it.  Over the past two months the market has surged by 20% and prices have gone right along with it. Auto dealers should consider setting up geo-targeting along designated commuter travel routes based on travel times while targeting HH with One or Fewer Vehicles to grab a piece of this market.

Destinations: Travel destinations should be aware of the increased importance of travel by car.  A lodging destination should be cognizant of drive times for those considering an overnight stay.  A restaurant destination might consider a tighter radius to target Daytrippers and Foodies. A lodging destination could set up a “donut” type radius for those within 1.5-3 hours drive from the property.  The fine dining restaurant at the same property might do a separate geo-target that extends from the property out to 1.5 hours drive time.

Real Estate: Real estate agents and agencies are seeing an unprecedented diaspora of city residents who are looking to either leave what they consider to be unsafe living conditions or a second home to escape to when things get challenging in their urban environment. Multiple offers for remote real estate are often cash offers and closed sales are well over asking in many cases. Real estate professionals have a great opportunity to target urban areas inexpensively and efficiently through geo-targeting. Identify the Top Real Estate Intenders by Zip Code in a target urban area and run tests against those top zip clusters for a month at a time to find your best ROI.

Applicance/Home Services: The stay at home/work from home culture emerging from the pandemic has created interesting opportunities for many home service and retail businesses.  Home improvement is through the roof. Targeting homeowners by Geography and by Age of Home is one way to approach this market.  More rural areas have an increased need for septic pump outs as families hunker down, so plumbing and septic companies can win there. Refrigerator and appliance companies report big demand increases; as how we shop and store food today looks much different than it did 8 months ago. Gardening Interest within a geography that matches your service area represents another targeting opportunity.

Education: As distance learning has taken hold in many educational institutions the geographic lines have blurred for many community and technical colleges. The use of specific geographies (radius, zips or counties) and target filters such as High School Student in Household can help to build a pool of potential students for these new service options. 

Governmental Grant Targeting: The current situation has necessitated municipal, county and state governments to address pressing issues within their respective communities/constituencies. Opioid abuse is certainly one. The ability to identify at risk segments, such as hospitality workers (withe geo-fencing of hotels, restaurants, bars, casinos,) or essential workers (with geo-fencing fire and police stations, grocery stores,) and isolating employees by being able to target those who had been in these location 5+ times in the last 30 days, creates an exceptional precision in reaching these segments with the right messaging.  As Healthcare Facilities expand their list of available services or reopen altogether, geo targeted campaigns such as “Healthy Fairfax County” are springing up to reassure residents that facilities are exercising proper distancing and disinfectant protocols.

These tools are at your disposal today, and allow you to affect laser focused campaigns; we are here to help you exercise your imagination in applying them.  If you need help crafting a powerful digital strategy during these uncertain times, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]


About the Author

Jim Dolan leads Enradius’ digital strategy in Philadelphia, PA. He is a 30-year multimedia strategist, manager, and industry thought leader who has led radio groups, digital and cable television sales operations to top of market ratings and revenue performance. You can contact Jim for a consultation by clicking here.

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