Is your thinking a little bit fuzzy? Do you find that you’re forgetting things more frequently than usual? Are you having some trouble concentrating? Is your motivation in a bit of a slump?
You’re not alone.
According to a Fast Company article from earlier this month, the pandemic may be inhibiting our ability to make every day decisions. A psychology professor at the University of Texas explains that the driving force behind this foggy phenomenon is mental stress. He says, “Stress decreases our working memory capacity, so we have fewer cognitive resources to wrap our heads around all the different options, even for things that are relatively inconsequential.”
It’s no coincidence that these are also symptoms of depression. A Harvard Medical School publication further elaborates on these psychological symptoms in saying, “Depression can actually change your ability to think. It can impair your attention and memory, as well as your information processing and decision-making skills. It can also lower your cognitive flexibility (the ability to adapt your goals and strategies to changing situations) and executive functioning (the ability to take all the steps to get something done).”
In the wake of COVID we have faced new stressors personally and professionally and depression is on the rise as well. Combined they create a perfect storm in your brain.
Last spring we didn’t even know what day it was. Our brains have come a long way since then but there’s a fuzziness that remains for many people. Making decisions, recalling key information, and remembering how to interact socially are all a little bit harder these days (okay, maybe we all get a pass on that last one).
Even if people are a little bit foggy right now with their decision-making, they still need products and services, which means marketers must find a way to cut through the haze and reach their target audiences. The good news is that this isn’t new territory for us. Every day we create content to overcome purchase barriers and this pandemic cloudiness is no exception.
So, as a marketer, how do you overcome these cognitive barriers?
- Limit options on offerings to avoid decision paralysis
- Offer help before prospective customers ask for it so they feel supported
- Make buying REALLY easy by shortening the checkout process
- Only ask for critical information from customers, not what you’d like to build your business
- Allow customers to save favorites and wish list items and then customize marketing communications around these items
- Prioritize creating the content your customers want so they don’t have to sift through content that doesn’t interest them
- Preemptively give existing customers the resources they need when they need them, so they don’t have to go looking
- Use automation to convey time-specific information and follow-up when no action is taken –reminders, deadlines, offers
- Simplify your website UX, making small changes over time instead of big changes all at once
What do all these strategies have in common? A service mindset.
Serve your customers, not yourself.
Over the last year a lot has changed, but what hasn’t changed (and will never change) is the need to serve others. If serving your customers when they’re at their best works so well, how much more will serving them when they’re not at 100% pay off?
You don’t need a “post-pandemic marketing strategy” or any other fancy plan to reach your audience right now. You just need to abide by “anytime” customer service best practices. Focus your marketing on listening and helping, and you’ll overcome any barrier.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Business Blogging, and Web Copywriting. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and two children and enjoys cooking, watching sports, and spending time together as a family. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about current marketing trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!