Marketing During COVID-19

By Tom Dougherty

6 April 2020

Marketing during COVID-19: A primer

Marketing during COVID-19: A Primer

So much is uncertain these days. And uncertainty often gives way to fear. That’s what many brands are feeling right now and why marketing during COVID-19 means, in part, overcoming that fear.

Many brands are simply suspending any marketing, and I can see the reasons for that. I also see that marketing during COVID-19 can be done. And successfully.

At Stealing Share, we’ve developed a model that guides marketers during this time by exploring the changes in human motivators. The model can be found here.

The concept comes from the basis of what we do here every day. Understand human behavior and align your brand messages with the motivators for that behavior.

marketing during COVID-19Because, more now than possibly ever, marketing during COVID-19 means not only understanding the motivators but also how they have changed. Some have become more important, others less so. Most of all, their meanings change.

And the more you as a marketer understand them the more likely you are to create preference, now and going forward.

Marketing during COVID-19 means understanding the changes in human motivators

There are eight basic human motivators: Desire, Familiarity, Leadership, Affirmation, Scope, Comfort, Change, and Community. The model outlines which have grown in intensity, and which have not. More importantly, it demonstrates what they now mean and what messages should arise from them when marketing during COVID-19.

“Understanding these while marketing during COVID-19 becomes important not just day, but going forward. The changes in emotional motivators may outlast the virus itself.”

For example, let’s take Scope. Which some marketers might see as providing options. Having a wide scope of products for consumers to choose from.

In good times, offering many options is a good thing. Because it gives your target audience the control to choose. However, in tough times, audiences seek fewer choices. Emotionally, they believe there is too much at stake to risk making the wrong choice. So a narrower scope is preferred.

Understanding these while marketing during COVID-19 becomes important not just day, but going forward. The changes in emotional motivators may outlast the virus itself. Meaning, the whole emotional makeup of your audience may be more permanently altered.

If you’re reading this and what to learn more, email us at We have a presentation we’d be glad to walk you through.

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