In Times of Uncertainty, Overcommunication is Key

By Maura Smith, CMO on March 18, 2020

Maura V2-1Many of us—marketers or otherwise—have faced grave times of uncertainty. The crash in the early 2000s, H1N1, and the housing crisis that loomed large in 2008. It was all unprecedented, unchartered territory for us. It took a little while, but as it always does, curves get flattened and normalcy, albeit a new normalcy, always sets in.

The end may see distant now. But if how we came out on the other side of prior situations is the litmus test for how we will endure and overcome the current situation, then let’s collectively focus on that better time to come. In the meantime, let’s use the mettle we have that makes us so fluid and resilient. 

Above all else, while the world carries out its designated yet temporary isolation, now is the time for overcommunication with each other. In the affiliate space, it’s time for brands to complete a communication check-in with their partners, and leverage their audience reach to help convey timely messages and updates to consumers.

Not sure where to start? Here are the 3 key communication areas to focus on now with your partners during times of uncertainty.

1. Obtain contact information to get in touch with the right people. 

You may be used to regularly communicating with a steady partner contact. But what happens if an emergency removes your contact from the day-to-day loop? Do you know who all your key points of partner contact are or who you need to contact with critical or time-sensitive information? Consider that you will always need some level of back up in your contact/outreach plan. Ask day-to-day partner contacts for their back up contact’s info in the event they are unavailable. You can also feel free to reach out to directly to Pepperjam to obtain contact information.  

Tip: The Ascend™ platform provides functionality not only for sending newsletters to partners but also integrated email to add supplemental contact information to reach additional partner contacts, beyond those who are designated as the primary contact for a partner account. 

2. Communicate supply-side delays or a policy changes that warrant partner communications. 

In times of uncertainty and a fair degree of chaos, a brand may elect to make accommodations to customers. Often, this presents itself as special pricing or shipping and return policy amendments.  

Tip: As with all changes, be sure to also update your program description to include all these details and adjust your locking period if you are extending your return policy so you don’t pay commissions on items that were returned. Not sure how to adjust your locking period? Contact Pepperjam reps to help you. 

3. Keep your partners abreast with need-to-know details.  

When trying circumstances prevail, so much is moving in different directions at different times. In the chaos of the moment, it’s easy to let otherwise critical details go uncommunicated. However, keep in mind that partners are your vessel of communication with your target audience via their established audiences. So, from the partner’s perspective, not being in the know can make the difference between success and epic failure. Take for example store closures. Covid-19 has temporarily shuttered the doors or altered hours of operation for many industries and businesses of all sizes including Apple, Walmart and Trader Joe’s. Consider the omnichannel programs you run and notify those partners of store closings, shifting business hours or changes to buy online pick up in-store polices. These are relevant updates that partners need to know and can also share with consumers to spread the word. 

Tip: Remember that your partners are allies in informing their broader (read: large) audiences on any critical information you need to convey about your business or product. Make sure you’re not wasting their time by providing them with timely and accurate information surrounding your products as well as your business at large. Detail the specifics to partners via newsletter and ask them to help communicate the message to consumers.  

Topics:   Covid-19