Hey guess what high dollar realtor, no one wants to see your ad for a multi-million dollar house as they’re applying for unemployment and payroll protection loans. You can’t close down a ski resort and promote next year’s season pass sales at the same time. Those salesy hashtags you’re appending to personal posts about how your family’s shelter is faring, gross, delete.

Heard of tone deaf marketing?

If you’re not listening then you’re probably that crass capitalist who thinks people sheltering at home want to buy your wrinkle removal cream or hair dye. Chewy.com, how much money are you spending to sell me soft chews that get my dogs to stop eating poop?! I’m just happy my dogs have something to eat without me having to go to the grocery store.

Chewy Facebook Ad

I am a crass capitalist most of the time. However, most of the time we don’t have thousands of people dying and millions “sheltering” at home, many of those homes not safe shelters at all. I cancelled ChaosU workshops when my office, Rolling Fatties, shut their doors (proactively ahead of Maine’s Stay At Home order.) I stopped blogging about internet marketing, even though small business owners have unprecedented time on their hands, and need to sustain their businesses in new ways. While that feels a little like dropping the ball on helping community, I can’t seem to find my marketing hat and don’t want to wear it. (Also how can I write when I’m mixing metaphors like the “what’s in the pantry” stir fries I’m throwing together for meals.)

While I don’t have a lot of great advice for how to market your business during a pandemic like Covid-19, it’s pretty clear what not to do. This clipping from a real estate agent’s newsletter sums it up well:

Tone Deaf Marketing Email Newsletter

The economy matters. Small business matters. I bet most of us can come up with ways to support our local communities without sounding like a rich asshole who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the overriding uncertainty everyone is feeling.

So I’m not helping businesses with their SEO right now, or guiding people on website design. Instead I’m buying food from local farmers, gift certificates for local restaurants, and great beer from the one brewery delivering to our area — thank you Bissell Brothers! When drinking good beer equals community service it’s really not that hard to do the right thing.

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