Marketing’s Lack of Empathy in a Pandemic

Where is the Real Empathy?

Any number of marketing media articles are focused on the economics of the pandemic.  From spend estimates, sales estimates, and consumer psychology.  Especially as we head into the holiday season, we are being bombarded with news and advice about how to position, brand, and sell in these “unprecedented times.”

But where is the recognition and realization of the impact that this pandemic has held?  Where is the realization that people may not be ready to spend, or even not have the money to spend?  Granted, marketing’s job is to get people to buy things.  Yet there seems to be a lack of attention to the reality of the economics, hardships, and uncertainty that many are experiencing.

Are marketers and marketing media ignoring the economic realities of the pandemic? At the time of this recording, the United States unemployment rate is 7.9% with 10.7 million jobs lost since the start of the lockdowns.

According to a McKinsey Study, Consumers are cutting back to the essentials, they are leaving brand loyalty behind.  Both Consumers and businesses are re-evaluating their spending and focusing on value. Nearly 75% of consumers have changed brands or store preferences during the pandemic.

On the one side, The concept of empathy has made numerous headlines, but simple observation shows that empathy is being used as a marketing tactic, rather than presenting true empathy.  Countless articles tell marketers to use empathy to reach people, but they still focus on gaining more sales and leads, which ultimately conflicts with their own advice.  True empathy would realize that there is no simple road map to navigate these circumstances.  People are deeply impacted, and they will react in many different – and unpredictable- ways.

One study says that consumers want brands to move on from COVID, another says that brands shouldn’t use humor, another shows that consumers want brands to lead in providing security and hope.

Can we learn from this that there is no single way to approach people, especially in a high-stress uncertain time?


[00:00:00] Matt Bailey: And it’s almost like the marketing media, those that are reporting on what’s happening, who’s spending what, what are these agencies doing? What are these brands doing? It’s almost like they’re done with the coronavirus.

[00:00:17] Ashley Schweigert: Oh, I know.

[00:00:18] Matt Bailey: And, “Look at spending here. And why aren’t we spending as much in paid media, even though sales are up?” It, it’s almost this, “We’re done with it. Let’s move on. Why aren’t we spending as much?” It, it, it’s almost like this denial of where we’re at. In my mind, that’s a denial of the real anxiety and problems that people are facing.

[00:00:46] Bumper Intro-Outro: Welcome to Endless Coffee Cup, a regular discussion of marketing news, culture, and media for our complex digital lifestyle. Join Matt Bailey as he engages in conversation to find insights beyond the latest headlines and deeper understanding for those involved in marketing. Grab a cup of coffee, have a seat, and thanks for joining.

[00:01:15] Matt Bailey: Hello and welcome again to another edition of the Endless Coffee Cup, and, uh, thank you so much for tuning in. I’ve talked to a few listeners out there and some of us, “us,” I’m including myself in this, because it’s so hard to listen to podcasts when you’re not in your car, going back and forth to work. So many people are no longer tele-, they’re commuting, they’re telecommuting.

[00:01:39] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:01:39] Matt Bailey: And so, you’ve only got 5 or 10 minutes in the car between going somewhere and, and I’m doing this also. I’m trying to listen to the same podcast and I’m only getting 5 minutes of, of connection. So, hey, if you’re doing that, thank you for tuning in and thank you for being patient. Ashley, how are you doing today?

[00:01:55] Ashley Schweigert: I’m good. I’m happy to be here.

[00:01:57] Matt Bailey: Good, good. We are, uh, I, I would call this like, I don’t know what number it is, but in our coronavirus series of referencing the virus, I mean, you, can’t not do it…

[00:02:08] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:02:09] Matt Bailey: …in the modern, you know, what we’re doing with marketing and how it’s affecting everything. And that’s what I wanted to talk about today, and, and you seem to be right on board with it, is one thing I don’t see is that this acknowledgement from brands or the acknowledgement from, I would say the marketing media…

[00:02:30] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:02:31] Matt Bailey: …that people are having a tough time. I, I’m sure every one of us, even you listener, we know someone who’s lost their job.

[00:02:41] Ashley Schweigert: Yes.

[00:02:41] Matt Bailey: We know someone who is not working because of coronavirus. I, I mean, I’m, I’m amazed on LinkedIn how many people have lost their jobs. People in the hotel industry, travel industry, that’s been decimated. And then you, you look at restaurant workers, servers, you know, and unfortunately, it’s people who are in the service industries. I just read where the Time Square Hilton shut down for good.

[00:03:05] Ashley Schweigert: Oh my gosh.

[00:03:06] Matt Bailey: And that’s hundreds of jobs right there.

[00:03:09] Ashley Schweigert: I, you know, I was listening to the radio, actually, yesterday.

[00:03:13] Matt Bailey: Oh, good for you. Wow.

[00:03:14] Ashley Schweigert: I know, right? Um, and there was, you know, just some discussion going back and forth between some listeners talking about how the virus has impacted them and the, just their mental state overall.

[00:03:27] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:03:27] Ashley Schweigert: So, people like these parents that are now stay at home moms. Like, they no longer have that career because they lost their job due to COVID and it’s really sad. And it’s the, the first time really that I sat down and heard people talking about their personal stories, breaking down crying.

[00:03:46] Matt Bailey: Wow.

[00:03:46] Ashley Schweigert: And it just, it was really hard to hear. It was really hard to hear ’cause I do try to keep myself pretty upbeat throughout all of this because I am aware of what’s going on, but I do know you have to keep pushing forward and, you know, you do have to be concerned about your own mental state, as well.

[00:04:02] Matt Bailey: Well, and we know. We’ve got good friends in this industry…

[00:04:04] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:04:05] Matt Bailey: …that have lost so many clients because they, you know, initially during the lockdown, everything stopped. And now people are still afraid to spend because they don’t know what’s next.

[00:04:16] Ashley Schweigert: Yes. Well, yeah, that’s the thing, too. So, now selling has evolved. So, you have to evolve with the times, no matter what’s going on. Like even myself and, that’s how I’m kind of smiling over here, Matt, because I know what you’re going to say, but my cold calling is still, is still doing the job, right? But I’m not just doing that. I have to think of other avenues to reach people or to, you know, meet them in the middle, even. If they don’t have the budget like they used to, see how you can accommodate. Right now, it’s all about helping each other. And that’s really what we should be focusing on.

[00:04:49] Matt Bailey: And that’s the point.

[00:04:50] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:04:50] Matt Bailey: I love what you just said there, because what frustrates me is I get up every morning. I start reading my email and my email is full of marketing news and industry news and, and different industries. And it’s almost like the marketing media, those that are reporting on what’s happening, who’s spending what, what are these agencies doing? What are these brands doing? It’s almost like they’re done with the coronavirus.

[00:05:18] Ashley Schweigert: Oh, I know.

[00:05:19] Matt Bailey: And, “Look at spending here. And why aren’t we spending as much in paid media, even though sales are up?” It, it’s almost this, “We’re done with it. Let’s move on. Why aren’t we spending as much?” It, it, it, it’s almost like this denial of where we’re at. In my mind, that’s a denial of the real anxiety and problems that people are facing.

And when they write articles about, “Well, we can just plan on spending, being down for the Christmas…” Okay. Yeah. Anyone with common sense would understand that, but the way it’s being written about has such a lack of empathy, such a lack of awareness of these are real human stories.

[00:06:03] Ashley Schweigert: I know. I know. And it’s, that’s why I think that listening to that radio station yesterday really, ’cause I’m the, I’m the person that’s reading these articles and I’m reading them day in and day out like you are, you’re looking at, you know, the headlines and you do get kind of lost in it, right? And, you know, we kind of adapt with what we constantly hear or, or looking at, or the conversations that we’re having.

So, to just hear these people crying and talking about their own stories was something for me. And, um, it was really hard to listen to, but I’m glad I did it because I had a moment there to where I myself had to really realize that people are still suffering and, you know, we should do what we can to help.

[00:06:46] Matt Bailey: So, just a, a couple of days ago, Yelp came out with an, an economic impact report, and, and this is businesses that are on Yelp, and how many businesses are temporarily closed and how many businesses are permanently closed. And who’s struggling the most is retail and restaurants. Especially restaurants, breakfast and brunch restaurants, sandwiches, but then clothing stores, gift shops, home decor.

[00:07:16] Ashley Schweigert: Well, and I will say, I like to shop, I’m not going to lie. This really hasn’t stopped me. I’m not going to lie to you. But, um, I did notice on Facebook, Express, you know, I thought that they did something pretty cool. Like, they got into renting and, um, I didn’t look into it too much, I just kind of perusing the feed, and I saw that they’re, they’re starting to rent out their outfits.

[00:07:40] Matt Bailey: Oh, yeah.

[00:07:40] Ashley Schweigert: So, I thought that that was a interesting, you know, strategy for still staying in front of consumers eyes and in their closets to some extent. So, after all of this that, you know, they’re able to still keep that rapport, still keep that client loyalty. So, I thought that that was a good idea. So, I just think right now looking to see what brands are doing to, um, stay afloat, the ones that are acknowledging what’s going on and trying to adapt is, is interesting. And I think those are the ones that we even remember back in the day, right?

[00:08:12] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:08:13] Ashley Schweigert: When, um, you know, other types of things happened that impacted the economy.

[00:08:18] Matt Bailey: This shows as of August 31st, 163,735 total U.S. businesses on Yelp have closed since the beginning of a pandemic.

[00:08:28] Ashley Schweigert: But you know what really ticks me off about all of this? So, you have businesses closing, and then you have businesses who are struggling, and then you do have businesses who are actually thriving…

[00:08:37] Matt Bailey: Oh…

[00:08:37] Ashley Schweigert: …with all this.

[00:08:38] Matt Bailey: …yeah. Yeah.

[00:08:38] Ashley Schweigert: So, it’s, you know, it’s really all over the board, right? And I know, like, you know, selling, that has been a personal struggle of mine, just trying to figure out like who to even target so I can, you know, keep afloat and have clients and things like that. But, um, I noticed that tools that I once used that were free, aren’t.

[00:08:56] Matt Bailey: Oh.

[00:08:56] Ashley Schweigert: Oh, yeah.

[00:08:57] Matt Bailey: Oh. Wow.

[00:08:58] Ashley Schweigert: Oh, yeah. I, that is, I am ticked. I’m not going to mention any names. I am ticked. Well, because I’m just thinking these are tools that are to help business owners to, um, communicate and to reach their audience, and now you have the audacity of charging?

[00:09:16] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:09:16] Ashley Schweigert: Or not making things as great as they used to be?

[00:09:20] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:09:20] Ashley Schweigert: So, there were certain, you know, parts of the service that were free now cost money.

[00:09:25] Matt Bailey: Well, and as a software, as a service, how is COVID impacting, you, you know, you might see a slowdown in sales, which I don’t think you are. You, you know, Shopify doubled their client base in, in, in the first, or in the second quarter.

[00:09:39] Ashley Schweigert: Oh yeah.

[00:09:40] Matt Bailey: You know, because people, so many were moving to a digital platform. So, digitally based businesses have been increasing dramatically and investing, and maybe that is a way to increase revenue by what was free now is paid. But again, that’s sort of taking advantage of the pandemic…

[00:09:59] Ashley Schweigert: Exactly.

[00:10:00] Matt Bailey: …you know?

[00:10:00] Ashley Schweigert: Exactly.

[00:10:01] Matt Bailey: Um, so, some statistics about this. 80% of consumers said that COVID-19 has changed the way and the decisions about buying. 80% of consumers are now making decisions about how they buy and how much they spend with an eye towards uncertainty. 86% of businesses are changing how they spend. That is incredible. Both of them cited that they’re focused on pricing, prices, getting, right now everyone’s about getting better deals, spending their money more wisely, cutting back. The, the cutting back of spending is across all categories…

[00:10:40] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:10:40] Matt Bailey: …of income. Everyone’s cutting back. Even those that, you know, their income hasn’t been affected as much, they’re still cutting back.

[00:10:48] Ashley Schweigert: Oh yeah.

[00:10:49] Matt Bailey: So, that’s the reality. The reality is you’re trying to get people to buy who are now less inclined to buy or, you know, more considerate about what they’re spending on than they were a year ago.

[00:11:04] Ashley Schweigert: Well, that’s why it’s more than the pandemic. I know we talked about it a little bit, so not to get too much into it. This is election year and people are scared about spending money and…

[00:11:13] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:11:13] Ashley Schweigert: …you know, what’s going to happen here in November and there’s a lot of conspiracy theorists out there. And I hate to say I’m one of them, and…

[00:11:22] Matt Bailey: Oh, no, no, no.

[00:11:24] Ashley Schweigert: Uh, yeah, I am, but…

[00:11:24] Matt Bailey: Yeah, yeah, there are people, I’ve talked to them and they’re, they’re not going to invest or spend until after the election…

[00:11:29] Ashley Schweigert: Yes.

[00:11:29] Matt Bailey: …to know what’s going on. And I know I’m one of those that’s, I’m very cynical about it. I’m like, “Nothing’s going to change. Come on.” Regardless of what happens.

[00:11:37] Ashley Schweigert: That’s why it’s so great talking to you, ’cause people like me who are into the conspiracy theories that are like, “Oh, I’m not spending a dime.” And it’s like, “Okay, now I can just relax.”

[00:11:48] Matt Bailey: No. And, and that’s part of that. I’m like, “No, I don’t,” 2020 is not the worst year this earth has ever seen.

[00:11:54] Ashley Schweigert: No, it really isn’t.

[00:11:54] Matt Bailey: There have been many worse things to happen on this planet than 2020. Now, granted, look out your window, it may look like Armageddon where you are, but it’s not the worst, but I think the media has done a lot to exacerbate fear. It’s done a lot to create fear. And part of that, you were talking about this earlier, is the clickbait headlines.

[00:12:17] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:12:17] Matt Bailey: Clickbait headlines, I know if I change a few words and make it a bit more sensationalized, it’ll get clicked on more, but at the same time, we, you know, I think that’s part of a media, “More people look at my page, the more ad revenue I get, the more people are happy,” but at what cost?

[00:12:34] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:12:35] Matt Bailey: You’re creating more sensationalized headline that attracts people because it plays on fear, plays on, uh, outrage, it plays on surprise and that creates more anxiety.

[00:12:46] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah, it does.

[00:12:47] Matt Bailey: So, I, I think we’re kind of in this self-replicating, this self-sustaining anxiety bubble that you’ve got to recognize people being human.

[00:12:58] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:12:59] Matt Bailey: Being not able to know what’s going to happen next week, next month, and you know, different countries now are going back on lockdown. And so, we may be dealing with this for months. Some are saying we may be dealing with this for years.

[00:13:12] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah. I’ve heard the same.

[00:13:14] Matt Bailey: And, and brands and companies need to realize that. They need to acknowledge it and keep acknowledging it that we understand because we’re going through it too.

[00:13:24] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:13:25] Matt Bailey: Yeah. 61% of restaurants that have closed are closed permanently.

[00:13:30] Ashley Schweigert: I know. Some of my favorite…

[00:13:32] Matt Bailey: Um, shopping and retail, 30,000 closures, 58% of them are closed permanently.

[00:13:37] Ashley Schweigert: Ugh.

[00:13:38] Matt Bailey: Beauty and spas, 42% that have closed are closed permanently. And now, where most of this is happening is in the cities, in the metro areas where there’s more people who want those services, but, I mean, that’s also where COVID hits.

[00:13:53] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:13:53] Matt Bailey: Primarily you see more cases in the city, so it’s, that’s where, where things are happening. And, you know, unfortunately, you know, we’re seeing a toll from that. Did you see this also San Francisco, the amount of people moving out of San Francisco?

[00:14:09] Ashley Schweigert: Oh, yeah, I have. Yep.

[00:14:11] Matt Bailey: Because everything’s closed down and because, what, they’re paying $10,000 a month in rent and they’re working from home. And, and it was funny because I saw one guy, he’s like, “I’m going back to Ohio.” Well, yeah, I mean, you take that $10,000 rent, you can buy yourself something nice in Ohio.

[00:14:29] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah, you can. Yes, you can.

[00:14:30] Matt Bailey: Uh, it’s a big change there. And one example of this is a couple of months ago, so, first of all, it was like, all these ads were with you, and what my wife said the other day, “I hate the word unprecedented now. Everyone’s using the word unprecedented.” And of course, I’m just like, “Well, everything is unprecedented. We’ve never…”

[00:14:50] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:14:50] Matt Bailey: …you know, “It, it fits the definition.” I was just poking her, you know.

[00:14:54] Ashley Schweigert: I’m sure she liked that.

[00:14:57] Matt Bailey: But it, it is. And even on YouTube, there’s a video called “Every COVID-19 Commercial is Exactly the Same,” and, and it does, it stitches together all these brand videos and that same music, same mood, same shots. And they’re all the same. “We’re with you.” And, I mean, it comes across as, “When you’re ready to spend your money, we’ll be here.”

[00:15:19] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah. And that’s the thing, are you still seeing those types of commercials? ‘Cause I know I kind of touched on this before. I’m not seeing those as much as I used to.

[00:15:27] Matt Bailey: I’m seeing more commercials like with people with masks on and it talks about how, and, and because now, as consumers, what people want to see is how are you treating your employees? Are you protecting…

[00:15:38] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:15:38] Matt Bailey: …your employees? What are you doing, because they’re the ones that are paid the least, and you’re making them work the most, and they’re the highest risk.

[00:15:44] Ashley Schweigert: Yes.

[00:15:45] Matt Bailey: And so, I’ve seen some brands change to show, “Here’s what we’re doing. Here’s how we’re handling things.” And I’ve seen that. And, and I’m, I’m okay with that because it shows you’re addressing the concerns that people have now. Some were concerned about other people. We’re concerned about these frontline workers, because we are, we’re hearing many, many stories about other workers that are not being taken care of.

[00:16:06] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:16:07] Matt Bailey: I’ve seen some where it’s just basically the same. They’re just wearing some masks.

[00:16:11] Ashley Schweigert: Well, and it’s so hard, too, I think that, um, when you’re in marketing, you rely on whenever you are trying to sell a product on having that human interaction, having this expression show, and when you have to have masks in a photo or in a video, you’re not getting that expression across, and therefore, it is harder to sell a product ’cause you have to have that human interaction, that, um, emotion, ’cause the viewer has to connect emotionally on some level.

That’s a real challenge. I’ve noticed it, you know, one of my clients in particular, we, we have this campaign that’s rolling out and we were debating like, do we have people with masks that, you know, are outside at, you know, their lunch or whatever that we could see them smiling or do we, I mean, it was a thing. We didn’t really know, you know, how to approach that because it’s not like they’re not being safe if they’re in a photo without a mask on.

[00:17:09] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Oh.

[00:17:10] Ashley Schweigert: See what I mean?

[00:17:11] Matt Bailey: Yeah, absolutely.

[00:17:11] Ashley Schweigert: And then you don’t know how someone’s going to take that…

[00:17:14] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[00:17:14] Ashley Schweigert: …that is looking at, looking at it. And that’s, that was a thing, and, um, you know, just trying to figure out where to go with it, but I know as a marketer that you have to have some of those smiling faces there. So, yeah, it’s, it’s been a real challenge. Um, but I will say those kind of conversations are necessary, right?

But then having the conversations where it’s like, “Okay, I want to dump all my money in this area.” And instead of really looking at how your audience is changing, like doing new persona profiles, um, looking at your Google Analytics, seeing what the behavior flow is on your site, maybe doing different types of ad campaigns to understand what is driving a potential customer to your site, that’s the types of conversations that really should be happening because you do have to change your approach. Because yes, we do want to help people, right? As, as a business, we want to help people.

[00:18:09] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:18:09] Ashley Schweigert: But we also need to help ourselves, too. So, I, it’s like, it’s, I’m going to use the analogy of being in an airplane, right? When the oxygen masks come down, you need to put the oxygen mask on yourself first.

[00:18:21] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[00:18:21] Ashley Schweigert: Before you help somebody else.

[00:18:22] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[00:18:23] Ashley Schweigert: So, a business in order to help their employees, they have to be able to help themselves, too, or they’re not going to be able to provide for those employees.

[00:18:31] Matt Bailey: Wow.

[00:18:31] Ashley Schweigert: So, that’s why I do think that, you know, we do need to be understanding for businesses, but businesses are approaching it the wrong way. They’re not being authentic. They’re just getting, you know, down to that bottom line, “I need to make some money.”

[00:18:44] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:18:45] Ashley Schweigert: And I don’t necessarily think that all of them mean to come across that way. I think some of them probably do, but…

[00:18:51] Matt Bailey: It’s what they’re used to doing. I mean that’s, but that’s an old habit.

[00:18:53] Ashley Schweigert: It is an old habit, and that’s why that, marketing is going to change because of this permanently.

[00:18:59] Matt Bailey: I…

[00:18:59] Ashley Schweigert: It’s not going to go back…

[00:19:00] Matt Bailey: …yeah.

[00:19:00] Ashley Schweigert: …to the old way of doing things. You’re going to have to start evolutionizing, getting into what’s current so that if you’re not digitally savvy, if you have an organization that’s not digitally savvy, that’s a problem.

[00:19:13] Matt Bailey: You mean actually putting out good marketing.

[00:19:16] Ashley Schweigert: Oh, yeah.

[00:19:16] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:19:17] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah. And using data, right?

[00:19:18] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:19:18] Ashley Schweigert: Understanding the data.

[00:19:19] Matt Bailey: I, honestly, yes. I think brand marketing has gotten so lazy.

[00:19:22] Ashley Schweigert: Oh my gosh.

[00:19:23] Matt Bailey: So lazy. And maybe this is a check.

[00:19:26] Ashley Schweigert: It’s a shame. Like, this is stuff, what we’re talking about is not new. You should always, I mean, when did digital come out?

[00:19:34] Matt Bailey: Well, it depends on who you ask.

[00:19:35] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:19:35] Matt Bailey: Like, you know, at least 20 years we can go back, there.

[00:19:37] Ashley Schweigert: Right. So, let’s say if you are not…

[00:19:39] Matt Bailey: And then…

[00:19:40] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah, if you can’t use…

[00:19:40] Matt Bailey: …yeah.

[00:19:41] Ashley Schweigert: …Zoom or, you know, you know, something that’s like, that’s not even digital marketing.

[00:19:45] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:19:45] Ashley Schweigert: But if you can’t even like, get your team to, you know, use technology like that, that’s a problem.

[00:19:51] Matt Bailey: Well, and, and the thing is, I still see some of the same headlines, like right now they’re saying, well, “Everyone at home, podcasting is up. Your brand needs to be a podcast.”

[00:20:00] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:20:00] Matt Bailey: And I’m getting so many inquiries about podcasting from brands because they’re seeing it in the headlines now, that podcasting is now the new, you know, shiny object. And it’s like, wait a minute. And so, we’re still running the same tired…

[00:20:17] Ashley Schweigert: Yes.

[00:20:18] Matt Bailey: …trope of, “Hey, podcasting’s up, your brand should be podcasting.” Really? Is that, we’re still going to fall for this?

[00:20:26] Ashley Schweigert: Well, if you think about it, you mentioned at the very beginning of this call…

[00:20:28] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:20:28] Ashley Schweigert: …like where have you been? Have you been driving? Like, you’re, you’re talking to your audience, right? ‘Cause you know your audience, when, when people listen to podcasts, they’re typically driving.

[00:20:36] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:20:36] Ashley Schweigert: I listen to them when I’m cleaning.

[00:20:38] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:20:39] Ashley Schweigert: Sometimes. Sometimes. Sometimes, I’m not always cleaning, but, uh…

[00:20:41] Matt Bailey: I listen to them…

[00:20:42] Ashley Schweigert: …right?

[00:20:43] Matt Bailey: …when I take my hour break.

[00:20:45] Ashley Schweigert: Exactly.

[00:20:45] Matt Bailey: And sit down and just…

[00:20:46] Ashley Schweigert: And how consistent…

[00:20:47] Matt Bailey: …yeah.

[00:20:48] Ashley Schweigert: …is that? So, this, so you’re acknowledging the fact that people are at home right now. And so, you’re acknowledging your audience. So, I think for a business to say that we have to jump in this, that tells me that you’re not knowledgeable about your audience. That might not be the best approach.

[00:21:03] Matt Bailey: Right. Right.

[00:21:04] Ashley Schweigert: Which I think is what you were alluding to is not every channel is for everybody.

[00:21:08] Matt Bailey: Right. Yeah. And, and, but yet, it, it’s like this marketing media still follows the same tropes, same headlines, just reinsert a few different words or a few different channels or something like that, on that same line is we went from, “We’re with you,” ads in March, March, and April. Then we started having the fallout from the George Floyd killing and the protests. And all of a sudden, we start to see brands bring in the Black Lives Matter and they changed their, some of their icons. And you know, “We’re standing with you.”

So, brands went from, “We’re with you COVID-19,” to now the Black Lives Matter, and then it happened during the same month as Pride month, and so, immediately then they switch, now, “Okay. Black Lives Matter. We did that for a few weeks and now let’s do Pride month for a few weeks. And now let’s…”

[00:22:04] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:22:05] Matt Bailey: Interesting, there are studies, surveys that are done where people are more distrustful of brands than ever before.

[00:22:15] Ashley Schweigert: Oh, yeah.

[00:22:16] Matt Bailey: And also, that they think when brands take on these causes that they’re, here are the quotes, “Generic sympathy. Disingenuous. Opportunistic.”

[00:22:29] Ashley Schweigert: Well, you know what? I would love to know the age of the people with these quotes because I, ’cause if you remember before all this happened, some of the research that’s out there talking about how millennials, you can’t advertise to millennials, they won’t put up with being advertised to. And, um, how that whole approach to advertising needs to change.

And that’s where, you know, the element of storytelling came in, you know, connecting with your audience on an emotional level, like just really making sure that you change how you’re approaching advertising. You can’t just have a product and say 50% off or whatever.

[00:23:00] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:23:00] Ashley Schweigert: Because of that audience. So, it’s, I would love to know who’s saying that. Is it a millennial who has like, had it? Right?

[00:23:07] Matt Bailey: Yeah, I think it’s, I think it’s a mixture of both because there are some that are saying, “Yes, brands should be socially responsible. They should be bringing these messages to the public.” Uh, and, and some are even saying it’s the brand’s responsibility, which I don’t agree with that at all.

[00:23:22] Ashley Schweigert: Oh, I know what you’re talking about that.

[00:23:23] Matt Bailey: I’m like, “No.”

[00:23:23] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah. Right.

[00:23:23] Matt Bailey: But then on the other side they were saying, “No, it’s just a brand being opportunistic and going with the times and trying to ride these waves.” And really, it was very interesting to see that every time a brand takes a social issue, there is a, more and more people every year see the brand as opportunistic.

[00:23:45] Ashley Schweigert: Oh, yeah.

[00:23:45] Matt Bailey: And, “I don’t trust it because they’re just taking the latest social issue rather than, I just want clean clothes.” You know?

[00:23:52] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:23:52] Matt Bailey: “Give me a detergent.” And so, there is a fatigue, I think that goes along with all these brand messages, these brands being social, and, and part of it, too, is what right do you have as a brand to preach to me about social values, when it doesn’t take much to go see that you have problems in your supply chain? You are taking advantage of workers in other countries and paying them below a living wage. You are offshoring money so that you don’t have to pay taxes on it.

It doesn’t take much, or someone pointed out how many of these brands are 100% white CEOs, boards, uh, you, you know, all of this, and yet the brand is going to teach us, you know, they’re going to preach to us these social values when they don’t practice them themselves? I mean, there’s a, a very disingenuous and, and again, that’s lazy marketing. “Let’s jump on the latest social issue, show people that we’re woke, and get the ad out there.”

[00:24:54] Ashley Schweigert: Oh yeah.

[00:24:55] Matt Bailey: That’s a problem. That creates disloyalty, which is exactly what we’re seeing right now. 75% of Americans said they have tried a new brand in the lockdown because it’s cheaper or available. And I think that has brands scrambling. Yeah, I think it was 75%, yeah. 75% of U.S. shoppers have changed to a new brand or a new retailer since COVID-19 started.

[00:25:19] Ashley Schweigert: It doesn’t surprise me.

[00:25:21] Matt Bailey: I mean, and it’s around the world. 71% of shoppers in the UK. 90% of shoppers in India have said they’ve switched brands. 80% of shoppers in China, 70% in Spain, 55% in Germany have changed brands or retailers since COVID-19. I think brands are feeling it. And as a result, they don’t, I don’t think they know how to react.

[00:25:45] Ashley Schweigert: No, and this is where it’s, like, I know this is probably my third time saying it in this podcast, but just looking at your data, you, I mean, there’s so much available right now. I don’t understand why brands aren’t looking at their data. I am making a generalization. I don’t know for sure, right? But this is what I am seeing across the board. This is what I am, like, reading, right? When you start seeing a lot of the articles popping up, you’re not seeing a lot of talk about data…

[00:26:13] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:26:13] Ashley Schweigert: …and how to change your strategy so you can target this new audience. And this is a new audience.

[00:26:21] Matt Bailey: Well, okay. On that subject, this was a pole, September 2019 pole. So, we’re still in, or no, this is last year, even before the pandemic, 79% of those who make under $35,000 say they try new lower priced brands to save money. 63% in the $100,000 plus income bracket say that they try new lower priced brands. Half or more in each income bracket reported often buying private label goods, generic or store, something like that. People who make under $50,000 are more likely to be more favorable towards dollar stores. However, people in the $50,000 to $100,000 are also more favorable to dollar stores by 17%.

[00:27:13] Ashley Schweigert: ‘Cause they’re smart.

[00:27:15] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Yeah. And, and so, it’s all right now, and these are like pre-pandemic numbers. Post-pandemic, as we saw, 75 percenters, people are, are trying to spend less and they don’t want to spend needlessly. And so, we’ve got to respect that in any type of market.

[00:27:33] Ashley Schweigert: No, I agree.

[00:27:34] Matt Bailey: Yeah, this is, uh, this data is phenomenal, it’s from eMarketer. 20% of people have postponed a major purchase, doesn’t matter what income bracket. 67% did not make a planned purchase. Instead, they purchased cheaper or rented an alternative. 40%, no major purchases planned because of this. Um, so yeah, it’s, uh, and up around 20% will not make a previously planned major purchase. So, yeah, that was done in June, just a few months ago of how this has impacted across all income brackets. People just aren’t comfortable spending at this point.

[00:28:11] Ashley Schweigert: I would love to know what those numbers are today. I just love it.

[00:28:14] Matt Bailey: I don’t think there’s a big difference.

[00:28:16] Ashley Schweigert: Uh-uh.

[00:28:16] Matt Bailey: On the other side, you see a few other things. So, I had to get a new computer card, went up to the computer store and he, he told me that when people got their checks, it was like Black Friday because people were upgrading their gaming computers, they were buying gaming computers, you can’t get a, a…

[00:28:35] Ashley Schweigert: Priorities, right?

[00:28:36] Matt Bailey: …yeah, you can’t get a video card right now. Your high-end video cards for gaming, can’t find them. They’re not available.

[00:28:44] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah. I will say, you know, I was kind of entertaining the idea of getting a pool. I think we talked about this, and now there’s like a waiting list.

[00:28:51] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:28:51] Ashley Schweigert: Like, you can’t even get, right.

[00:28:52] Matt Bailey: You can’t even get on the list for, yeah, a pool. It’s crazy.

[00:28:56] Ashley Schweigert: And that’s a big expense.

[00:28:58] Matt Bailey: Well, I think what people are doing is, “We’re not going on vacation.”

[00:29:00] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:29:01] Matt Bailey: “We’re not traveling. We’re not going anywhere,” so home improvement is up. You know, that’s one thing. So, I talked about the categories of businesses that were going down. The same Yelp report, businesses staying afloat, roofing, landscaping, tree services, plumbing, contractors, uh, I mean, it’s, it’s, people are investing in what they have. They’re putting money into our, if we’re going to be here, if we’re going to get locked down in this house, we’re going to do some things to, you know, enjoy our time here.

[00:29:31] Ashley Schweigert: Oh yeah.

[00:29:33] Matt Bailey: It’s shifting big, you, you know, unfortunately I, you know, I think our small business month is coming up soon and I think that’s probably the best thing people could do if you do anything is, uh, look to support your small business. I know one of the changes I’ve made is to back off how much I’m buying on Amazon and either buy local or go to that retailer’s website. And you know what I have found is usually they have a 10% off incentive to buy directly from their site. So, that covers your free shipping.

[00:30:00] Ashley Schweigert: Oh, there you go.

[00:30:07] Matt Bailey: Yeah. I mean, the main reason I’m using Amazon is free shipping, but if I can get that 10%…

[00:30:11] Ashley Schweigert: ‘Cause with Prime and…

[00:30:12] Matt Bailey: …yeah, and, and pay same price or a little more, it saves them that, I mean, Amazon takes a 30% markup of everything. So, that’s what I’ve been trying to do a little bit more is be more mindful of the local businesses, those around me that, you, you know, yeah, it does take getting in a car and going somewhere and they may not have what you want, but the money stays local. The money is helping people that may live across town and the money stays here. That’s one of the things, I, I mean, if, if people are asking, “What can I do?” That’s one of them.

[00:30:49] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:30:49] Matt Bailey: And, and I think as business owners, as marketers, we realize Amazon’s got that 30% markup on everything. You know, Amazon, what, they’ve doubled their value I think since COVID, if that’s possible. So…

[00:31:01] Ashley Schweigert: Well, I think a lot of businesses, like they get concerned. I know whenever I’m dealing with like an AdWords client or an SEO client and they’re local, and then they see that the keywords that they’re going after Amazon or a big box brand is also going after them, and they’re like, “Oh, they have all this money.” No, there’s things that you can do now to compete.

[00:31:20] Matt Bailey: Oh, yeah.

[00:31:21] Ashley Schweigert: And you actually can compete now.

[00:31:23] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[00:31:23] Ashley Schweigert: This is the time to do it. To go after those key terms that you may have been hesitant to do in the past, I would do it now.

[00:31:31] Matt Bailey: Well, and that’s the thing. Yes. As a local business, increase your local visibility through Google My Business, through, even get on Bing. Believe it or not, Bing is growing in market share because of the Google data collection and all that.

[00:31:45] Ashley Schweigert: Yes.

[00:31:46] Matt Bailey: And, and honestly, if you get into Bing, you create your account for your business, you can import your Google My Business data into Bing Business. So, you don’t even have to do the setup. You can just do a one-click import from your Google data. Same thing with Bing Ads. If you want to put your local business ads on Bing, you can import from Google Ads into Bing. Uh…

[00:32:06] Ashley Schweigert: That’s convenient.

[00:32:07] Matt Bailey: Yeah, absolutely. And it increases your exposure locally. And like I said, you, it may not be a huge amount from Bing, but it’s growing, and it also gives Google a little competition, so.

[00:32:18] Ashley Schweigert: Well, and it’s a, it’s another revenue stream.

[00:32:21] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:32:21] Ashley Schweigert: You want to have a couple of revenue, revenue streams and that’s just one. Yeah, I think like local, local marketing can be a little different than the national. So, like going after location-based keywords.

[00:32:31] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:32:31] Ashley Schweigert: So, if you have a website that doesn’t have service area pages, this is the time to do those service area pages and target, you know, cat food and, that, they, I’m a cat lady, so might as well go there. So, you know, cat food in North Canton.

[00:32:47] Matt Bailey: Right. Right.

[00:32:48] Ashley Schweigert: Going after those, believe it or not, like you’ll rank.

[00:32:51] Matt Bailey: Yeah. I, I think it’s time to review your account, look at your service area, look at where, you know, I’m targeting people in this area. So, it may be time to put a little bit more into those local ads, but get a review done and see what’s working. Uh, you, we talked about this before that we’re seeing you can do with Google Ads is leave it, forget it…

[00:33:11] Ashley Schweigert: Oh yeah.

[00:33:11] Matt Bailey: …and walk away, go in, review, see what’s working and how you can better target your local area. Yeah, we’re working with someone right now, just, you, you know, just local. They’ve got a feed business and, and, and they’re getting crazy visibility. People are looking for stuff that’s closer to home, they’re looking for something else, but something that also as a local business, you’re going to have to do, update your website with how you’re handling changes because of COVID. What’s your policy? What should people expect?

We had this with our, our orthodontist in taking the kids to the orthodontist. We got a text. “Here’s what we want you to do. Step one, stay in your car. Step two, we’ll come get you.” You know, so it’s, that needs to be on your site. Absolutely. What are you doing to, what’s the change? What should I expect?

[00:33:58] Ashley Schweigert: Because that’s reputation management right there.

[00:34:01] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:34:01] Ashley Schweigert: You want to make sure that your reputation is still good in the community. But I will say, so, I had, I had somebody reach out to me who was actually starting a business with all of this going on. Can you believe that?

[00:34:10] Matt Bailey: Fantastic. Love it.

[00:34:11] Ashley Schweigert: I mean, I was so happy to hear this from her and, um, she, well, you know, what do you think she’s, she started with was a website. She’s like, “Oh, I need to get my website going.” Well, you and I both know that that can take time. And then you also have organic, which takes six months on average for it to even catch on. So, after her business model, I thought, “Oh my gosh, you know what? Facebook Ads would be perfect for her, and they’re cheaper,” right? I am not the best I’ve seen in, I, she’s spending like nothing for these…

[00:34:43] Matt Bailey: Wow.

[00:34:43] Ashley Schweigert: …Facebook Ads and she’s gaining business left and right from these ads. And it just makes sense for her business.

[00:34:49] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:34:50] Ashley Schweigert: ‘Cause, you know, it’s local and she does have a reputation in the area for, you know, with the people that she does have. So, she has some good reviews on her page and, um, you know, she’s personable, it’s her, it’s her face.

[00:35:03] Matt Bailey: Yep.

[00:35:04] Ashley Schweigert: So, we put her face on everything and she’s doing fantastic.

[00:35:08] Matt Bailey: That’s amazing.

[00:35:09] Ashley Schweigert: And it wasn’t, that’s why you have to really look at that channel and if it makes sense. So, whenever you are talking to somebody, like, with an agency and you’re just updating your site, you know, for COVID and you’re looking at other things that you can do right now because, yeah, you have to make money, too. You know, make sure you’re talking to somebody who’s actually looking at what is going to be beneficial today and tomorrow.

[00:35:30] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:35:30] Ashley Schweigert: So, by looking at your current audience and, you know, what makes sense. So, maybe like putting it in phases. So, that’s what we did with her, you know, like her site wasn’t the very first thing, right?

[00:35:39] Matt Bailey: Right. Yeah.

[00:35:39] Ashley Schweigert: So, that was a little bit later.

[00:35:41] Matt Bailey: Don’t need it at this point. Yeah.

[00:35:42] Ashley Schweigert: No. No.

[00:35:43] Matt Bailey: Yeah, you can run without it. I’m doing the same thing with a couple of local, we’re just getting their business listings up and running.

[00:35:48] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:35:49] Matt Bailey: And that’s really all that’s needed, and I think we, we enabled SMS messaging through the local business listing. Yeah, website. Yeah, we’ll throw up a three pager, you know, sooner or later, but right now, this is the quickest, easiest thing we can do.

[00:36:03] Ashley Schweigert: Oh yeah.

[00:36:03] Matt Bailey: But at the same time, you know, those of you that do have websites, review what that public facing information is, especially if you’re dealing with people, you know, we know what the mask policy is, but at the same time, what are you doing? How should I expect, if I can come to your location, what’s it going to be like? What, how, no surprises.

[00:36:24] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah. Like, make sure you’re sending emails out. I mean, gosh, I actually had this happen to me. I went to, you know, something I was getting done and I didn’t know what the policy was. So, I thought I could just walk in there with my mask on. Let’s do the thing…

[00:36:40] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:36:40] Ashley Schweigert: …and no, I couldn’t.

[00:36:41] Matt Bailey: Oh.

[00:36:42] Ashley Schweigert: They all looked at me like I was an alien.

[00:36:44] Matt Bailey: Right. Yeah.

[00:36:45] Ashley Schweigert: And it made me feel really uncomfortable…

[00:36:47] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:36:47] Ashley Schweigert: …as a consumer and, um, I really didn’t want to go back. Yeah, ’cause I mean, ’cause it sounds like you did something bad. Like, you’re getting your hand slapped.

[00:36:56] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:36:56] Ashley Schweigert: And you’re thinking, “Oh, I just thought I was doing the right thing here.”

[00:36:58] Matt Bailey: Right. Right. And so, yeah, there needs to be a lot more communication about, “Here’s the policy. Here’s what we’re asking people to do.” You know, as we go out and about to different places, I’m surprised at, at just almost a lack of consistency. Honestly, I, I am still amazed at some of the people and the attitudes of, of things going on, but, you know, even sports events. We’re getting emails from the schools about, “Here’s the policy. Here’s what’s going on. Parents have to stay here. Only two parents are allowed.”

[00:37:29] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:37:30] Matt Bailey: Those types of things. So, I, I appreciate that type of communication that lets us know, “Okay, here’s the plan. Here’s what we’ve got to do.” That is becoming so much more critical. And that’s the thing, we don’t know when this is going to end, so don’t put it off.

[00:37:43] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:37:44] Matt Bailey: It has to happen right now. You’ve got to change your communications and be much more open and clear about what people should be doing.

[00:37:51] Ashley Schweigert: Oh yeah. Absolutely.

[00:37:53] Matt Bailey: As much as schools are having to react to it, they’re doing pretty good for what they’re, from what I’ve seen, they’re doing pretty good with what they have to deal with.

[00:38:00] Ashley Schweigert: I don’t have any kids, but I have friends that have kids and, you know, hearing about the, the hectic schedules and what’s been going on and I, I do feel for the schools.

[00:38:10] Matt Bailey: Mhm. Absolutely.

[00:38:11] Ashley Schweigert: Quite a bit.

[00:38:12] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. I think people are glad to have the kids back in school, but man, it’s, it’s, it’s a headache. Yeah, it’s, so, you know, from a, a local business standpoint, there’s so much that’s going on and, it, it’s interesting, ’cause I was reading this McKinsey study, they were talking about optimistic outlooks, that who’s optimistic about the economy recovering. And actually U.S. is one of the least optimistic about the economy recovering. China and India is the most optimistic about recovery than the U.S.

[00:38:43] Ashley Schweigert: Wow. Wow, that surprises me.

[00:38:45] Matt Bailey: That’s why I think so much of it has to do with our media. I, I think a lot of it has to do with social media. I think it has to do with the amount we’re on social media and what we’ve been told is, and, and honestly, you talk to some people it’s like they’re just beat down. You know, what else? You, you know, we’ve got COVID, we can’t leave the house. We’ve got wildfires, the, you know, country’s burning up. We got hurricanes drowning the rest of the country.

[00:39:06] Ashley Schweigert: I know.

[00:39:07] Matt Bailey: And, you know, there’s just so much bad news going on. And I think that really does affect the, you know, we’re talking about increased anxiety, increased depression. Uh, you know, all these, these mental health issues are starting to come up now with all of this that’s going on. I, it’s interesting to see the U.S. being pessimistic about economic recovery.

[00:39:29] Ashley Schweigert: Just wondering though, too, if it has to do with the fact, I mean, we do have an election year, so the media is going to be more active.

[00:39:36] Matt Bailey: Oh. Oh. Well…

[00:39:37] Ashley Schweigert: Then I think of what would have been.

[00:39:39] Matt Bailey: Well, and there’s also another interesting aspect to this, that I was reading that our political campaigns on both sides, they do it by making things look worse than they are. You know, the current administration says, “Look, we can make things better, but look at these problems we still have, and you need me to solve them.”

[00:40:00] The other side is, “Look at how bad this guy is. Look at how bad everything is going around. You need me to solve,” so they make their, I, I, I keep saying that. It’s in my, the phrase, “making hay,” they’re both making hay by talking about how bad things are.

[00:40:15] Ashley Schweigert: Oh, I know, and it’s, I can’t handle it anymore.

[00:40:18] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:40:18] Ashley Schweigert: You know, I’m constantly on social media because of work, right? And doing ads, this, that, and the other thing. But I will say, I stay away from the feed.

[00:40:26] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:40:26] Ashley Schweigert: I can’t do it anymore. I’m, I’m done.

[00:40:29] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:40:29] Ashley Schweigert: I can’t handle the negativity.

[00:40:30] Matt Bailey: And the, and that’s, because it’s an election year, that’s all we’re going to hear is how bad things are in order to get elected.

[00:40:37] Ashley Schweigert: Oh yeah.

[00:40:37] Matt Bailey: And that just rides on top of how bad things, it’s very interesting. So, I was, I, I got something the other day and they were saying, “Do you realize that the, the poverty rate worldwide has dropped over the past 30 years? In fact, it’s dropped by half. That less people worldwide are living under the poverty line than they were 30 years ago.” Like, wow. That’s interesting.

[00:40:59] Ashley Schweigert: And it’s still like that, like, even with this year.

[00:41:01] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Oh yeah. But it’s worldwide, that there are efforts being done. So, yeah, bad news travels fast. Bad news is, is what, you know, people are, people are living on and, and getting.

[00:41:15] Ashley Schweigert: Well, that’s why it sells, right?

[00:41:16] Matt Bailey: Yeah. It’s exactly what sells.

[00:41:17] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:41:17] Matt Bailey: Exactly. It, it’s strange. Another thing I think locally, we, you know, we talked about the policies that are in place and, and I addressed this a little bit earlier, but people want to make sure that where they shop is safe, but then also there’s much more emphasis on the employees, the hourly workers that are there, what are you doing to take care of them? Are they expected to buy their own masks when they’re working for you? What’s your, what’s your policy? And I think people were becoming a bit more aware of that.

And so, locally, what are we doing to take care of our employees? How are we handling this? You, you’re asking your employees to do more and handle more. One thing that my wife and I are doing is when we go out to eat, we’re now tipping at 30%.

[00:42:02] Ashley Schweigert: Oh yeah. I was actually just…

[00:42:04] Matt Bailey: At least.

[00:42:04] Ashley Schweigert: …thinking that because I, I was seeing something on Facebook, I know I said I stay away from it, but this is something I did see. And it was a friend in the service industry and she’s a bartender and she was complaining about how she’s not getting tipped.

[00:42:18] Matt Bailey: Wow.

[00:42:19] Ashley Schweigert: Out of all times, these people depend on that. That is a part of their, like salary or however you want to…

[00:42:24] Matt Bailey: And they have to wear a mask all day long.

[00:42:27] Ashley Schweigert: Oh yeah.

[00:42:28] Matt Bailey: So, they’re working harder. And, and we…

[00:42:31] Ashley Schweigert: They’re breaking out…

[00:42:32] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:42:32] Ashley Schweigert: …like, those masks aren’t necessarily good for you.

[00:42:35] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:42:35] Ashley Schweigert: Like, there’s been, you know, it’s keeping them safe, but there’s been studies that have talked about mold building up in there. It’s not good to be wearing them all day.

[00:42:42] Matt Bailey: Well, and that’s part of it. You need to wash and, and, and a part of it is the wrong mask.

[00:42:46] Ashley Schweigert: Oh, I don’t…

[00:42:46] Matt Bailey: I mean, wrong materials. Everyone’s making masks. You don’t know what they’re making the masks out of. So, I think a lot of it has to do with, we, we’re making masks out of cardboard, you know, it’s, it’s…

[00:42:55] Ashley Schweigert: Oh yeah.

[00:42:55] Matt Bailey: …you know, and it’s not necessarily that, but we feel like, you know, we’re not eating out as much, so when we do, I, I’m going to make sure that, you know, we’re taking care of other people at the same time. And so, yeah, we, we’re definitely increasing the tip amount. You know, and, and also just trying to be nice.

[00:43:13] Ashley Schweigert: I do try to social distance. I do.

[00:43:15] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:43:15] Ashley Schweigert: I do, but I’ve, I’ve gone out and I was one of those at a bar and…

[00:43:20] Matt Bailey: Oh…

[00:43:20] Ashley Schweigert: …I know, I know. That’s why I was like, I hesitated even saying this. Don’t judge me.

[00:43:25] Matt Bailey: I should’ve put a barrier between us, Ashley.

[00:43:27] Ashley Schweigert: I know. I know.

[00:43:27] Matt Bailey: I, something told me, oh no.

[00:43:30] Ashley Schweigert: You know, hey, it’s just me and my three cats, man. I mean, I need to get out, or, or let’s talk about like, keeping our, uh, our sanity. But no, I was, um, I was at a local bar, and I was sitting, uh, talking to the bartender, and she was telling me that she can’t even get $10 an hour. That’s sad.

[00:43:50] Matt Bailey: Well, and, and that’s the thing. We could go into a whole, this, another show, the whole concept of paying servers and restaurant workers a lower than minimum wage, and then forcing them to live on tips rather than let’s just set the price. There’s no tipping, and everyone gets paid a livable wage. And, and I remember seeing studies of restaurants that have done that when the employees know that, “If I work this many hours, I’m going to get this amount of money,” like anybody else, “You put in this much time, this is my salary.”

And so, you have a, a more stable, uh, happier employee because they know, now, “I can depend on this money. I can get childcare. I can do these things. I can make these purchases,” because now they know they’re making good money. And then also, you don’t have to put up, I’m sorry, with the idiot customers who get offended at the slightest little thing and don’t leave a tip…

[00:44:45] Ashley Schweigert: Oh, I just can’t believe that.

[00:44:46] Matt Bailey: …for the people that, you know, that come with, you know, six people at the table and they leave it like a bomb went off and they don’t leave a tip because of something.

[00:44:55] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah, have, have you ever been in the service industry?

[00:44:57] Matt Bailey: Yes, I have.

[00:44:58] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:44:58] Matt Bailey: That’s why I’m so angry about it.

[00:45:00] Ashley Schweigert: So, it’s like, you get it.

[00:45:00] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:45:00] Ashley Schweigert: Right. Because I mean, I, I was, uh, you’re going to laugh at this, I, back whenever I was in college or maybe it was like my senior year of high school, I can’t quite remember, but, you know, around those times, right?

[00:45:09] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:45:10] Ashley Schweigert: I used to work for a buffet.

[00:45:11] Matt Bailey: Oh. Oh.

[00:45:13] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:45:14] Matt Bailey: See, I, yeah, I drew the line there. I would not. No.

[00:45:16] Ashley Schweigert: Oh, I worked at a buffet, but believe it or not I was like, I forget what they called like a dining room assistant, but I actually, yeah, but I actually depended on tips, believe it or not. And people didn’t realize that you tipped people that were at a buffet because, you know, it’s a buffet, I’m not bringing you your food. But that’s why I would always, like, I would always go around and, you know, try to fill up their coffee or like bring over some extra rolls. You know, I was so young and, but, I remember being, yeah, I would get tips and I actually made pretty good money at that time…

[00:45:47] Matt Bailey: Oh yeah.

[00:45:48] Ashley Schweigert: …for, believe it or not because they started seeing that, “Okay, clearly this girl gets tips,” right?

[00:45:52] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:45:53] Ashley Schweigert: But when some, a big family would come in and leave, uh, like all this food is a mess and does not tip and here you were, like, doing everything you can to, to smooth and what, what’s, uh, like the…

[00:46:07] Matt Bailey: Schmooze.

[00:46:07] Ashley Schweigert: …the woo…

[00:46:08] Matt Bailey: Schmooze.

[00:46:08] Ashley Schweigert: …yeah, right. Thank you. Thank you.

[00:46:09] Matt Bailey: Yeah, you’re schmoozing. Yeah.

[00:46:10] Ashley Schweigert: Right. You know, you’re trying to butter them up because you want that tip and it’s exhausting. It is exhausting.

[00:46:17] Matt Bailey: Oh…

[00:46:17] Ashley Schweigert: And you’re doing that for like eight-hour shifts or whatever it is, and sometimes eleven, right? ‘Cause, you know, they work hard hours, and you don’t get that tip, you’re ticked.

[00:46:27] Matt Bailey: That’s tough.

[00:46:27] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:46:28] Matt Bailey: That’s tough. Yeah. And, and that’s why I think there’s a, a joke of so many actors are servers, because it, it is work like acting. Not that you hate people, but you’ve got to be on.

[00:46:40] Ashley Schweigert: I mean, it’s that your tip, yeah.

[00:46:41] Matt Bailey: Your tip reflects the personality and, you, you know, so, yeah, absolutely. And, and when I get a server who’s kind of a little grumpy, it, it’s one of those where they probably had a bad experience about 10 minutes ago, and I can’t fault them for that, but we’ll go out of our way to engage them, to be nice.

The worst thing I think people can do is just get judgmental about it and get angry. And, and I think that is a psychological trait that we think when someone else is short or upset, we think it’s our fault or they’re taking something out on us. And it’s that personal bias that, literally, we think everything’s about us.

[00:47:20] Ashley Schweigert: I was just going to say that, that’s, that’s, you know, that victim mentality, words…

[00:47:25] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:47:26] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:47:26] Matt Bailey: “Oh, they’re being mean to me. Fine, I won’t leave a tip.”

[00:47:28] Ashley Schweigert: I know, right?

[00:47:29] Matt Bailey: We all, we think it’s all about us, not realizing they probably just went through something, you know, like you said, big family came in, left a mess, no tip, uh…

[00:47:37] Ashley Schweigert: Or maybe they’re barely making money that day and they’re like…

[00:47:40] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[00:47:40] Ashley Schweigert: “Screw this.”

[00:47:41] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:47:41] Ashley Schweigert: “I don’t even want to be here.”

[00:47:42] Matt Bailey: So, oh no. I think anyone who has worked in the service industry, that you’ve, you’ve got a lot of respect for what they deal with and what they’re doing. And so, yeah, it, anytime we go out now, we are overtipping. We’re even tipping takeout…

[00:47:56] Ashley Schweigert: Oh yeah.

[00:47:56] Matt Bailey: …because, you, you know, they’re all hurting. The, the restaurants are hurting some of the most. And the part of it is, I, I look at it as I’m investing in this restaurant because when all this is over, I still want them to be there. I don’t want them to go away.

[00:48:09] Ashley Schweigert: Oh, that’s not, I’m so upset. Some of my favorite restaurants are not around anymore. And, I mean, I’m, it doesn’t take a lot to please me, and these aren’t like super sit-down places, but they’re, they’re more like, you know, kind of like fast food places, like a Chipotle or something, but, um, I’m just so upset about it because, um, you know, we’re in Ohio, right? There’s not, especially in our area, there’s not like a ton…

[00:48:34] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:48:34] Ashley Schweigert: …that’s available and just, I’m really upset about it.

[00:48:37] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Getting something good is sometimes hard to find, um…

[00:48:40] Ashley Schweigert: It is. It is.

[00:48:40] Matt Bailey: …but you find, what, you find someone good, yeah, you’re sticking with them.

[00:48:43] Ashley Schweigert: I know, and I love like unique cuisine, right?

[00:48:45] Matt Bailey: Yes. Oh, yes.

[00:48:45] Ashley Schweigert: It’s just, uh, just so upsetting.

[00:48:48] Matt Bailey: Yeah. So, I, I think that’s, I mean, one of the best things we can do is just focus on our local communities and invest in our local communities. And, and I’m sure there’s some things out there, but there are some restaurants that have switched to a salary, uh, rather than a tip-based. And so, I would say if you know any restaurant owners, I mean, have that conversation.

There was a number of studies done of restaurants who converted to that, and the employees made more money, the restaurant made more money, and also, customers of the restaurant were very pleased to know that they didn’t have to leave a tip…

[00:49:24] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:49:24] Matt Bailey: …because it was on the menu, there were signs, “Please don’t leave a tip. Our employees are, are paid by hour.” And so, it made the customers much more relaxed, and they ended up ordering more food because they knew they didn’t have to leave a tip. So, financially the restaurants would do better with that model than by doing the tip model.

[00:49:44] Ashley Schweigert: I mean, it’s good to hear because, you know, I, I’m that type of person that whenever I go out to eat, I’m taking my calculator out to make sure that I give a certain percentage.

[00:49:53] Matt Bailey: Yes. Yes.

[00:49:54] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah, I am not a math person, so I have to have my calculator out.

[00:49:57] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[00:50:00] Ashley Schweigert: So, knowing that there’s people that do do that deduction in their head and they’re like, “Okay, well now I have this. I can go ahead and buy this.”

[00:50:06] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:50:06] Ashley Schweigert: Which benefits everybody in the end.

[00:50:07] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Absolutely.

[00:50:08] Ashley Schweigert: I’m glad to hear that.

[00:50:09] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. So, listener, I hope we haven’t depressed you, but you know what? We’ve given you an action plan. Buy local, focus on your local community. Uh…

[00:50:18] Ashley Schweigert: Look at data.

[00:50:19] Matt Bailey: …if you want those businesses to be around in the next six months or even next year, uh, then it’s all about investing locally and investing in those people that are around us that are in businesses that might be struggling right now.

So, be on the lookout, but then also from a marketing standpoint, change your message, address the difficulties that people have. Realize, and, and especially, you know, if in a larger businesses, you know, if you can affect that brand message, be much more empathetic about people’s situations. That right now, the vast majority of Americans, of people around the world, are bargain hunting.

[00:50:54] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah. You have to look at it as you have a different audience now. You have to look at it that way. I mean, yeah, you may be targeting as, you know, the same age group or whatever, but at the end of the day, this is a different audience. You’ve got to see what resonates and I know I used AdWords as an example, but there’s other things that you can do to see what resonates at a fast pace.

[00:51:15] Matt Bailey: Yep. Yep.

[00:51:16] Ashley Schweigert: Um, just seeing like what type of, um, messaging.

[00:51:18] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:51:18] Ashley Schweigert: I, I like to use AdWords for that, because you can do a couple ads and, you know, put some unique messaging and see what’s being clicked on at a much faster pace.

[00:51:27] Matt Bailey: Yep. Yeah. I, I, I didn’t bring this up earlier, but I talked to a luxury brand, and they were asking like, “How do we change? How do we do this?” And, you know, my response was, “Oh boy.”

[00:51:37] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:51:37] Matt Bailey: You know, ’cause they’ve seen stuff just drop off and I’m like, “I don’t have any good news for you.” Uh, you know, and so, we’re, we’re doing some research and looking at the data to try and find but luxury’s the first thing that gets put off, uh, when there’s economic certainty. And that’s the thing. We need, we can’t ignore it. As marketers, we cannot ignore this new mentality and these new behaviors. We need to address it and go with it and show people that, what value they are getting if they choose to work with us.

[00:52:08] Ashley Schweigert: Absolutely.

[00:52:09] Matt Bailey: Well listener, thank you for spending some time with us. We really appreciate it and, uh, hope you do your part, as well, in addressing this, but also investing in your own community. It’s the best thing you could do right now in order to help other businesses get through this pandemic. And, uh, hopefully we come out on the other side sometime soon. Look forward to talking with you again on the Endless Coffee Cup.

Featured Guest:

Ashley Schweigert

Marketing Communications Consultant

LinkedIn profile: Ashley G. Schweigert | LinkedIn

Website: Marcom Content by Ashley