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Last updated Sep 29 2020

⚡Marketing in a crisis (COVID-19 edition)

Transparent marketing in a crisis - Martie Kuzzy

Martie Kuzzy answers a question many companies have asked themselves in 2020: what do you do when an unprecedented crisis hits, and your business' livelihood is compromised?

What Martie covers:

  • How to dive into the data, embrace the conflict, and prioritize your next steps ruthlessly
  • The importance of checking in with customers and finding messages that resonate
  • How to be transparent during a crisis

Click below to read the transcript.


Hi everyone, my name is Marty Kuzzy and I'm the Director of Growth at Andie Swim. We are a digitally-native, women's swimwear brand and I'm here to talk about transparent marketing in a crisis.

As we all know, COVID hit earlier this year. As a travel-adjacent brand, we felt it especially. Each day we saw huge drops in revenue and we saw our CPAs skyrocket.

So, as a brand trying to exist, what do you do when this happens?

We decided to begin by diving into the data. To start, we cut all superfluous budget and from there, we then looked at the different marketing mix that we historically had. And we scoped which channels were driving the most efficient revenue, as well as had high conversion rates.

And we saw that the two channels that did that the most actually only accounted for less than 10% of our revenue. Knowing that, we really launched into those two specific channels, ruthlessly prioritizing them to make sure that we were able to hit our readjusted goals.

At the same time, we were also looking at our customer response. So every single morning, we're a team of 13 women and every single morning we would log in, have a team meeting and we would dissect the previous day's performance and looking at what was efficient and also looking at all the different channels that were across, whether it's social, email, SMS, all the different things in tandem and how our customer was responding to the message that we were presenting.

And over time, day over day, we continued to dissect it and we found that our customer was resonating most with content that's sensitive, hopeful and ultimately real. So, we began to adapt our message. And as I said, it happens everyday, you tweak it a little bit, a little bit.

And ultimately, looking back pre-COVID, we had a bunch of messaging that was travel-focused. Get excited about your next trip, buy this suit before it sells out, creating a sense of urgency. And during the time of crisis, this isn't appropriate and people don't respond well to it, we learned. And so we quickly adjusted listening to our customer base and started to create different resources and we presented who we are as a team.

We became more transparent, we talked about each one of our employees, what we're doing and we talked about our struggles as a team and also worked to build community and to let our community know that we're there, if and when they need. They can talk about swim or they can talk about anything that feels relevant or needed to them, as we're all struggling and in it together.

The takeaways, we have continued to drive this transparent messaging, which is most exemplified in our most recent product launch, which happened last month, all planned during a crisis. We had all these product coming out and no models to shoot them on. And instead of hiring models to do it in their homes, we decided to do it as a team. And so each of our team members were sent different suits. And we reached out to different friends to make sure that all the suits were covered. And there were on real women, real bodies, in real situations.

And on our site, we're incredibly transparent that like, this is our team and this is what the suit looks like, not on a model but in the same setting that you are in currently because we're all in this together. So, that really resonated with our customer and we ultimately saw the strongest month of our entire company to date last month, during the crisis still.

So, takeaways, when marketing in a crisis, first, dive into your data, embrace your conflict, it's there, embrace it and find your voice by listening to your customers and taking note of all the pieces in tandem, thank you.