Podcast with green screen photographer Mike Gatty

Human to Human Contact During Covid-19

Last week, I was interviewed for a Podcast by Ahron Glazer, Chief Marketing Officer at Executive Media Solutions.  It was a fun conversation!  It’s a little strange watching yourself be interviewed for an hour, but I got a lot out of our talk.  Take a listen and let me know your thoughts.

One part of the conversation centered around my current favorite topic: marketing your business during the age of Covid-19.  Ahron reminded me of the different types of marketing: business to business, business to consumer, and most importantly, human to human.

Right now, he argued, talking as one human to another is the most important thing you can do to market your business.  Reach out to current clients.  Check up on them.  Let them know what you’re doing.  Ask how COVID-19 has affected their lives and business.  Listen.  It’s probably the best thing you can do.

Every one of us currently exists in our own COVID-19 bubble.  We are alone, isolated.  Going outside requires a mask.  We’re encouraged by the government to stay six feet apart.  Watching television shows and movies showing pre-pandemic, normal life seem dated.  And refreshing.  And a little nostalgic.

Yesterday when I was talking to my mom, she asked how I was doing.  She worried, she said, because every thing I love is suddenly put on hold.  I can’t travel.  I can’t go out to eat.  I can’t go to the gym.  I can’t go get Botox (as you can see from the Podcast).  “You used to go out to lunch every day,” she said, “how are you coping?”  “Oh, I’m great!” I lied.  Dead silence.  “No you’re not.”

And while it might seem odd, those are the conversations you should have with your best clients.  Reach out and have intimate, genuine contact.

Thankfully, through technology, we can break through our self-isolation bubbles and find intimate moments.  I felt normal after talking to Ahron via video chat on his podcast.  Things didn’t seem so broken.  It let me remember: we are in this together.

Business will resume.  Every day I have to remind Matthew EVERYONE is going through this.  Every business.  All of our competitors.  It’s easy to panic and feel like what we’re experiencing is unique.  Not only isn’t it unique, every single photographer in the world is wondering the same thing: will my business survive?  When will life return?  Will business return?

It doesn’t help when politicians suggest “find something new” when they discuss people not working due to the pandemic.  Finding something new might work for someone in certain types of jobs, but for entrepreneurs who have invented their own careers, it’s probably not an option.  Find something new.  What, like teach tennis?  Pick up yoga? Wait, no, that’s not pandemic friendly.  Find something new.  That’s just what someone who has spent two decades growing their own business wants to hear.  I’m thinking a career in the porn industry might be fun, but then I realized even that isn’t COVID-19 proof.  Sigh.

So when you’re in that glass box, wondering what the future holds, and considering it might be time to find something new, take a pause.

Evaluate where you are.  Here’s my mantra:

We haven’t had anyone in our immediate family infected by the virus.  We haven’t known, personally, anyone who’s died.  Nobody we’ve known has been hospitalized, or put into intensive care.

Financially, we are sound.  

Everyone is in the same boat.  Science is the way through this.  When there is either an effective treatment or a vaccine, we will be able to return to normal.  Meanwhile, do what we need to do to move through the day.  Call a client.  Share a story.  Keep an eye on the government stimulus programs.  

 Everything will be ok, Michael.  Everything will be ok.

That’s my mantra.  Sometimes I have to repeat it six times in one day.

And we will move through this and science will solve the COVID-19 challenge.  But it will be our human to human contacts that keep propelling our business forward after the Pandemic ends.  That contact will make everything ok, and help our business return.  It will keep our future business viable, and our current dead space seem less dead.  Human to human contact is our best path through COVID-19 hell.