By: John Lavey | Hammock President/COO

Practicing kindness and channeling empathy for your fellow man is always a good idea. It’s also a best practice for effective marketing—a truth that is never more evident than when tragedy strikes. In the early morning hours of Tuesday, March 3, four tornadoes roared through Middle Tennessee, causing extensive damage in Nashville, Mount Juliet, Cookeville, and other surrounding communities. Many of our neighbors and friends lost homes or businesses. Worst of all, there were 24 lives lost in an instant (and that number may rise as search efforts continue).

Serving others should be the first order of business. Sometimes that looks like literally getting out and helping. But there are other ways to help, too. As we scramble to set up our remote operations and resume our normal work, responding to texts and emails of concern from clients and other partners is a nice gesture. I know that the ones I received were very welcome.

We can also transform our marketing to help our communities in need. One local media company, StyleBlueprint, engaged in what I’d call being a good human and practiced smart marketing.

After the tornadoes, StyleBlueprint posted pictures of the storm’s aftermath to bring awareness to the destruction in the community. They also shared links, highlighting the multiple ways people could help—from donating money, to supplying water, blankets, tarps and food, to directing readers where to go with a chainsaw and help clear away downed trees.

This kind of human approach to marketing is the same approach as retention marketing—helping someone be successful in what they want to accomplish. Retention marketing doesn’t get the same amount of attention as lead-generation marketing, or sales support, but it’s vital. The underlying theory of retention marketing is that it’s less expensive to keep a customer than gain a new one.

I’m also reminded of the words of Fred Rogers, the icon behind the beloved children’s program, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” He said, “To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers―so many caring people in this world.”

When tragedy strikes, ask yourself, “How can I be a helper?”

If you’d like to aid in Nashville’s recovery efforts or learn more, check out these resources:

(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

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