Local businesses find innovative ways of marketing during pandemic

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — “Our challenges have been the same as many other businesses.”

Tabco, a local design and promotional business, has been considered essential throughout the pandemic due to its service to other essential businesses.

“These people need our services,” Tabco Vice President Kris Bilyeu said, “And so we have been open, we have not closed, but it is a challenge and we have had to do it with less people, with less hours working.”

According to data from a recent response assessment filled out by local companies, 66 percent of responding employers have reduced employee hours.

“There’s several examples of companies out there that yes, they’ve had to cease their operations in the way that they normally do them, but they’ve been open to some new ideas and some new opportunities,” Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce President Kristin Craig said, “Challenging, yes, but they’ve been open to it.”

The response report stems from a survey sent out by the West Central Indiana Business Hub’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Team to better prepare for future needs of local companies.

Kris Bilyeu discusses marketing needs, options during pandemic:

At Tabco, Bilyeu said they’ve adapted by sourcing and distributing needed items like masks or hand sanitizer.

“We’ve gone through over 100,000 masks,” Bilyeu said, “We’ve filled the hospitals and schools and other businesses that need masks for their day-to-day work.”

Bilyeu said local businesses are finding innovative ways to continue marketing their brand or company while complying with COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines.

“Someone needs a logo-ed mask, this is what we’re trying to do, actually put a logo on a mask and help people do their marketing,” Bilyeu said, displaying a black logo-ed mask.

Bilyeu also showed examples of floor graphics for social distancing with different brand logos on them.

The response report showed that nearly 28 percent of local businesses have an estimated revenue loss of more than $200,000 due to COVID-19. Bilyeu said some companies are trying to gain that money back through marketing methods from before the digital age.

“You think about all the people that have been sitting at home for a long time, one of the highlights of their day is walking down to the mailbox and getting mail,” Bilyeu said, “So if that’s a highlight, we do see a resurgence in direct mail.”

Craig said the willingness in innovate during this time will be crucial for businesses moving forward.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow, I get it,” Craig said, “You’ve operated a business the way you’ve operated it for 15, 20, 30 years, it’s hard to shift on a dime. But I think that’s what’s going to be required of businesses to help get us through the next few months and whatever may come.”

Kristin Craig explains purpose of WCIBH response report:

The WCIBH report represented six local counties, but a majority of the responses came from Vigo County businesses.

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