Marketers: Where to Focus During the Crisis
By Yeager Marketing
While the impact and potential fallout from the pandemic is still uncertain at this point, your marketing activities may be in a holding pattern. In times like this, it’s important to remember that as marketers our job is to inspire, educate and connect with our customers and prospects. What can you do when planned activities are paused and budgets are locked down? How do you make the most of this time and stay productive? Think both short-term and long-term, and use this time wisely. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Short-term it’s important to stay in front of your customers, but it’s even more important to say the right things. This is not a time for promotional marketing as usual. In fact, in a March 2020 study by Global Web Index only 37% of consumers want brands to continue to advertise as normal. Give your customers confidence by communicating how your company is managing the crisis. If your products are having a positive impact in the world, share those stories and the positive outcomes. Bring value while staying in front of your customers with helpful information and services. Personalize and humanize communications by having them come from the people who interact with your customers, or identify a few people to lead your communications at this time. This is also an ideal time for 1:1 outreach and communications.
Long-term work on your business and product value proposition messaging. Use a slower pace to reflect and be thoughtful about what’s working and what can be improved. Survey employees, partners, and customers for insight – they are likely to respond in greater numbers given the increased downtime. Spend time thinking about how you will message to your audiences as we move through the coming months and when business resumes to normal.
Short-term, focus on serving your customers now. Reframe your marketing efforts towards retaining relationships and adding value to meet their immediate needs. If their business is being impacted, how can you best help them? If you are in a position to offer customers flexible payments or special incentives, work with your leadership to put a plan in place and communicate it well. If you’re like many marketers and are canceling live events, move this content online instead of postponing to keep delivering value. Provide resources for training and education to help your customers keep their skills sharp. Be supportive and offer win-win solutions.
Long-term, put your focus on the future. What can you do now to set your business up for success when things begin to return to normal? What can you learn that will benefit you and your team? What marketing programs can you build that will be ready to launch in the coming months? In normal circumstances, having time to think and plan is challenging amidst travel schedules and deadlines – now that you have it, use it. Your company will be looking for a way to rebound revenue quickly, so spend time putting strategies in place to support that effort now and hit the ground running when budgets free up.
Short-term, get clear on big projects. On any given day you most likely come up with ideas that you don’t have time to give attention to or there aren’t enough resources to tackle them. If you’re lucky, you have a running document or folder where you file these away. Now is a great time to use this unexpected quiet to reflect and identify big initiatives that could be a game-changer for you and your company. Things like rolling out a new product or program fit here, as much as putting organization or processes in place that will have a lasting impact.
Long-term, if you have projects that will take several months, with multiple stakeholders and investment to complete, use this time to start mapping them out now. You can build out necessary documents and frameworks depending on the size and scope of your project and enlist coworkers in small groups or 1:1 settings as you work through the planning. By getting this foundational work done in advance, you’ll be able to accelerate progress when budgets are released.
Short-term use this time to do all the clean up you normally wish you had time to do. Get rid of files and documents that are no longer needed or relevant. Organize things that are necessary and figure out how to make them more useful. This goes for your personal files as well as your business documents and servers. Go through digital assets and give them a read or refresh as needed. Do some user experience testing on your website to identify issues and make improvements—you can enlist your team or use an outside resource if budget allows.
Long-term get organized and create optimal file structures and organizational practices that will provide a solid foundation for your work going forward. Archive past files and projects in a way that makes them easy to locate if needed. When reviewing your digital assets, give thought to new content opportunities and build a plan for assets you want to create. Consider high-value additions to your website such as interactive tools that help attract prospects and extend their time spent on your site.
No doubt there are many things you can focus on right now that will benefit you professionally, and also add value to your company. Use this list and start getting your game plan in place. The value of continuing to spend on marketing when competitors are cutting back is well documented. Companies can not only increase share of voice for their brands, but can also improve market share and return on investment at lower cost than during good economic times.
While your budgets may be reduced or on hold, don’t let that stop you from focusing on how you can continue to stay in front of customers and deliver value right now, and have plans at the ready to launch when spending resumes.