COVID-19 is forcing us to adapt the way we live our lives, raise our families, and conduct our businesses. And as the global economic downturn impacts companies big and small, we need to update our thinking, our approach, and our execution to marketing our offerings and value — likely for the long haul.
Keep reading to learn how.
Find Ways To Do More With Less
With the threat of a pandemic and the short- and long-term impact it could have on our economy, marketing will likely need to seek ways to achieve more with less — even as our target audiences are tightening their spending.
Here are a few business suggestions for marketers to consider based on the current reality.
Be Brutal With Priorities
More than ever, marketers need to re-evaluate their priorities and take a hard look at what is important right now. It is not business as usual. Focus on those initiatives and messages that will generate the most business value against the backdrop of the pandemic while also looking to increase your engagement with your company’s existing customer base to tighten bonds. This might mean that you need to pause or reduce questionable or experimental campaigns that might have potential in order to be brutal with your priorities.
Choose the Most Cost-Effective Tools
You need to look for technology solutions that help you consolidate and move faster with less while freeing up valuable marketing resources that can be applied elsewhere. As you begin planning for 2021, consider what your marketing tech stack looks like and find ways to focus on the core. Expanding your focus beyond the traditional top-of-funnel demand generation is critical, so look for centralized tools that can be used across your marketing functions.
Identify Team Efficiencies
Now that you’ve brutally prioritized your initiatives, developing clear and concise processes is vital — across teams and technologies. Streamlining your processes will give your marketing team the best chance to execute at higher-than-normal levels, which is essential to counter the negative macroeconomic conditions. Define your short- and long-term goals clearly with stakeholders, and equip your team with the right collaboration tools, documented processes, data collection, and automation capabilities to get the job done better with less.
Roll Out the (Virtual) Red Carpet for Existing Customers
In any recession or crisis environment, a focus on customer retention becomes absolutely paramount in protecting your business and revenue. By doubling down on your customer marketing efforts to deliver great experiences and quality engagement with your install base, you can begin to build “brand moats” to maintain revenue streams and, most importantly, inspire your happy customers to attract new consumers.
Customer expectations have changed greatly in the last 5 years. When your customers feel more connected to your brand, they’re 57% more likely to increase their spending and 76% more likely to buy from you instead of one of your competitors. Therefore, you need to truly invest in creating authentic connections by understanding what makes your customers tick — their interests, their favorite content types and topics, their current pain points, and their ambitions. Take that data and build a strong engagement plan that blows them away.
Lastly, an authentic and personalized approach is even more critical in today’s environment to cut through the noise, as 75% of consumers report avoiding any advertising altogether. Conversely, brands with at least five online reviews from happy customers enjoy a 270% increase in sales. As more and more buyers turn to social and professional networks (as well as third-party review sites) to make purchasing decisions, we need to focus on delivering engaging growth-centric adoption and retention campaigns that deepen connections between customer and brand.
Follow these proven techniques to make it happen.
Create great engagement strategies to welcome, onboard, and check-in with your newer customers. Hear what they have to say early and feed it into your organization.
Really focus on personalization across your digital communications, especially with repeat or long term customers. Go that extra mile to make sure they know you hear them. Now more than ever, customers do not want to be treated like a number.
Invest in virtual events now. Customers want community, and there will likely not be any live events until 2021. By being the organization that creates these social connections with your customers, you continue to build the value of your brand.
Listen harder than ever. Use sites like Yelp and G2 to gather feedback, analyze the information, identify patterns, and then apply what you’ve learned to improve consumer confidence and satisfaction.
Get Serious About Digital — and Do It Now
Even before the pandemic, 87% of all consumers began their product searches online. And now that many storefronts are closed or limited and in-person events, conferences, and user groups are on hold, being exceptional at digital marketing is more important than ever and will allow you to stand out. To do this well, you need to ensure that you are collecting data on your customer’s digital behavior across your digital properties, online services, and products. Leverage this critical data in your customer engagement strategies to deliver more consistent value. Doing this well will endear you to your customer base and help you distance yourself from the competition.
Do so by using simple and sophisticated tools that are focused on driving engagement and delivering great experiences throughout the customer lifecycle. As budgets and workforces decrease, you need tech that is agile and easy for small teams to use easily and with good results. Instead of automatically defaulting to enterprise solutions with excessive feature sets, really think about how you can achieve your goals efficiently and at a price point that allows you to scale within your budget.
Marketing Has Changed, but the Goal Remains the Same
The coronavirus is changing how we market to individual consumers and massive corporations, but the primary goal will always stay the same: generate the kind of brand excitement, product stickiness, and customer affinity that results in sustainable and scalable business growth.
If you want some help doing that with a really great platform built by some really smart people, please let us know. We’ll be here — now and in the future.