The world almost came to a standstill as most economic activities are halted. As countries keep people at home, cities go into lockdown mode and travel gets banned, everyone is affected in one way or another. Businesses and consumers alike have to come to terms with a new way of life during this pandemic.
Every industry is adapting to a new business environment during this pandemic. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus is forcing companies and organizations around the world to rapidly adapt and change their businesses models.
Read on to learn how companies are doing so and how your company can adopt these practices in order to remain resilient even in the face of a recession.
7 Marketing Essentials for Your Business In Times of Uncertainty
1. Prioritise business challenges
Many companies slash the budget, cancel projects, retrench employees in order to save costs and continue operations during the outbreak.
During this period, your team like most other companies is likely to be inundated with many unprecedented challenges.
But you can’t tackle them all at once. To prevent your team from feeling overwhelmed, prioritization is key. Evaluate what are the aspects of your business within your control and manage them first.
Focus on projects that will drive the best short term impact. Strategize, take action and then move on to manage tasks that are less within your control.
Examples of challenges that companies can address first:
While you prioritize important tasks that are manageable now, you should also remember to be far-sighted. Plan and prepare ahead. Identify new business opportunities and work on them.
Also, even if clients withdraw their projects now, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be possible collaborations for you in the future. Stay connected with both your existing and potential clients. Offer your help if needed. Building strong customer relationships will pave the way for more business opportunities for you in the future.
2. Reallocate rather than arbitrarily cancelling your budgets
During an economic downturn due to a crisis like a pandemic, advertisers and marketers stop budget spend immediately as one of their first cost-cutting measures.
However, it’s actually critical for brands to continue advertising amid times of changes and uncertainty.
The key is to focus on where you get the best results. Leverage channels that enable flexibility and be more specific with your marketing efforts, targeting audiences that show the highest purchase intent.
The importance of maintaining a strong brand presence
John Williams, founder and president of Logoyes.com and contributing writer to Entrepreneur said, “Your brand is your promise to your customer.”
Building and maintaining a brand that consumers recognize and trust are one of the best ways to reduce risk when the economy takes a turn for the worst. That’s why, in each recession cycle, companies with a strong brand presence have come out on top.
No matter your business size and industry, standing by your consumers in times when they need help is critical. Maintaining a strong brand presence is needed to convey your company’s credibility, value, and experience, especially in times of uncertainty. When it comes to marketing and advertising, those that have a strong brand presence will hold an enormous competitive advantage.
Companies can consider reallocating budget from paid advertisements to content marketing. Build on sharing your brand story and convince customers to trust in you. Show your customers that your brand is ready to help even in difficult times.
For example, our agency recognises the need to pivot our marketing strategies for business continuity. Rather than cancelling our annual networking event (#SPEAKEASYASIA), we have switched it to a series of online webinars.
Doing so allows us to continue informing our customers about the latest market trends, provide marketing tips and keep our customers updated with the latest insights that could help them make better decisions for their business. By providing marketing tips into various aspects of digital marketing, we aim to help our consumers prepare for the digital era.
3. Research your customers’ behaviour
While it’s clear that consumers and businesses are going online amid this outbreak period, consumer behaviour remains unpredictable.
The impact of customer behaviour on marketing strategies has become more pronounced during this pandemic. Panic buying, remote working and consumers re-prioritising purchases are all reasons contributing to the inconsistent demand for different services. Some research experts even predict that these behaviour changes might remain even post-pandemic.
With a new economic climate, many businesses are left unsure of how they can adapt to these rapidly evolving consumption patterns. The best way to do so is to research and understand your customer base with tools such as Google Analytics or social media audience insights.
As you gain a deeper understanding of your customers’ search and consumption patterns, identify their new needs and wants. Develop customer personas to help you craft the right message to appeal to the right audience and improve conversions.
Elevate your audience targeting strategy with audience or customer segmentation to convert groups of consumers with the highest purchase intent. A common strategy that businesses do is creating dynamic ads and dynamic retargeting ads. This allows companies to reap the greatest return on ad spend by advertising to groups of people with the highest conversion probability.
4. Analyse and track your marketing efforts closely
During periods of uncertainty, knowing exactly what kind of return each investment is providing and why it works will be your key to not just survival, but the growth of your business. That’s because companies cannot afford to waste any budget. More importantly, companies have to be smart with their budget allocation, only spending on areas which will most likely generate results.
This is when digital marketing comes in. In fact, 52% of marketers around the world have made digital transformation as their key focus for driving business growth.
Digital marketing has long been accepted as thebest low-cost, high-return marketing strategy, largely due to measurability and targeting capabilities.
An examples of using data to measure your marketing efforts:
- A high bounce rate but long dwell time on your site could highlight that users are reading your content, but aren’t sure about the next step for their journey. Hence, customers are leaving your site without further action. In this case, it’d be worth to add a CTA button or use active voice to provide a clearer CTA.
Another advantage of digital marketing is also because companies can always track their progress and revise the strategy whenever needed. This helps businesses save time and money on their campaign to increase the effectiveness of a certain approach or strategy.
To learn more about digital marketing and how a digital marketing agency can help you manage budgets or campaigns, click here.
5. Focus on consistent communication
Keep your customers updated
We can see a shift in how brands communicate during times of crisis. Companies are making fundamental changes to their processes and communication, reflecting their evolving relevance in these unprecedented times.
One such change is the shift from physical networking events to online webinars. For example, just in March alone, there was a 330% increase in the number of webinars hosted on the platform ON24. Furthermore, the increase in demand for webinars and remote team calls have also prompted Microsoft, Google and Zoom to offer free video call services.
Email marketing and social media marketing are also communication strategies that are used to connect and engage with customers. During this period, consistent communication is critical to brand awareness. To keep your brand name at the top of people’s mind, you’ll have to make your brand known through regular updates on your social media or corporate blog. Create new customer networks by increasing “shareability” of your content.
Remember to be sensitive in your marketing messages. You must be mindful that this is not a business as usual situation. You’ll have to tweak your marketing message and tone in order to cater to the new business climate. One way to start is to send monthly newsletters and emails (marketing automation) to your customers. Show care and concern for your customers before anything else. Let them see that your brand is sincere about helping.
Support and motivate your employees through this critical period
Businesses should also not forget about their employees. These are the people supporting your business amidst a crisis, and they’re experiencing a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety as they adjust to a new working arrangement.
As the leader of the company, you have to
- Show empathy for your workers, acknowledge new challenges and provide support
- Keep in touch with your team members regularly, give them words of encouragement to help boost morale
- Make use of internal newsletters to provide positive news about the company and drive motivation among remote offices
Do not rush into task assignments and setting deadlines. Firstly, present yourself as an empathetic leader, recognise new challenges your employees are facing and make the necessary work adjustments to help them cope with remote working.
Every phase of transition comes with its own set of challenges and obstacles. During this period, don’t neglect the mental and physical health of your company’s greatest asset.
Tough times don’t last, but tough teams do. Stay connected and support each other as a team, and your company is sure to overcome any challenges now and in the future. To learn more about how you can boost morale for your team, read the full article here.
6. Omnichannel Is The Optimal Strategy
Worldwide stay-at-home orders mean a large influx of customers moving online, igniting the rapid move to digital commerce for B2C and B2B merchants. As people remain isolated and the need for essential goods remains high, they turn to online shopping.
To address this shift in customer behaviour, it’s essential to build an omnichannel marketing strategy that places customers as the central focus. That means understanding what your consumers need and meeting where your customers are-which is online across multiple touchpoints.
Companies should move resources to digital marketing strategies and switch an e-commerce model to keep their business running amid uncertain market situations. Marketers should also use different possible marketing channels like social media, emails and blog articles among others to drive consumers to their online stores.
To cope with the online demand, it’s also important to ensure your website are secure and optimised to provide a seamless shopping experience for your customers. By fostering a pleasant buying experience for consumers, it will keep them coming back.
This will be beneficial for your businesses in the long run.
In fact, companies with well-defined omnichannel customer experience strategies in place achieve a 91% higher year-over-year increase in customer retention rate on average, compared to organizations without omnichannel programs in place. As such, leveraging on omnichannel will cultivate strong brand awareness and brand loyalty in the long run.
7. Revise and revisit your strategies
Just because one marketing strategy has worked doesn’t mean it’s fool proof. The most valuable lesson that this outbreak has taught all of us is the importance of adaptability.
Refine and evolve.
By now, you already know the importance of collecting data and analysing them for your future marketing plans. Once you’ve pulled the data each month, take the time to really look and reflect on the data. Think about what those numbers mean for your company, what it means for your customers and thus your content. Data such as web traffic, source of referrals, open rates for your EDM are good indicators of the success of your current strategy.
Once you give yourself the space to think about content performance, you’ll really start to think about how every piece is being interacted with. You can then feed that into the next pieces of content you create or go back to a piece that hasn’t done as well. Then think about how you can refine or switch it in a new format that could give you better results the next time.
Without warning and choice, brands and retailers have had to adapt to a pandemic that no one saw coming.
The most valuable lesson the pandemic has taught us is the importance of flexibility and adaptability, and how companies need to learn how to run campaigns that will reap results beyond this moment.
It’s also important that we keep an open mind and be quick in our response in order to turn any moment of crisis into opportunity.
If you’re thinking of adopting a digital marketing strategy but unsure where to start, talk to us! We provide personalised digital solutions for clients and we’d happy to provide one for you too.
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