I still haven’t met a company that has not been affected in some way due to COVID-19, for better or for worse. Many are just burying their heads in the sand, carrying on as normal with their marketing strategies – in the hope things will get back to normal soon.
But what will ‘normal’ be in the months and years to come? Will it ever be ‘normal’ again?
Marketing strategies should always evolve and be challenged on a regular basis. That was true even before COVID-19. Markets change constantly due to seasonality, interest rates, media coverage, wars, competition and innovation – not just because of pandemics.
Businesses have to reimagine their marketing strategies after every turning point in their marketplace.
Many of the companies I have spoken to are proud to tell me how they’ve ‘gone digital’ or emphasised their focus on digital marketing activities to be more effective during COVID-19. When we drill down though, we normally just end up seeing a few social posts, some emailers or a video. This is NOT a strategy; it’s just gesturing.
There are currently a few non-relevant marketing activities – like exhibiting or creating printed handouts. Stop these without transferring the budget to more relevant activities, and your business will gradually grind to a halt.
You can then point the blame at COVID – and that will be that.
At Rooster, we’re still marketing businesses that have been massively affected by COVID, including the aviation industry. By implementing a new, more relevant marketing strategy, we’re still getting results for them. If they can do it, so can you.
Here are some examples of what you might have to do to cater to a changing marketplace during COVID-19:
1. Completely reassess your strategy.
Strip it apart and start again. Ensure budgets for every activity are allocated to the things that are more suited to today’s market.
2. Consider how strong your current digital marketing strategy really is.
Our clients are seeing greater ROI from digital marketing than ever during COVID-19. Just because you have a website or Facebook page doesn’t mean you have a digital marketing strategy. You have to make sure that the activities you choose complement each other, for the best spend of budget. A disjointed strategy will give much lower ROI if any.
3. Don’t just create content for the sake of it.
Groom data to find your audiences on various digital channels, as this may have changed from previous research. The world has changed, after all. We always say “fish in the pond with all the fish!’. If there aren’t any fish, you’re wasting your time – so create content for audiences that you know are already there and don’t gamble with your content. Audiences have moved. Find them and give them something of value.
4. Have a short and long-term strategy.
Many companies need a quick injection of enquiries or orders to keep the wheels turning at this difficult time. Well-crafted paid advertising can give quick results. Search engine optimisation takes time but can give a greater return in the long run. But, focus on the long run too much and you may not be around long enough to reap the rewards from it.
5. Keep it simple.
Don’t do ten things badly; do 3 things brilliantly. This will be a much better use of your budget.
6. Don’t gamble with your marketing budget.
Go for tried and tested activities at first. As the ship steadies, you can afford to take some risks with your marketing activities.
7. It’s not just about digital.
We’re seeing greater results from direct marketing activities because hardly anyone else is doing it! How nice is it to receive something through the post that is useful while working from home or being welcomed back to the office?
8. Strengthen existing relationships.
During troubled times, it’s easy to forget that your best audience is the people you know and work with already. Don’t forget them. Let them know you’re supporting them, understand their challenges and let them know how you have tailored your offering for today’s climate.
9. Reassess your offering.
How is it presented? What priority do you give to your services and products? Some may have become less relevant while others have become more important to your business. Don’t just do the same old, same old.
10. Don’t ignore tough decisions.
It’s a bit like ripping off a plaster; just go for it. Address those tough decisions – and if you’re unsure, get some good advice from a professional.
This is the tip of the iceberg, but it would still be a great start. Go through each point, be honest with yourself and start compiling a list of how each step might be relevant to your business. And most importantly – ENJOY THE CHALLENGE!