To survive and thrive in a post-COVID economy, global marketing organizations need to be more resilient than ever. Unexpected changes and global disruptions require marketers to act immediately. That means they need to be able to quickly and effectively change course to address new realities on the ground – weekly, daily, and sometimes even hourly.
As marketers, we are now faced with very difficult questions: How aggressively should we deal with prospects and customers? Should we introduce more remote conferencing and webinars to replace in-person events? What’s the best way to connect with colleagues across the company and make sure everyone is on the same page?
In this time of crisis, marketers are at the forefront. How we react can set the tone for all future business. In the face of unprecedented change, there are five ways marketers can mitigate risk, serve customers better, and end up doing better.
1. Be helpful.
First and foremost, make sure that all of your messaging is valuable and relevant to your prospects and customers. However, avoid using exploitative or insensitive language that could undermine your empathic intent. Your company’s news should show an understanding of your audience’s immediate needs in these uncertain times; B. Offers for remote employees or extended payment terms.
Here at LogicMonitor, for example, a subset of our cloud platform helps companies maintain the performance of work-from-home technologies. This benefit is now at the heart of our messaging and is offered as a free trial.
Also, take a moment to consider how your go-to-market efforts are being perceived by customers. As a rule of thumb, we ask ourselves whether our messages and communications are helpful to our customers. Remember that the circumstances are radically different than they were two months ago. So what you originally planned for 2020 isn’t necessarily the best course of action today. That means you need to question all previous assumptions and come up with thoughtful messages that better address this new reality and connect more authentically with prospects or customers.
2. Be credible.
Flag positive reviews of your business online to demonstrate your credibility. New research from PowerReviews found that reviews are becoming even more critical in the COVID-19 era as consumers interact with review content twice as often as before the pandemic. Bazaarvoice, a former employer of mine and another customer review solution provider, saw page views increase 25% across their network of 6,200+ brands and retailers in March as local shopping became the new norm.
It’s no secret that consumers rely on online reviews before making any purchase decisions. This also applies to B2B (business-to-business) buyers in countries such as G2 Crowd, Gartner Peer Insights and TrustRadius. If your business has consistently positive reviews, market them on your website and across digital platforms to attract consumers to your business. This can help potential customers provide the necessary validation and social proof points to increase your conversions.
The Easiest Way to Get Reviews? Just ask. We use our community platform and advisory network to solicit public user feedback.
3. Be patient.
Don’t give up on your leads. The new economic reality of COVID-19 suggests that buyers may not currently have the means or the ability to purchase. Just because potential customers are more restricted in their buying behavior doesn’t mean they are not interested in your products or services.
Establish an effective executive development strategy to ensure your company or product stays competitive after the crisis. This can be achieved by timely tracking of leads with a sequence of relevant resources until they are ready for a sales pitch.
4. Be agile.
Since the beginning of the crisis, we have been monitoring business operations more frequently than ever to ensure we are investing appropriately in the market. This means that we check our funnel and pipeline metrics several times a week and focus on channels that we can pan quickly, e.g. B. digital, while we keep the integrated core campaigns and awareness games.
For example, like many organizations, we have canceled or suspended all in-person events, including large trade shows and small, intimate events like dinners with customers and prospects. However, this means that we will need other marketing efforts to increase our demand generation efforts.
If you need to adjust your budget and plan, try to understand how the investment will return and prioritize tactics with known returns (e.g. paid search) over tactics with unknown returns (e.g. a virtual trading event) the first time).
5. Be purposeful.
Account-based marketing has been a hot spot in B2B marketing for several years, and this crisis has made targeted marketing programs and person-based messaging even more important.
Now is not the time to sell to troubled companies, even if you are considering a mission-critical product or solution. Instead, focus on companies and industries that are less affected. This is especially important now as the sensitivity is high and the delivery of appropriate messages and relevant content is of the utmost importance.
In these troubled times, marketers cannot afford to operate under the status quo of operating plans developed in their annual planning cycle in late 2019 (Was that really only two quarters ago?). The best marketers were already thinking about ways to work and communicate better. But during “The Great Pause” this is no longer just the domain of the top performers – it is a ticket.
Marketing teams that are adept at adapting to these new circumstances will play a vital role in helping their organizations weather the storm and become empowered and customer-centric and value-centric once the worst is over.