Some marketing strategies that worked six months ago are no longer even relevant in today’s pandemic world. To survive this far, businesses have had to rapidly adapt to new tactics. At the same time, it’s hard to reconcile with the fact that many marketing tactics, like networking events and face-to-face interactions, may not come back into our toolboxes for a while.
What we learned from the last recession is that business leaders who adapted quickly were more likely to succeed. Keep reading to find out how to shift your marketing strategy in a pandemic.
Steps to Take
First of all, take a hard look with fresh eyes at your client profile. Re-evaluate the following based on where you and your customers are right now:
Who is your client?
What do they care about now? How have their needs shifted as they adapt to the pandemic, economic downturn, and future presidential election (which is an expected time of uncertainty that comes around every four years).
Which markets or client types may be slowing down?
Which markets or client types may have more opportunity?
What market trends will impact their buying decisions?
Industry examples include:
Architecture/Engineering/Construction: The expectation is that future public projects will slow down due to a lack of funding. Businesses in these industries must evaluate their balance of private vs. public work and determine how to pursue more leads in the private, especially residential, sector.
Professional Services: The typical client may feel less confident about spending money on professional services. Businesses in this industry should consider adapting to offer smaller “bite size” contracts, vs. longer engagements.
Hospitality: Customers may seek to have a smaller, more intimate fun night out. Restaurants, bars, and wineries should learn how to redefine their services to adapt to smaller groups vs. packed spaces.
Relearn Your Customers’ Voice
Since we’re going through a collective experience, it may be easier than ever to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Determine what your customer wants, needs, and fears right now and adapt your marketing messages to reflect that. For example, we learned that “grow your business” was a tagline no longer resonating with business owners. Instead, we understood that the desire of business owners shifted to rebuilding back to their 2019 numbers. Leaders are also worried about finding new sales leads when their customers are just as negatively impacted; so instead of saying we’ll help them identify new leads based on their client profile, we focus instead on how to pivot strategies.
Let Go of the Old Ways
Don’t spend any more time and resources on marketing strategies and tactics that are now pointless. Shift to what is working now and focus the marketing budget toward those tactics. We are amazed at the creativity we’re seeing as businesses pivot — successful companies will understand their customers and what will appeal to them now.
Develop Multiple Marketing Tactics
Think of a marketing strategy as spokes on a wheel. Engaging numerous spokes will effectively get your message out. Apply marketing pressure evenly on your wheel; relying too heavily on one or two methods will not reach everyone in your audience. For example, engage in social media posts, email blasts, window signs, personalized calls, and coupons; reaching out to your audience in multiple ways will keep your business at top of mind.
Ready, Fire, Aim
Make a plan (ready), execute it (fire), and then measure and adjust as necessary (aim). We are all learning what works and what doesn’t in these rapidly changing times. Regularly evaluating the response will help you refine our aim. Be sure to engage with your customers and learn how they heard about you, or create a mini focus group asking customers what they need, what they care about, and which marketing tactics they listen to the most.
Agility is the name of the game nowadays. Be open to new things and listen to your customers. A willingness to evolve as needed gives your business the stability it needs when times get tough.