Normally with over 20 years of experience, I can use past learnings to help my clients deal with market changes. Pandemic? Nothing I’ve seen is even close. However, some of my clients are ramping programs up again and here are some of the thoughts I’ve shared on what to do now:
- Unless your target audience is completely shut down, they still need to buy things. Especially if what you sell can make their job easier, allows the ability to more quickly respond to a changing marketplace or do something cheaper. So, keep marketing.
- Test everything. The pandemic likely reset everything you’ve ever learned, so past results may not be relevant. Take advantage of demand generation’s ability to eliminate guesswork and set new benchmarks, test, review results and roll out what is showing a return today.
- Review existing content and offers, particularly in acquisition and nurture. For a lot of my clients, past strong performing assets like surveys and state of the industry reports are obsolete.
- Review your database and decide if you want to suppress certain audience segments. If you’re marketing to government, entertainment or retailers, are they good prospects now? Are others better? (This is a great time to sync with sales. Ask about interactions by industry and get their feedback about where to focus.)
- More than ever, write copy with customer benefit in mind. Emotions are high and people have less patience for copy that isn’t relevant. Re-evaluate your value proposition and address the pain points your audience feeling right now.
- Don’t be like everyone else. Instead of being the 50th person to send an email about “these difficult times”, make positive benefit statements. For example, saying “With the need to develop product enhancements more quickly than ever, deployment speed is important”. Or “supporting a remote workforce is critical”. These types of statements focus on the value of your offer, still relate to the current situation, but also set your communication apart.
- Be very careful about offers of “hope” or “help”. Corporate communications should be professional. If you do want to offer help – be specific. Is it a discount? Different payment terms? An email with an open-ended “Let us know if you need help” opens your company up to awkward conversations if the help isn’t something you can provide.
- Be prepared for database churn as people lose their jobs. Before you send to your usual lists, test a sample and check the bounce rates. And be prepared to reallocate resources to bring in new leads if your existing prospect database is shrinking.
- What if your company’s product isn’t relevant now? Take the time to regroup while you’re waiting for the market to shift. Rework reporting so that you finally can track the metrics you need. Clean up your website. Develop new content. Build that super marketing machine you’ve always wanted so that when the market is ready, you’ll kick back off with more efficiency than ever.
I’d love to hear other thoughts and experience you have to add. Post your thoughts in the comments below.