Adjusting Strategy During Change
Marketing today requires all businesses to be flexible. Changes are happening rapidly, and we must adjust how we work to be effective. New tools, platforms, on- and off-line channels, and algorithm changes create challenges for marketing strategies. External economic factors can also pose a challenge to operations. Small businesses must be prepared to pivot when needed, adjusting strategies to meet changing demand is critical to longevity. Complacency is not an option.
A Harvard Business Review (HBR) report, Roaring out of Recession, provides excellent examples of strategy shifts best suited for times of uncertainty and examples of performance impact. Their research suggests companies that focus on operational efficiency while prioritizing spending on marketing and research & development succeed more often than those that do not. Companies that only cut costs do not thrive when times stabilize. Being operationally efficient and spending on marketing may seem counterintuitive, however these progressive strategies will prove to endure a downturn and set a better foundation for success when the market recovers.
The coronavirus pandemic has magnified the need to be agile. No one can predict what is going to happen or the timeline for recovery. You can identify what you can control and adjust strategies accordingly to improve the odds of weathering this crisis. Use the time wisely. Open the channels of communication, enhance visibility and build trust with customers. Take this time of uncertainty to update your marketing strategy and playbooks.
For example, during the pandemic people are stuck at home so meet them where they are:
✔ Focus on social media – it is estimated that Facebook usage is up over 20%, and it appears to continue to increase
✔ Be visible – as HBR states don’t skimp on your marketing efforts, double down
✔ Be tasteful – ensure that your message is sensitive to the times. Hard sales tactics aren’t appropriate, a message of value and industry insight will be much more effective
✔ Message ways that you can help – focus on the customer and how your product/service can help them during these uncertain times; the message shouldn’t be about you
You want your brand to be top of mind as a trusted source when it is time to purchase.
Navigating change can be challenging, there is no defined roadmap to tell you exactly what to do. The key is finding ways to reach your customers, creating opportunities to demonstrate your value, and strengthening your brand in the hearts and minds of customers.