Responsive strategy suggestions for a challenging business environment
A month ago it would have seemed ridiculous to suggest that half the world would be on lockdown.
Whilst many are now focusing on how their teams operationally work from home or with a reduced client contact approach, it’s important to remember to adapt the way you market your business too.
During the past century there have been a number of articles published on the importance of maintaining (and even in some cases), increasing marketing activity during periods of economic instability (one example is here: https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/bradadgate/2019/09/05/when-a-recession-comes-dont-stop-advertising/amp/)
The key point is that businesses do need clients and orders to survive and to grow. Marketing and sales are not optional elements of a business toolkit.
Whilst finance departments will inevitably focus on cost cutting, they don’t always connect the dots between line items on a P&L report and secondary impacts of removing the critical driving forces behind them.
The mechanisms for generating new prospects and ongoing orders from existing customers are marketing and sales…it isn’t cost cutting on these critical activities, it is expedited suicide!
The essential element, however, is to ensure that your marketing investment is wisely placed and is proving effective.
So what does this mean in the corona virus locked-down society context?
Well, there are a number of aspects to consider before deciding on the precise tactics to use.
A) The central messages you convey need to be adapted to suit the current environment.
An example of this might be a business coach changing their message to being about ‘support for survival’ during this period more than ‘maximising growth’.
Whilst both are motivating, one has to happen before the other can… a bit like offering oxygen to breathe before lunch to eat!
Sticking with out of date messages is a common cause for businesses failing to maintain relevance to potential customers.
In challenged times, businesses can become quite narrow in their ability to see beyond the immediate, so make sure your short term offer is relevant but not totally disconnected from the long term aim.
B) There is a need for many companies to change the way they manage their connection, enquiry and sales processes. If you try to do what you’ve always done and just wait it out, you’ll more likely fail.
An example of practical change might be adopting and promoting the ability to buy online rather than from a physical location, or running a webinar instead of an in-person event.
Another might be offering video demos or video guides.
Failing to adapt means that enquiries that could and should be converted will become either delayed or directed to competitors who have better working methods for the current situation. Not all change is bad!
Think about how your customer wants to buy in this revised situation and make it easy for them.
C) You need to communicate positively and more frequently / clearly about your current methods of working to address potential fears and concerns.
An example of this is where delivery firms explain about the use of face masks and sanitisers. This is a strong ‘we care about you’ message and needs to be put across confidently.
This needs to happen BEFORE clients enquire, place an order or hesitate about doing so – thus removing the worry before it changes a buying habit.
Work out what the worries are, be pro-active to manage them, and then be very active in promoting that message to those you can reach and influence.
Prevention is better than cure!
D) Without alternate contact approaches, client relationships can start to decline if face to face connection is reduced.
A lot of business is done based on face to face relationships, and maintaining the level of trust, value association and more is vital to customer retention.
An example here might be to hold an online video call with your client rather than sending an email or even making a telephone call.
It might seem a small thing but showing your face and reminding them that you are a real human is a good thing. Customers are less likely to cost cut ‘a friend’ than just ‘a supplier’!
The corona virus is creating a business world that has to operate dynamically and differently.
This article has been put together with a view that at least some of the points will be relevant to all business types.
However, strategy is really best done on a case by case basis.
If you would like to talk through your marketing and sales strategy and discuss options to make the best of the current marketplace, do get in touch.
You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +44 (0)1444 810531 // email@example.com or on +44 (0)1424 559589