Revisit Your Marketing in the Post-COVID-19 Economy
Was the world in a different place the last time you touched your marketing plan? As business owners and key managers, your way of thinking about your bottom line, profit projection and revenue is completely different than this time last year (and even this time four months ago). Similarly, the way you think about marketing should also adapt to the “new normal” of changing consumer sentiment and behavior. Do you need to completely upend the 2020 marketing plan strategized during 4th quarter last year? Is it time to repivot from the changes you made back in March or April?
Revisit the seven steps for developing a marketing plan to identify key changes or new opportunities in our post-COVID-19 economy:
1. Identify what products to sell
Are you able to sell the products you were offering pre-pandemic?
For many businesses, the pandemic has shone a light on vulnerabilities in their supply chains. Have these kinks been hammered out, or are you still experiencing shortages and backorders?
Do government regulations or health and safety precautions continue to limit the products or services you provide? If so, it may be time to innovate or explore other avenues of business. These times are called the “new normal” for a reason, if you’re unable to work within the current safety protocols, chances are your product or service won’t be in demand anytime soon.
Did you innovate your product offerings during the economic shutdown that may be unprofitable now that businesses are back open?
Did you supply or create a new product or service that flourished during the initial economic downturn? Now that you’ve been producing or selling it for a few months, evaluate how profitable it’s been for you – and if it will continue to be profitable now that the economy has opened back up.
Are there any new products that can satisfy your customers during these changing times?
With change comes opportunity! Many companies have yet to adapt to changing consumer behaviors, and over the past few months, these pain points are becoming easier to recognize. What growth opportunities are available for you to take advantage of?
2. Determine the ideal customer for each product
For existing products:
Has your ideal customer changed since the pandemic began? Keep in mind that customers you’ve previously targeted may be in a different place financially than they were six months ago. Their priorities may have shifted to make your product less in demand. Your product’s secondary target market (or even a whole newly identified target market) may be better suited for your marketing efforts.
For new products:
Chances are, new products that were developed during the pandemic were created with a specific consumer in mind. Can you narrow your ideal customer down even further? Identify key geographic, demographic and psychographic criteria for a more targeted marketing campaign.
3. Decide what is the best way on how to contact these ideal customers
How have your customers’ behaviors changed since the last time you revisited your marketing plan? Are they using their morning commute time to read or watch the morning news? Are they streaming more TV and movies on the weekends instead of going out? Are they checking in virtually on loved ones with apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger? Are they creating goofy videos on TikTok to pass the time? Identifying these changes can help you better reach your target market where competitors may not have tapped into yet.
4. Create a unique selling proposition and guarantee
According to the most recent CMO Survey, 79% of marketers observed that post-pandemic consumers have a greater acknowledgment of companies’ attempts to “do good.”
Attempt to “do good” in business:
Consumers, in general, have been forgiving with longer product delivery times and other business hiccups that occur due to COVID-19 – as long as businesses are transparent and keep their customers updated through increased customer service efforts. If you are unable to meet expectations set by your unique selling proposition or guarantee developed pre-pandemic, be forthright about the issue. Adjust expectations as to what customers should now anticipate and be communicative with updates.
Attempt to “do good” socially and ethically:
Many social justice movements have also evolved in 2020, and businesses that are getting involved are gaining greater loyalty and following from their supporters. How can you work your business’s social and ethical values and beliefs into your USP and guarantee?
5. Develop a selling process for each product
Have you gone digital yet? Regardless of your product, service or industry, consumers are turning to online platforms to conduct business and make purchases. The CMO Survey states that 97% of marketers observed lower in-person marketing engagement consumer behavior (such as store visits and tradeshows). 85% of marketers noticed that consumers had an increase in openness to new digital offerings during the pandemic, and 84% stated that consumers have placed increased value on digital experiences.
How can you make your sales funnel as physically “contactless” as possible? Examine your current processes to see if there are opportunities to integrate online technology to better reach your customers where they work and play (virtually).
6. Draft up a marketing plan and calendar
Now that the gears are turning, what are a few goals you’d like to accomplish for the remainder of 2020?
Turn your goals into measurable objectives using the S.M.A.R.T criteria, and develop specific strategies that define how you will achieve each objective. Break your strategies down by tactic, identifying implementable marketing action items that will help you reach your objectives. Stay on track of your marketing efforts by putting these tactics in a calendar format. Be sure to define KPIs and measurement metrics of each marketing tactic to evaluate if your methods are successful.
7. Build supplemental sales and marketing pieces
Based on your updated marketing plan, do you have any collateral material that needs to be updated or created? How can you take your current pieces and make them digital, interactive, and as user-friendly as possible? Your website should act as a hub for your sales and marketing efforts. Prioritize keeping your social media channels as up-to-date as possible, as customers will likely reference your pages for updates and new information on your business.
There is no playbook to the COVID-19 pandemic but letting your marketing plan grow stagnant or outdated during these unprecedented times can lead to wasted advertising dollars and missed potential customers. Seize new opportunities to grow your business by adapting your marketing to the changes happening around us. If you are struggling with any of the mentioned steps for developing a marketing plan, contact us today!