What a crazy world we’re living in right now! Pandemic, social unrest and global uncertainty are we all doomed? With the massive upheaval that Covid-19 is causing globally right now and all the levels of uncertainty that this entails, is marketing something we should be thinking about from a business perspective?
Of course, we need to take care of ourselves and our loved ones – this goes without saying. We also need to look after our fellow human beings through this period. But have you considered how you will look after your business and, specifically, your brand?
It is human nature to consolidate and focus on the core elements of our existence through trying times like family, shelter, food and the essentials for life. We have been doing this for hundreds of years to ensure our survival. All other extraneous elements in our lives are reduced or eliminated to deal with these trying periods and situations.
The same can be said for how we manage these times in relation to our businesses and the brands we have created. They have their own set of requirements to ensure their survival. When we talk about business survival the first thing that comes to owners minds is what can we reduce or eliminate to help us get our business through this stressful period? Often this process involves a reduction in resources that we use to generate the very products and services we offer to our target markets. It may also involve reducing production or the level of service being offered. It may even mean reducing staffing levels to cope. The common thread here is the reduction in operating costs to keep our companies and brands afloat.
One of the easiest and simplest options for reducing operating costs is to sacrifice our marketing efforts to help keep our businesses alive.
But is reducing or even halting marketing in times of business uncertainty the right approach?
The key element here is what happens to our brand when we stop marketing in the minds of our customers?
Marketing is there to make customers in your target audience aware of who you are and what you can offer them in relation to their individual wants and needs. Marketing also creates and builds relationships with your customers and how they feel about you as a brand and how that aligns with them.
When a potential customer has a want, need or desire we want them to have our brand at the forefront of their minds when they are deciding who they should engage with to satisfy those wants, needs and desires. This is the key moment where marketing plays its part in bringing those customers to our brands through mutual alignment. Customers will choose brands that align with their belief systems and the mutual set of ideals that they share with each other. This is the core part of building meaningful relationships with your customers.
These meaningful relationships between customers and brands need to be nurtured.
And what is going to be the most effective approach that not only works but also comes with the best cost to performance ratio through these difficult times?
There is no silver bullet or magic incantation that will work for every business or situation but looking at your current marketing strategies and making thoughtful and educated decisions is going to be the most sensible approach. And when I say being sensible, I mean don’t look at dropping one marketing channel over another to try and reduce costs. The sensible approach is to look at all your marketing channels and adjust the mix to suit what you can afford and what combination will work best for your customers. Making them aware of who you are and what you offer and the value you can bring to them. Choose to put effort into the channels that not only create awareness but also allow you to build relationships with your customers.
Digital marketing is one of the channels that not only builds awareness but also has the potential to generate meaningful relationships with your market audience. Especially now in times of real physical isolation where making contact with our fellow human beings is a very valuable commodity.
Digital marketing also has the ability to bring most, if not all, your other marketing channels together to create a unified message and approach to telling your brand story. Combining your marketing efforts into a unified approach will present a stronger brand voice in a crowded market place and will help to put your brand at the forefront of customers minds before your competitors.
Wow! That sounds great, doesn’t it? But it also sounds really expensive!… Not necessarily.
Here are some meaningful ways to use your digital marketing channels to reinforce your brand in the minds of your customers.
Start a knowledge-based business blog
Your customers are thirsty for knowledge of the products and services you have to offer them. Write some specific articles that highlight the benefits and unique differentiation that your product or service offers that creates value for them as an individual customer. These articles could be about how to use your product to gain the best result, or they could be research pieces that will expand your customer’s knowledge on a service you provide. Articles and thought leadership show your audience you have thought about the types of questions or issues they may have and how you can solve or address them.
Up your social media game
Choose the appropriate platforms for your business and create platform-specific content that personally engages with your customers. These could drive them to your website, blog articles etc. They could also help to open up a targeted dialogue with your customers to get direct feedback and insights into their preferences or potential issues they might be experiencing in relation to your products or services. This will give you pinpoint visibility to how your customers really feel and give you an opportunity to directly help them. This type of interaction is invaluable to building real value in your brand in the eyes of your customers.
Update your website
Make sure your website is a true reflection of your company, how you operate and what you have to offer. Your website is the heart of your digital marketing strategy and should not be just a pretty brochure representation of your business. It should be an integral part of your business strategy that links all aspects of your company’s operational elements together both online and offline. Make sure the structure, messaging, design and integrated functionality of your website is offering your customers what they want and is doing it better than your competitors! Make sure your content engages with your target market and speaks in a tone that they identify with. Your content should encourage learning and exploration throughout your website. These things will build the value perception your customers have for your brand, motivate them to make contact with you and generate conversion moments. These conversion moments could be a purchase of some sort or simply the act of making contact.
Create a video channel
Here you can take the concept of the knowledge blog article to the next level! Product demos, structured tutorial series, demonstrations, thought leadership – the possibilities are endless! Once again these can be used within your other marketing channels, linking them back to your website and pushing them via social media. You could even use them for trade show demonstrations! Video literally has very few limits and is a strong solution to tell your brand’s story and engage with your customers.
These are just a few of many examples available to you.
The key takeaway from all this is that by continuing a marketing strategy through tough times you will put your brand and your offering at the front of customers minds.
It can only be a good thing to stay visible and competitive. There are many articles floating around that go into greater detail about figures, rates and percentages relating to the benefits of continuing marketing strategies through difficult social and financial times and I encourage you to look these up.
Here at Meta Digital, we are always open to answering any questions you have surrounding digital marketing – free of charge, no strings attached. Feel free to get in touch and we can organise a virtual catch up and share a virtual coffee together to help you find the right solution for you!