How To PIVOT Your Marketing During A Crisis

The Covid-19 crisis has had impacts on everyone. Budgets are tight. Events are canceled. Advertising campaigns are on hold. Content distribution and social media need retooling. Marketers are unsure how to proceed, not wanting to be seen as taking advantage of the circumstances, but also not wanting to go dark.

But some things haven’t changed. Many of the levers marketers used before the pandemic are still relevant and effective. The challenge is finding the right mix of tactics to reach and engage our target audiences in a very different social climate.

What we are learning now will help us prepare for what lies ahead. It’s time to PIVOT: prepare, improvise, value, obsess and track. Here’s how.

Prepare

If you’re still waiting for a return to normal to reassess your marketing plan, you’re going to be left scrambling to catch up. It’s likely that the future will be a hybrid of tried-and-true tactics and shifting spending categories to build brand awareness, sales and customer loyalty.

Try the simple assessment approach: start, stop, continue. Just as it sounds, you should start new tactics based on current market conditions, stop tasks that may be ineffective in a crisis and continue tasks that effectively support your strategy.

Improvise

If there is one takeaway from the pandemic, it’s that everything can change in days and weeks, not months and years. With that in mind, we need to rethink and retrench marketing tactics to be nimbler and more adaptable. That means adjusting or implementing new plans on the fly, especially right now, because what worked a few months ago may not work today.

With a combination of intuition and available data, you should move to quickly ideate, test and adjust your marketing strategy as needed. If things don’t go as planned, taking an agile approach to evolving your strategy can help you recalibrate and reach your goals faster.

Value

Right now is a perfect opportunity to reexamine what you do, why you do it and what you expect to get for it. With many businesses struggling, it’s more important than ever to prove the value of marketing. If your measurement capabilities are lacking, it’s time to set up the tools to gauge performance and return on investment (ROI). Incorporate trends, consumer preferences and what your competition is doing as a baseline to inform decision making.

If you don’t have these kinds of performance metrics, business leaders are less likely to approve marketing spend, especially when budgets are tight. The simplest remedy is to ensure that any investment request is paired with a set of financial metrics; linking the two is invaluable to securing budget dollars.

Obsess

Companies that are maniacally focused on understanding what their customers need right now and in the coming months will better position themselves to weather the crisis and thrive in its aftermath. It’s especially important that marketers engage with their customers to understand how Covid-19 has affected product demand and preferences.

Will you have to change your business model? Will there be a shift in how you deliver products or services? Digitalization will undoubtedly play a much larger role across many industries, and organizations must be ready to operate in a more dynamic, competitive environment.

Track

Marketing campaigns can be delivered with surgical precision, tracked from end to end and measured each step of the way. Focus on the top of the funnel; it’s an opportune time to attract new prospective clients that may have been out of reach in the past. Identify what your ultimate goals are, and understand both the quantifiable results and qualitative insights.

These learnings become the basis for knowing what is working and what is falling short of expectations. Data and technology are the underpinnings to enable tracking and analysis.

No one knows what new challenges we’ll face in the weeks and months ahead. That’s why marketers must take time now to prepare, set up their processes and people for improvisation, demonstrate their value, obsessively learn about their customers, and track their progress.

Marketing in a time of crisis is fraught with roadblocks and land mines. With the right pivot, however, you can put your entire company on stronger footing both now and when the crisis eventually ends.


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