The economic and operational impact of the coronavirus crisis has swept in so fast on marketing teams that it has been hard to gain a sense of stability in the past few weeks. We have been pulling out all the stops, working with our partners to help them adjust their campaigns and many are now back on a stable footing with a clear path ahead.
Here are some of our observations about how marketing teams are adapting to the coronavirus economy:
Lead generation is tougher, and focusing on relationship building may be a better use of resource
For some sectors, customer acquisition has almost dried up overnight and shows no sign of changing for as long as the country stays in lockdown. In the immediate term, securing qualified leads is a much tougher prospect, meaning that cost-per-lead will increase.
However, to just stop outreach runs the risk that prospects will forget who you are. There is an anticipation (perhaps just a hope!) that the coronavirus crisis will pass soon, and the economy will rebound swiftly from that.
Our clients have therefore been adjusting marketing outreach to ensure that they stay front of mind during this period of deep freeze. This approach is also boosted by the fact that many prospects have more time on their hands than before. They are therefore more likely to consume content based on thought leadership, advice and personal growth. Marketing campaigns should adapt to this changing situation.
Reallocating budget from events
Social distancing policies have resulted in many marketing teams seeing their calendar of expos, conferences and other physical events dissipate. This has, in the short term, freed up budget that can now be reallocated for digital and virtual marketing approaches.
Some marketing teams have faced immediate budget cuts, and this has proved a useful pool to protect other marketing activity. Other teams, however, are jumping on the freed-up budget to provide immediate support to their businesses helping to adjust to the crisis. Staff and customer communications have also become even more critical and this extra funding has enabled many to rise to the increased pressures in this area.
Help sales teams with the stress of the sudden new climate
Sales teams have had to shift their approach almost overnight and face the stress of missed sales targets and they are clamouring out for any support that they can get. Many of our clients have engaged with their sales teams to look at how marketing can provide immediate support. Replacing physical meetings and events with a greater number of webinars, podcasts and other material to help keep prospects hot and in the sales funnel is critical for sales teams at the moment.
Remember people are far more open – we are all in this together
Pretty much every business is facing an unprecedented challenge. Consequently, there are many more conversations flowing between companies and their prospects. This can be a great time to build closer bonds. Relationships built in times of adversity can be more solid when the crisis passes.
In summary, the marketing dynamics have changed nearly overnight, but this is not a reason to stop communicating. If you slow the pace, people will have their attention taken up by your competition. This time is about recalibrating activity to enable your business to be in the best possible place when the crisis does eventually pass.
Getting this challenging time right will mean that the bonds you make will more likely serve you well when the storm has passed.
We have had extensive contact with people at every level of seniority in the past few weeks as we adapt and flex to our client’s challenges and demands. We know that we have to go the extra mile more than ever in our working relationships.
A time of challenge is not the time to stop communicating, but rather to use every tool at your disposal to build the strongest possible relationship with your customers and prospects.