One of the many lessons we’ve learned in 2020 is that the world can change—dramatically—in the blink of an eye. Whether it’s due to a global pandemic, widespread social unrest, or some other unforeseen catastrophe, change can have a notable effect on your marketing strategy. Since change is constant—and, as we’ve learned, what it brings about can potentially stretch longer than what we initially expect—you need to keep your marketing strategy fluid. Here’s how to ensure it can weather whatever changes come your way.
Your customers are your bread and butter, so understanding how your customers perceive your brand is critical. Not just during pivotal events such as product launches and campaign kickoffs, but every single day. Maintaining a baseline of consumer input can help you quickly identify shifting trends or, worse, shifting sentiment about your products so that you can pivot quickly if needed.
For example, would you be interested to learn that people were upset with your brand because an item you featured in social media ads had sold out, but users were still receiving (and engaging with) the ads? Or that a charitable campaign you were running (buy one and we’ll donate one) didn’t sit well with customers?
Here are several ways to keep your ear to the ground on customer sentiment:
While no one could have predicted the sudden surge in online demand for groceries and staples caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many retail businesses, such as grocery chains and delivery services, were ill-prepared when consumers stampeded to online retailers in early 2020. Yet something as simple as optimized digital account creation flows—to easily onboard online users and keep them moving smoothly toward conversion—could have helped small-to-mid-sized retailers gain a foothold in households that may have previously been loyal to larger ecommerce platforms.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to provide seamless, integrated experiences for customers across channels and platforms. According to a July 2020 report issued by McKinsey, supply-chain issues caused by COVID-19 prompted 60% of global online customers surveyed to change their shopping behavior, with approximately three-quarters of US respondents saying those changes would stick for the longer term.
Here’s a starter digital user experience checklist:
Investing in brand awareness is like investing in a future sale. And there’s never a bad time to invest in your brand. In fact, we’ve found that many of the biggest brands ramp up awareness efforts during times when people may not be spending as much, so that when people begin feeling flush again their brands are top of mind.
Here are some important ways to invest in your brand:
To avoid disruption from changes that may be on the horizon, evaluate all of your marketing channels and create workarounds in advance. Be sure to keep your business objectives (direct sales or app downloads, for example) and your marketing objectives (visibility vs. performance) in mind, and keep your mind open to possibilities.
Here are some general considerations for channel diversification:
When times change quickly, it can be tempting to sit on the sidelines, assess the lay of the land, evaluate your options…and then evaluate some more. The key to change-proofing your marketing strategy is to map out multiple viable options in advance so that at any given time—and for (nearly) every foreseeable situation—you have various potential change-proof paths available to you. By evaluating and mapping these paths ahead of time you’ll be well prepared for whatever changes come your way.