Should Marketing Be Self-Isolating?

This is most certainly worrying and challenging times for everyone and to be honest, it makes the things we would normally worry about on a day to day basis fade into insignificance.

For us in Marketing, it is not just the fact that we are now working from home that we are finding challenging, but that our carefully crafted marketing plans have fallen to pieces with all events cancelled and question marks over many of our planned campaigns.

In my opinion we have two options, we either put our hands up, surrender and effectively put marketing into self-isolation, or we adapt and overcome and focus on making ourselves better and stronger for when things return back to normal. For anyone who knows me, it will come as no surprise as to which option I am favouring.

What Should Be Our Plan B?

Although our Plan A has changed, our long-term goals remain the same and as such we should be adapting our plan and switching our priorities over the coming months to retain focus on these goals. Here are some of the things that I think marketers need to be focusing on.

Scale Up Customer Communication – your customers need to know that you are there for them in these times, make them aware of your service continuity plans and if there is any help or advice you can share with them around their current challenges, do so.

Don’t Sell; Advise – the world has not stopped; people are still working and to be honest with less meetings and travelling, people have more time to consume content. However, the nature of the content they want to consume has changed. With buying cycles disrupted, they are less likely to consume bottom of the funnel ‘salesy’ content, but more inclined to engage with top of the funnel thought-leadership content – this is where you should focus.

Social is Key – where physically the advice is for social distancing, on social media the reverse is true. If you are not engaging face to face with your customers and prospects, you need to use social media to maintain relationships. I have seen a number of great examples this week of companies sharing images of their teams working remotely and fostering a community spirit; this is great and maintains connections.

Time to Analyse – there are never enough hours in the day to step back, take stock and analyse what is working and what is not. At the moment, we probably have more time available to do this, so we should take advantage. Review your campaigns from the last year, analyse your inbound activity and understand which activities, channels and campaigns have generated the better return.

Fix What is Broken – we all have lists of things we want to do when we have time or budget to do them – revamp parts of the website, focus on SEO, rewrite some key assets, etc, etc. As you are forced to scrap elements of your Plan A, this is a perfect chance for these important things to make their way onto your to-do list or to divert budget you can’t spend on that event to build a stronger foundation for the future.

Be Ready To Go Again – although we have little idea on how long the current situation will last, we know it is not going to be forever and when we return to some form of normality it is going to be difficult to get up to speed again quickly. My advice here is to be ready; don’t wait until we all return to the office to start planning your next campaign, do it now, get it ready now and then you will be able to hit the ground running.

The final point is to keep talking. I have found over the past couple of weeks that I have had less meetings and more conversations and the reality is, conversations can be a lot more productive than meetings. I hope this somehow helps you as you sit there at home contemplating the best way to keep marketing – keep safe and focus on coming out of this stronger.

Gary Coville
Managing Director of Cremarc