One of the things we love about the field of digital marketing is its dynamic nature. Marketing is all about change, and responding and adapting to change. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many digital ads are now opening with the same message: “We live in uncertain times.” Pivotal marketing means going beyond this to say: “Here’s how we can help you in post-uncertain times.”
Together, we have to address the uncertainty with the knowledge that many aspects of our lives are going to be different. From a marketing perspective, many of the macro changes being contemplated or implemented involve go-to-market strategies.
Many companies will be working backwards from their customer-facing interactions since those interactions are no longer healthy. Let’s look at a few examples where the sales and marketing process is changing out of short-term necessity, and long-term viability:
- Automobile purchasing: Auto dealers are investing in improving their web platforms to facilitate a greater portion of the purchase process. Car dealerships and salespeople as we know them may become a thing of the past with most of the process being handled online.
- B2B products and services: Is the pandemic the “Death of a Salesperson” as we know it today? Working from home and the adoption of online conferencing are facilitating a transition from in-person sales calls to remote sales activities. The fact that both the buyer and the seller are constrained by the same circumstances have increased the traction of these efforts. The lower cost of online interpersonal sales is something that is not going to be lost on management as we work our way out of the current crisis.
- Entertainment: One of the largest movie theater chains in the country will most likely go into bankruptcy because no one can go to the movies. Netflix is now one of the hottest stocks, and more studios are considering releasing movies directly to streaming services to address this shift in consumer behavior.
Sports teams are considering playing matches and games (such as baseball) in empty stadiums as a way to minimize exposure, with the secondary goal of honoring schedules and satisfying fans by televising the games.
- Real estate: The industry is studying how to move more of the purchase experience to virtual tours and showings to minimize interaction and exposure.
These are only a few examples of the changes in the sales process currently being considered as we adapt to our new normal.
As business owners facing the biggest crisis in our lifetime, we have to consider how to pivot our business practices to this new normal. In the marketing dynamic, pivotal changes are preferred over drastic changes — Let’s leverage and adapt what we have today so we can continue to be effective in addressing our customers’ needs.
Some areas to consider for pivotal change include:
- Increase digital marketing efforts by shifting budgets and resources to expand and improve your online presence.
- Review channels/distribution: Identify the challenges under the present system, or what opportunities are there for improvement, given our new situation.
- Review your messaging so you don’t start everything with “In these uncertain times…” People are looking for positivity, confidence, and hope.
- Evaluate the impact of “no-touch” interactions on your current product or service. What change(s) will make your products and services thrive under this scenario?
Timing is Everything
Your business will be impacted by the pandemic. Even if you’re not ready to make changes to your marketing or sales efforts, it would be prudent to have a “pivot meeting” to discuss various scenarios. (Advanced users of Microsoft Excel can appreciate the value and power of a built-in tool called the “pivot table” which enables a user to apply an alternate set of data to a spreadsheet to construct various alternate views or scenarios.) If your revenue stream is constrained or threatened, the first instinctive (or reactionary) move will be to restrict spending and perhaps adopt a “wait and see” strategy, but the reality is that this is a short-term solution, and you can’t save your way to profitability.
- Take care of your employees, especially those that are directly addressing your customers’ needs.
- Take care of your customers. Pay attention to what they need, and how they are changing their business practices.
- Take the time to have a pivot meeting to address the new realities of “uncertain times.” While it may feel strange and uncomfortable, now is the time for “out-of-virus” brainstorming and planning for a positive future.
If you need help pivoting your marketing efforts, contact us for a 30-minute consultation.