What is your business plan when the future is suddenly so uncertain? Whether it’s down to natural disasters, rapid shifts in customer demographics, political events or even the unprecedented global coronavirus pandemic, building a resilient business has always been the way to overcome change and prosper.
Most customer’s horizons have contracted sharply due to predicted economic downturns and the pressing situation, so whether your business operates in the B2B or the B2C space, you are likely to experience some kind of an effect.
This isn’t necessarily negative – some sectors are booming at the moment – but the issue remains that continuing as if it’s business as usual with your marketing messages will generally go down badly. So it’s time to adapt your marketing plan to respond to uncertain times – but how do you go about changing your messages and activities in the face of a crisis?
Embrace the Uncertainty
If there’s one thing that businesses don’t normally like, it’s uncertainty. But continuing with scheduled marketing activities can easily come across as tone-deaf or insensitive when customers are struggling to deal with seismic changes. Accepting that you may not be able to make a long-term marketing strategy right now can be difficult, but trying not to look too far ahead is key to making your communications responsive to a rapidly changing situation. Be strategic about what you do – simply pausing all activities is not going to help your business out, but equally if you had a lot of events sponsorship planned, clearly you are going to need to channel that budget elsewhere.
Focus On Brand Building
Messages which are too bottom-of-the-funnel and very sales focused can seem wrong at the moment, so it’s better to pivot towards more top-level, brand building messages instead. This can build trust and reassurance with your customer base, keep you front of mind, and ensure that when sales do pick up, you’re ready to present your solution. You may not see as many initial conversions from this type of activity, but it’s likely to be a much better strategy to get you through any uncertainty.
Use Your Time and Budget Wisely
If you are having to take a step back, it’s the perfect opportunity to tackle some marketing activities that you may not have had time for before – things like digging into some keyword research and realigning your Adwords campaigns, creating evergreen content for pillar pages that can draw people to your business, or even looking at website design ideas with fresh eyes, improving the usability of your site and making sure that it meets the latest web accessibility standards, or improving the copy, navigation and photography.
All of this activity will put your marketing content in the best possible position to catch sales prospects currently and also as things gradually improve. Don’t forget – your market is unlikely to have disappeared overnight, so make sure that you’re in a position to take advantage as demand gradually starts to return.
In uncertain times, you don’t have to completely ditch all marketing activity, but it is a chance to take stock, adapt what you do and prepare for some kind of normality to resume.