The first half of 2020 has been quite the ride! Our daily habits and lives were disrupted. We experienced uncertainty, fear and (lots of) change. Despite these challenges, we learned how to be more resilient, agile and patient. What we thought were our weaknesses (i.e., overcoming fear and doubt), are now some of our greatest strengths.
Although we are not yet in the clear from COVID-19-related challenges, we are presently at a turning point. Businesses are beginning to reopen their doors to customers, workers are slowly returning to their place of business and the economy is in the early stages of recovery.
As marketers, we are (yet again) facing more change. As shelter in place orders begin to lift, how are our customers’ behaviors going to change? Will they revert to their old ways and what newly formed habits will “stick”? How can we realign our key messaging and overall marketing strategies to truly resonate with our customers?
Today, I encourage you to set yourself and your organization up for greater success during the second half of 2020 (and beyond). Just like your mid-year review with your manager, I encourage you also to conduct a mid-year review of your organization’s marketing plan. The following is designed to help encourage you and your marketing team to take the month of June to identify customer needs, reevaluate staff expectations, set new goals, plan and organize.
Identify customer needs.
How has customer behavior changed during the past several months? Are you currently meeting those needs? Are you looking ahead to determine how these needs may (or may not) change? Now more than ever, all marketing strategies must meet the ever-changing needs of consumers. This requires responsive, authentic and meaningful marketing and communications.
Action: Identify current and future needs of your customers, both in terms of your products and services that are relevant to them, in addition to the various ways they need to be communicated to. For example, with social distancing still prevalent throughout the country, people are continuing to spend a lot of their time online. As a result, you should adopt (or continue) a digital-first approach. Reevaluate how you are communicating with your customers and readjust, as necessary.
With a reduction in staffing across the nation, many have been required to take on more, with less, yet provide the same results. Therefore, it’s essential to take the time to reevaluate current team member expectations, so your team works smarter, not harder.
Action: Review your marketing department expectations. Are they aligned with your customers’ needs? It not, let those go and replace with specific items that will be a better use of your team members’ time. For example, if your department is expected to maintain and grow your social media channels, ensure that you are on the right platforms. Don’t post only for the sake of posting. Identify where your customers are spending time and excel at communicating with them on those platforms. Even if it’s only Facebook. Quality over quantity.
Develop goals, plan and organize.
Once you’ve determined your customers’ needs, identified how your marketing dollars can be best spent to reach your customers and fulfil their needs, and set realistic and relevant expectations for your team, adjust your goals, organize and plan for the year ahead…and continue to have the patience to pivot, when things don’t go as planned.
Action: Develop a six-month communications plan to get you through the end of the year. Include marketing tactics that will reach your target audience and develop authentic and meaningful key messages that will resonate with your customers, fulfill their ongoing needs, and in turn, help your bottom line. If you previously developed a marketing plan at the beginning of the year, now is a great time to brush off the dust and update accordingly.
Use what you learn over the course of the next six months to help develop your ongoing marketing plan into 2021. If you need help developing an integrated communications plan, connect with us. We help community banks and credit unions, physician and healthcare specialty groups and community hospitals, and educational institutions achieve results through search engine and content marketing, social media, branding and advertising.