As the chat room moderator for our Lunch Bites series, I had a front-row seat for the last five weeks as we dove into dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, its effects on marketing organizations, and how we can all plan for the future. These lessons have been not only about dealing with COVID-19 but any crisis that an organization may be facing, now or in the future. Here are a few of my key takeaways from the marketing webinars.
Research, Research, Research
Since most of us are confined to our homes in some capacity and may have extra availability, now is a great time to gather data from your clients. Reach out with surveys, social media interactions and emails to find out what your clients like or dislike about your services. Take the time to find out what your customers are feeling, what they need and how you can help them right now. You should also take the time to determine who your ideal client is and how your services fit in with their lifestyle both now and in the future. This will help you meet their needs now and prepare for when we return to a more normal time.
Take the time to do research on your industry, follow new developments and dive into analytics about your organization. Determine what is/was performing well and what isn’t/wasn’t. For things that are going well, keep pushing those service/products while you decide what can be improved and what may need to be cut entirely. Now could be the time to finally get the naysayers on board to cut out negatively performing services.
Gathering as much information as possible will help if budget or staffing cuts have already impacted you or may in the future during this current recession. If you have less to spend, then you want to invest it where it has the most impact. Data may help others understand the importance of keeping certain programs and services when reducing budgets.
Now is the time to think outside the box. Consult your team with regular roundtable meetings to come up with new ideas to reach your clients. Your employees are in the trenches every day. They’ll have great insight to share how your organization can help your clients meet their needs.
Think beyond your marketing department to not only to gather insight into your customer’s feelings and needs but how can they be utilized to share your message. For example, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum has their head of security posting regularly on social media since security personnel are the only ones allowed in the building. Engagement on those channels has grown exponentially with his authentic posts.
Consider the risk of going dark during times of crisis. If there is a void in the market, someone will fill it. Even if you think you can just ride it out, your competitors may use this opportunity to strengthen or grow their portion of the market.
Make sure you are communicating with your clients and finding ways to show them the love. This is a turbulent time and they have just as much anxiety as you do. Find ways to reach out to them and find out how they are doing and what they need. Be patient as they adapt to new technologies and be ready to answer their questions. If you don’t know the answer, make sure to find out for them. Also, show them how much you appreciate them. It could be something as simple as a personal note added to an email or responding to their social media comments.
Take care of your own team during this time. As many of us are working remotely, it is easy to feel isolated. Check in with your team on a regular basis. Adding a few minutes at the beginning or end of meetings is a great way to spend catching up. They have as much anxiety as anyone. Keeping them updated on any changes within the company, plans for the future and communicating about any issues they may be experiencing will increase their engagement in your organization. They are your best asset right now and often the face of your organization.
We are all facing new challenges every day, but the good news is that this won’t last forever. Everyone is looking forward to the day when we can go to the movies or visit with friends again. Spend time now working on what the future will look like for your organization. Dust off those communications plans that were developed back in January and start looking at ways to utilize them in the coming months as life returns to normal. If you need help during this time, Chartwell is always available.