Marketing during the Pandemic: 5 Key Priorities

Learning to adapt to disruptive, unexpected changes, has been the defining challenge of 2020 for small businesses and enterprises alike. While the world has certainly not stopped moving, it has changed quite suddenly and somewhat slowed down from its usual pace.

While the COVID-19 pandemic is a unique and unprecedented situation in human history, drastic and unforeseen changes are not. Adapting to change and surviving in the face of adversity is what we human beings do best. With a plan in mind and the will to push forward, you can keep your business running, and even manage to grow during disruptive times like these. Here are 5 key marketing priorities you need to keep straight during the pandemic:

1) Keep Marketing

When it became obvious that lockdowns and social distancing would be the new normal for 2020, many companies had the immediate reaction to pull back on marketing efforts and budgets to focus on other business areas. While this may make sense to some businesses, it's important to note that marketing is what keeps customers both interested in your brand and aware that you are able to keep your head above water during trying times. In a landscape where other businesses may be defunding marketing efforts, your business may very well have more time and more space to expose your brand to a broader audience. Don't stop marketing during the pandemic; rather, find new ways to adapt your marketing to the current environment and stay relevant in your audiences' minds.

2) Study the niche

Data is a more important business resource than ever before, giving you deep and useful insights into your target audience. Use your data to perform niche market analysis and learn more about buyer behavior, trends, and preferences, so you can take advantage of marketing tactics such as demand generation and social media marketing to reach out to them. Knowing were to reach them, and what message may appeal to them will make it easier for you to draw out an effective and pandemic-ready marketing strategy.

3) Deliver experience

It seems like ages ago that we were insisting on how the experience economy was taking over. This year has been a shakeup, but it doesn't mean that we've stopped living the experience economy. If anything, the fact that we are all spending more time at home, online and on our devices, and having less face-to-face experiences, means that we are more open to the digital experience. What experiences should you be delivering during the pandemic? Saftey, empathy, awareness, and social responsibility are all experiences you should deliver to your audiences to make them feel understood and supported.

4) Use direct marketing

Use niche market analysis to find the audiences you should be targeting and use direct marketing tactics to deliver the experiences they are looking for. PPC, social media advertising and email marketing are all direct marketing tactics that can be effective if correctly targeted. As mentioned above, people are spending more time at home, online, on their devices, meaning they are in a position to be marketed to directly.

5) Track, analyze, and adjust

Data never lies, and data can show you the future. Track everything you do and keep dashboards on important indicators of how your marketing efforts are performing. This will show what you are doing right and what you may need to adjust. For example, when running a PPC campaign, we constantly adjust our budgets for keywords depending on performance; its a game of learning and adaptation. With enough historical data, you'll be able to make projections and study possible future trends, giving you the ability to stay five steps ahead. Track your efforts, track audience behavior, and track your competition; the truth lies in the middle of all those things.

There's no easy answer to what we're going through; we're all having to adapt in real-time against an unprecedented and rapidly-escalating situation. The most important thing we need to do is stay patient and focus on the long-term. Marketing is, in essence, a long-term process, so anything you do right now to adjust to the times should also be viewed within long-term goals and expectations. There are certainly many business opportunities arising despite (and in some instances, because) of the pandemic. Still, it's also important to keep in mind that this will eventually be over, and another period of readaptation will come. Think about an exit strategy for the post-pandemic era where there will likely be an aggressive economic boom; be ready to ride that wave too.

Need help with a pandemic marketing strategy? We're helping all our clients adapt to these unprecedented times. Let's talk!

7 Critical Actions to Consider for Successful Rebranding

Rebranding should not come as a light exercise or an easy decision. It goes beyond altering your corporate look and feel or updating your logo. Your brand isn't just your image; your brand tells your audience what you stand for and deeply influences their feelings about your organization.

There's a lot of psychology involved in our choices as consumers. You may not premeditate too much on what brand of soft drink to pick from the store cooler, but your choice is influenced by a long series of cerebral synapses that lead you to pick a Coke over a Pepsi. You may rarely think about it, but what would make you choose Pepsi instead? And, does Pepsi really even want you to be their customer?

From planning to execution, rebranding should have a defined purpose, a sound strategy for execution and adoption, and marketing readiness. Organizations often rebrand for the wrong reasons, making large investments that can even ultimately lead to their downfall. Here are 7 critical actions your business should take in its rebranding exercise:

1. Start with research

Research your brand, audience, market, employees, partners, and competitors before even taking a rebrand into consideration. Understanding your position, goals, and the needs of every stakeholder that will be affected are of utmost importance in reaching a decision. Make proper assessments, use analytics, and study market data to know where you stand.

2. Justifying a rebrand

Rebrand for the right reason only. Too many businesses decide to rebrand with misguided expectations and set themselves up for a letdown. We've talked about this before; rebranding isn't a cure-all solution, it's part of a larger plan. A rebrand can help you improve or consolidate messaging, differentiate your brand from the competition, and support your marketing and sales teams in their efforts to create brand awareness, among other specific goals. Make sure your rebrand goals are aligned with what is possible and avoid creating false expectations from the exercise.

3. Creating brand awareness

Consider the investment that will be made during a rebrand. It goes beyond designing assets; you'll have to start changing all your promotional material including pens, mugs, shirts, etc., as well as updating your new branding across all your digital channels such as email signatures and social media accounts. Creating brand awareness should not only be an outbound project; the rebrand needs to permeate an organization's people and corporate culture. The idea is to ensure that the effort for brand awareness is an organization-wide effort and that every member of the organization feels motivated by the brand and works to get the message across.

4. Cater to the customer

Rebranding can bring in new audiences for sure, but the last thing you want to do is alienate your existing clientele. When rebranding, consider who your customers are, what their preferences are, and why they chose your company in the first place; don't stray too far from what brought you success. If your organization is in the healthcare industry, you wouldn't want to rebrand to look like you sell fine spirits, for example. Unless you're trying to completely turn around a failed branding experiment or make customers forget about their past experience with your brand, your rebranding efforts should stay within certain limits.

5. Build trust

In our current age of misinformation, spam, and online scamming, its difficult to trust a brand you don't know. Building trust is crucial in earning both brand recognition and new customers. If you have big-name partners such as Microsoft or SAP, you'll want to ensure you flaunt that on your website and other channels. If you have social or community work, charities, or support an NGO, make sure your audience sees this and use it to create a narrative around the positive work your organization is doing beyond capital gains. These are trust-building elements that make your audience feel more comfortable working with your organization.

6. Avoid confusion

Rebranding brings with it changes that can confuse customers and partners if you're organization isn't well-prepared to launch. Marketing strategy, along with marketing collateral, press releases, newsletters, and social media posts, should all be aligned to communicate a clear message that reaches as many people as possible from day one. Be prepared to announce what's going on before any change takes place.

7. Show progress

Rebranding shouldn't be about showing the world you've fixed your problems, nor should it be about hiding who you were as an organization. If anything, rebranding should be about showcasing growth, progress, and positive change. Your rebrand should be about broadening your appeal and audience and show the long way you've come from being a startup in a basement to a booming organization with hundreds of employees. Rebrand from a positive starting point, whenever possible, and show the motive to be about growth and evolution.

Are you considering rebranding? Talk to our experts about your brand and see where you stand and what you can do to improve.

Yes, Email Marketing is Still Relevant

With so much going on with social media and PPC campaigns, is marketing via email still an effective tool?

Email marketing is as old as email itself. This thought can often lead us to think that it's a dated, if not obsolete tactic. But just as TV and newspaper ads are still running today, this approach is still quite relevant and highly-effective if executed properly. Email is still widely used, especially in the workplace and in B2B scenarios, so there's a great potential for targeted marketing that your competitors may be ignoring.

Email Marketing has a high ROI

Even today, email marketing has one of the highest yields of ROI among digital tactics, in the range of $38-$44 returned per $1 invested. While there is much to unpack in those figures, they are still very high even in absolute terms. Small investments in email campaigns can make a single dollar go a long way, so they are an easy and cost-effective way to start taking advantage of digital marketing.

Email marketing can beat social media ads

Believe it or not, email campaigns can beat social media ads when it comes to grabbing audience attention. Humans have built up a tolerance to social media ads much like how we tend to ignore most of the physical advertising around us as we drive through a city. Checking your email is a more focused task than surfing through Facebook or Twitter, so your attention span is much more receptive to important information.

At CXGlobals, we work with many companies in the IT solutions industry. Our clients' customer profiles often include C-level execs and IT managers that usually explore their email inbox for work over leisure. This type of audience is way more open to opening an interesting looking email over clicking on social media ad, making this type of marketing an effective tool to communicate with them. Additionally, newsletter campaigns specifically target subscribers. This means that you will be sending information to people who have already been interested in your brand on a previous occasion, increasing your chances of earning a qualified lead.

Email Marketing lets you create an automated journey

One of the advantages of using newsletters and email marketing campaigns is that you can create an automated journey for your potential leads straight into your sales funnel. Sophisticated email design paired with interesting and informative content can easily get a potential lead to go to your website or a landing page within it. From there, a strong website can do the job it's supposed to do: sell your brand.

Email Marketing metrics can be easily tracked

Tracking metrics for email campaigns is both straightforward and very revealing of audience behavior. Nearly every email marketing tool measures open rate, bounce rate, CTR, clicks, and unsubscribes. These metrics can easily be studied and compared to show you what types of headlines are getting more attention, what topics are being most clicked on and how many users are following the automated journey into your website.

So, are you ready to try it out? Read more on our demand generation tactics here.