I’m no economist, but it seems to me the way we get ours moving again is buying and selling. Simplistic@f0 Yes. But fundamentally true.
Unless you’re a liquor-store owner, your revenue has probably dropped. If your revenue hasn’t dipped, count your blessings.
But make no mistake, if you’re associated with digital marketing in any way, you are key to getting us back on track.
I believe we are on the precipice of a digital evolution like we’ve never seen before.
People who used to spend hours commuting into densely populated areas are finding out, along with their bosses, just how well they can do their jobs using this thing called the Internet. After this is over—whatever “over” looks like—many of them will not resume their old commuter lives.
The landscape has changed, but it’s not just working from home that’s going to change.
As the digital workforce increases, so will digital life overall, including ecommerce. People who previous to Covid19 would run out to Kohl’s are distance buying out of necessity or are now delaying gratification, transferring their buying habits online, or not purchasing as much.
How do we prepare for the next digital evolution? By doing what we do best: selling. Yet, the selling proposition is not just about doing what we’ve always done with sale after sale after sale. The sale is more complex now as are the various segments of buyers. Marketers need to not only sell, but consider who they’re selling to in a data-driven approach.
The one thing we don’t do as marketers is go dark. Because if we go dark, or some variation thereof, it will be much harder to climb the hill toward pre-Covid19 commerce levels than it will be if we keep slugging.
Brand equity of any company is lost when you vanish; perception is not sustained when we vanish. Companies need to stay connected to their customers through life’s challenges while at the same time being sensitive to the impact on customers those challenges may bring.
Be prepared to pivot. Not in just the moment, but going forward; and not just for emergencies, but for opportunities.
When the 73rd running of the Newport Beach to Ensenada (N2E) was postponed in April for a year, the Newport Ocean Sailing Association (NOSA) found itself sitting on all kinds of dated race apparel for the 2020 event.
What do you do with an inventory of limited-edition caps reserved for boat captains entered in the race? Or special caps purchased for a boat’s crew? Or any of the many clothing items sold at the start and end of a race when there’s no race?
NOSA pivoted and opened sales of this collectable merchandise to the public.
NOSA knows its market and its audience. Some skippers that couldn’t race may want a cap for their collection or to replace one from a previous year. Some skippers that will never make this race will have their first and perhaps only chance at possessing this coveted head covering. And others that have always admired N2E gear, but didn’t want to go to Ensenada, Mexico on a weekend in April to get it.
It’s unlikely NOSA will continue to sell the coveted red cap online, but this pivot saved cash from the trash. Whether or not NOSA continues to sell other current-year merchandise to the public is yet to be seen. And if they play their cards right, they will walk away with an increased list of subscribers interested in branded merchandise that they never had before.
It’s pivots like this that point to the quintessential trait that marketers need to have right now; they need to be sensitive to the conditions around them. Watching the conditions of their target market, listening to their customers and observing their behavior. That can point you in the right direction.
Some folks are going to have to be more sensitive moving forward others maybe not so much. Pretend like nothing is going on and you’re deaf. Stopping advertising and you’re mute. Overly cautious? You’re scared.
It’s all a balance. What you’re doing is not caving in any direction, but meeting the needs of your customers. Isn’t that our job?
As Johanna Bonhill-Smith, Travel and Tourism Analyst at GlobalData was quoted in HospitalityNet: “There is inherent risk in travel marketers showcasing destinations at this time as it could be deemed insensitive. As no one knows how long this global pandemic will last, operators should err on the side of caution in their marketing communications and simply identify and engage with their individual consumer base to help them to understand how their needs will change post-pandemic.”
Notice she does not recommend disengaging or even dialing back on marketing, just engaging more sensitively.
Many of us, however, do not have to pivot our product lines or engage in any special sensitivity. Our customers simply still need or want what we’re selling, even if maybe not as much of it as before.
But our job is still selling. There is nothing crass or wrong about sales and marketing quality products and services, even in dark times. Selling feeds people. Be proud of what you do and keep doing it, just be sensitive to what’s going on in the world around us and how it affects your customers.
Don’t stop prospecting. Don’t stop selling. The key to putting people back to work, helping breadwinners put food on the table and getting our economy moving again is us. The marketer.