The only thing certain right now is uncertainty.
As a marketer, you have probably heard this message in countless webinars, read it in hundreds of industry email blasts and discussed it during several organization-wide conference (or Zoom!) calls. Yet despite this uncertainty, to remain strong, brands still must maintain a consistent presence in market and reach constituencies and prospects on a personal level.
So, what is the best path forward? Yearlong marketing plans and roadmaps that were approved pre-COVID-19 are now obsolete. Agility is the order of the day. Short-term planning will set up your organization to quickly shift your marketing mix and pivot your messaging strategy for when uncertainty strikes again. (And you can be certain it will.)
When executing a short-term marketing strategy, here are a few best practices to consider:
- Implement ongoing research and social listening: It is no secret consumers are engaging in new habits, behaviors, and routines amid the pandemic. It is vital to understand these changes, the underlying factors influencing them and the impact on your marketing efforts. (As one research firm boldly said, “using data that’s more than 90 days old is ‘marketing malpractice.’”) Defining a continuous research strategy and implementing social listening will provide the opportunity for regular evaluation of fresh data so you can uncover what is most important to your constituencies and react quickly.
- Personalize your communication strategy: Consumers are facing unique challenges and they need personalized communication to help navigate them. Consider one-to-one outreach with your customers and prospects and at a scalable level, use marketing automation to define an email strategy that delivers relevant messaging at the right time in the consumer journey.
- Be decisive: With consumer behavior changing so rapidly, shifts in strategy and messaging need to happen quickly. Especially when it comes to digital opportunities, you need to be ready to move in real time—cut tactics or messaging as soon as you see underperformance and shift to those tactics or messaging driving more immediate results.
- Focus on attributable media: While ROI has always been important, in the current economy, it is vital to show how performance is working toward business goals. Focus on channels where you can see and measure impact immediately. When more traditional tactics come into play, be selective to maximize influence. Employ tools like call tracking to deliver the data you need.
There’s no question the pandemic and the social justice movement that immediately followed forced marketers to react quickly, pivot their efforts, and get messages to their constituents faster than ever before. While that uncertainty is here to stay (at least for now), well-defined, short-term strategic planning will yield greater insight into the evolving behaviors and challenges consumers are facing and poise your organization for greater success when the next speed bump occurs.
Not sure how your targets’ behaviors and attitudes have changed? Find out with AW Actionable Insights, our customized research, discovery, and strategic action plan. Learn more.