Industries globally have adjusted operations to address COVID-19. While our first thoughts focus on a loss in consumer demand, abundance of inventory that can’t be turned over, and decreases in sales, change whether for better or worse, is affecting all businesses. Industries linked to essential services are seeing an increase in demand on a global scale and are faced with the unanticipated need to accelerate production. Undoubtedly, the pressures to adjust business operations has been abrupt and unanticipated across the globe.
How should you pivot your business strategies in the short, medium and long term to address the impact of COVID-19?
Short Term – Start with a Crisis Marketing Plan
A global crisis of this scale warrants crisis management planning. Start with a crisis marketing plan. Don’t make decisions motivated by panic but instead realize the need to adapt quickly. A crisis marketing plan will identify the immediate impact on your business and what is needed to carry it through during the most uncertain period of the pandemic.
There are likely some marketing initiatives that can be reduced or eliminated at this point. But avoid being short-sighted – evaluate how your digital marketing efforts typically perform prior to COVID-19 and set tracking and benchmarks. Create viable COVID-19 business strategies.
In tandem, don’t allow the uncertainty to halt communication and touchpoints with customers even if your operations have stopped completely. Engaging with your customers and a content marketing strategy will likely be the focus and driving vehicle to see your business through this period of time.
Medium Term – Be Adaptable & Shift Your Business
I believe wholeheartedly in looking to a minimum viable product before rolling out a final product. During this time we have to break our process and deliver something new and faster. There are many examples of companies that have used their existing resources and capabilities to pivot entirely into producing different goods or bringing offline offerings online.
We are all frantically searching for how to shift our businesses. Compounding this, is that as consumers, our needs and necessities have changed as well. Take us for example. We are a full spectrum digital agency. We’ve always touted our ability to do everything from a to z, so to speak, while offering the flexibility of engaging with us for specific expertise as well.
We have a strategy-first approach to our digital/web products and services. What sets us apart has been consultations and the ability to execute the plans we provide.
In the last few weeks, we’ve been approached by companies that have made the difficult decision to temporarily layoff marketing departments and terminate agency relationships that weren’t willing to negotiate less work. The reality is there are still marketing automations in place, paid ads running and abandoned content or SEO strategies. Luckily we have expertise in online marketing channels as well as in-house creative and development teams. We adapted. We have short term execution and maintenance-focused monthly services, which at one point wasn’t part of the mix. But this is what some organizations need right now. While this hasn’t replaced our traditional service model as many industries are actually in a position to dedicate the time necessary to re-brand or invest in digital marketing, we still use sound measures to evaluate what was necessary. Leveraging our COVID-19 business strategies, we were able to pivot accordingly.
You’ll need to consider the following.
- Scope of work
- Opportunity cost
- Potential risk
- Benchmarks & KPIs
Long Term – Launch a Plan-Ahead Team
Once you’ve assessed the impact, created your crisis marketing plan and identified if and how you should adapt your business by pivoting how you deliver goods and perform services, identify a plan-ahead team as this McKinsey & Company report describes.
Your future plans have to be flexible. We aren’t planning for when things return to normal, we’re planning for the new normal.
Your resources focusing on the plan-ahead need to be aware of changes in consumer behaviour in reaction to how the global pandemic continues to unfold. Anticipate what these may be and adjust your marketing communication strategy accordingly.
Connect with us and let us know how your business is navigating through COVID-19.