Lockdown (and the difficult business of coming out of lockdown) is anything but normal. We’re all dealing with a huge upheaval to the way we live and work and if we want our businesses to survive the ongoing challenges ahead we have to adapt, and fast.
To get it right we are all going to have to look inwards at our business values and processes as well as working out how we get the best out of our offer to potential and existing customers.
1. Revisit your values
At times of uncertainty, reflect on the mission, vision and values of your business. These should act as guiding principles for your decision-making and the way your teams work together. If you are not operating in accordance with your values, the connection with your customers will not be authentic and potentially not as valuable.
As Marketing Week reminds us, companies will be called out in the media when they fail to live their values and consumers will remember those who acted with integrity and those who did not.
At Genesis, we have been taking stock of what our values – Impact, Influence and Inspire – mean for the way we work now. We care about our community and support a pro bono (free) client every year.
Last month we offered to work with a local hospice whose income had nose-dived as supporters were unable to take part in their usual fundraising activities while in lockdown. They told us they needed to run an appeal and we knew we wanted to help them for free. Our digital fundraising campaign has helped to bring in almost £100,000 in the past month.
Working together on this project has been inspiring for our team, it has had a real impact for our client, St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich, and it has really motivated us to lead our clients through their own journeys to adapt to the challenges posed by lockdown and beyond.
If your current business model can’t generate income during lockdown, consider a pivot to a new approach which will.
We have all seen local pubs become take-aways, teachers become online-trainers and numerous companies reconfigure their production processes to make hand sanitiser and personal protection equipment.
It can be scary to make a big decision which changes your business, but don’t panic because evolving doesn’t mean launching a perfect solution on day one. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get something up and running to meet a customer need.
Customers appear to be pretty forgiving of the situation – Zendesk’s customer global satisfaction scores have been stable across almost all industries since March. If you can go with a minimum viable product and work on improvements over time, that’s fine.
3. Continue marketing
It might seem counterintuitive, but there is evidence to suggest it is not a good idea to cut your marketing spend in an economic slump (see Peter Field, 2020 also McGraw-Hill, 1986 and Nairman K Dallah, 1992). Being visible when your competitors are not can deliver a long-term improvement on your market share when the economy builds back up.
Peter Field recently revisited his research for the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) after the 2008 financial crash in an excellent article on LinkedIn. He found that brands which invested in Excess Share of Voice during a downturn – the difference between a brand’s share of voice and share of market – saw increased market share and profitability in recovery and for many years after.
Given market conditions, for some brands this just meant keeping their spending level, not increasing it but not decreasing it. The penalties for under investment in brand marketing were worse during the recession than in normal market conditions.
Consumers might not be venturing out much, but they still want products and services. It’s a good time to refocus your online activities and keep on top of your analytics to understand what user behaviour is telling you.
Many businesses find search ads (Pay Per Click) are hard to beat for their instant ability to put you in front of customers at their point of need and, done well, their ability to generate quality traffic to your website quickly.
Search ads are:
- easy to budget for
- quick to set up
- offer highly specific location-targeting and,
- provide great return on investment (ROI)
- easy to change
The best way to get the right Search traffic in volume to your website is the combined effort of paid Search ads and Search Engine Optimisation for organic traffic. Organic search generates 53% of trackable web traffic with the first page counting for 71% organic clicks.
Working on your SEO now will prime your business for economic recovery. It takes time to build up an effective SEO campaign and doing it now will put you on the front foot.
At Genesis, we’ve found web traffic has been robust for many of our clients as uncertain consumers are looking for answers, researching products and spending time on social media. The latest multi-market data from GlobalWebIndex also points to 40% of consumers declaring they will continue to buy online more once the Covid-19 outbreak diminishes. Now is the time to move digital optimisation to the top of your to-do list.
Talk to us
We’re working with national and regional businesses and organisations to keep them at the forefront of their industries during the pandemic. If you feel inspired to get your ideas up and running, contact us for a free consultation on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01473 326400.
Valentine, Matthew ‘Are brands living up to their purpose during the coronavirus crisis?’ Marketing Week, 2020.
McGraw-Hill Research. Laboratory of Advertising Performance Report 5262 New York: McGraw-Hill, 1986.
Dhalla, Nairman K. ‘Advertising as an anti–recession tool’ Harvard Business Review, Jan.-Feb. 1980
Field, Peter. Advertising in a Downturn, 2008. IPA
Field, Peter. Advertising in a Recession – Long, Short or Dark, 2020. LinkedIn