COVID-19: Adjusting your marketing activities to the challenging market situation

To help you face COVID-19, here is a checklist that can help structure your approach.

In most companies, marketing is a key business enabler and a prerequisite for a big part of your revenue. Cutting marketing completely in challenging times is therefore something you may regret later, as fuelling the business with demand grows more important than ever and changed market circumstances may also bring about new opportunities.

Still, marketing represents big costs so a deep dive in activities, spend and key metrics is certainly called for. As Heads of Marketing, the time for adaptability and updating your tactics and plans to help safeguard your business is now.

Seize the opportunity to get in control!

Looking at this list, one could argue that most of it is relevant at any point of time and that it is always about being on top of optimised planning and execution, supporting the business as well as possible. Still, no one can be totally optimised all the time. We are human beings – seize the opportunity to get in control! 

These are just our quick tips; we would love to hear from you on this as well! Those who are able to keep calm in these times will also be the ones who come up with the best ideas – please bring them forward.

 

Keep calm. Beware your role as a leader and remember to take good care of your team. An unproductive and unfocused team is the last thing you need right now. Eventually, we are all in the “people business” and our people are our most precious asset.  

Marketing spend and planned costs. Start by pulling the breaks and get on top of your current spend and planned costs. Is everything still relevant and crucial? Which things should be cut right away and which things should be postponed?  

Internal events. Postpone all internal events, move them to an online format or cancel them before more costs occur. 

External events. Look at contracts on committed events and try to get out of the contracts. Don’t commit to new events.  

Reallocate time. Time saved could be spent on something else, either alternative branding / demand generation such as webinars or inventory activities that will help to boost your marketing when the situation changes.  

Ad spend. Consider stopping some of your ads and decrease daily ad spend for SEM, Display and similar for the short run. Optimize as good as you can for the most relevant keywords.  

SEO. Full speed ahead and consider to even devote more internal bandwidth on this if possible. You do not want to fall behind here and it does not cost you anything but time if you have the basic SEO skills and tools inhouse.   

Messaging. Revise all content and make sure it resonates under the current circumstances. The worst-case scenario would be that your brand will be harmed but you could also find that there lays optimization potential in some areas under the given circumstances. Make sure to not overstep the line in your eagerness to be relevant and take advantage of the situation 

 

Agencies and freelancers. Consider putting on hold or downscaling all external parties that you think are not crucial to boost revenue. Make sure it is clear what you are paying for, and what the value of those deliverables are. Maybe you can do more inhouse than you thought?  

Tools. This is a good time to review your marketing techstack. Is every tool in the box serving its purpose? Is there too much overlap? When do contracts renew? Are there cheaper alternatives available? Could you renegotiate pricing with your vendors    

Campaigns and offersConsider cutting or at least postponing campaigns or adjusting the creatives. Maybe you can offer something for free with the goal of getting in new doors and then plan for a sell around the next corner.  

SoMe. After a short-term stop during the initial phase with chock and misfocus you should consider to keep up organic postings and take an extra round to quality assure sponsored content.  

Email Marketing. The same thing goes for Email Marketing. Consider timing and content, but otherwise business as usual after the situation has stabilized.  

Marketing planning. When you are on top of the most pressing issues, spend time planning for more normal times! Have look at your marketing strategy and tactical plan. Maybe this is also the time to do some thinking around roles, processes and set-up in your team?  

Analytics. You don’t have to be a data scientist to get access to data and work with it. Take the opportunity to do some work you normally do not get to. Maybe there is gold yet to be discovered just a few clicks away?

Alignment. Be sure to align and get buy-in for your changes with the rest of the management team.    

Attribution. The most important part when analysing the effectiveness of your marketing activities is attribution modelling. To begin with, we strongly recommend that you are running a data-driven attribution analysis comparing the period before COVID-19 with the period after. Read more about this and other related tips in this blog post from Precis Digital.