by Glenn Matchett, contributor at Digital Doughnut
In light of the Covid19 pandemic, how can companies potentially leverage marketing, advertising and sales technology to increase efficiency and get the most out of limited marketing spend.
In times of crisis, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s best for your business when it comes to marketing and communications.
Some companies turn the tap off altogether, taking the view that marketing is a cost rather than an investment. When times get tough it is often the first line in a budget that gets attacked by the red pen. However, savvy businesses often know better and, instead, take a breath to look at the opportunities as opposed to the obstacles.
As a UK-based marketing and PR agency, Grammatik Agency has a wide range of global clients, primarily in the creative tech space – We work with major international businesses like Amazon Web Services through to creative animation companies like Flipbook Studio and data management firms like Hyve Managed Services.
Overall budgets and the size of an operation can vary greatly, with often limited funds needing to stretch as far as possible. However, size isn’t everything and all our clients rightly expect value for money and effective implementation when it comes to our delivery of marketing services. MarTech tools always play a key role in how we go about that.
Of course, every vertical and sector is nuanced and has specific dynamics. Some will be better placed than others to ride out the pandemic. The airline industry, for example, has been decimated by an almost universal shutdown of travel. Meanwhile, remote working tools are having a veritable gold rush with businesses clambering to effectively deploy all manner of systems (from Zoom video conferencing to collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams) in order to maintain effective operations.
The world has changed dramatically and it’s fair to say almost every company will have been affected in some shape or form by what has unfolded across the globe. So, as businesses tread water looking for answers in terms of what to do next, how can they engage with trends and tools to help get safely to shore – or at least into less troubled waters?
Trends and tools to help during this difficult time
I think the first and most obvious thing to say is don’t run off and start planning activity that is at odds with overall business goals. Take some time to closely look at how activity will be affected by what is going on and keep a focus on what the original objectives were. It’s vital not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. By all means be ready to pivot strategy, reassess tactics but never lose sight of the end goals! Remember that martech tools are only the means to an end. They help get to a destination but to get there you still need to know where you are going.
Webinars as a substitute to live events
For example, if a business relied heavily on live events prior to Covid, how can those consumers still be reached as they won’t be going to an event anytime soon? Well, webinars are a fantastic way to engage with an audience and bring brands to life. Providers like Citrix and of course, Zoom provide a ready made platform to communicate with an audience in a fruitful and engaging way. Consumer behaviour has changed dramatically as a result of the pandemic. All of us are spending more time at home, and invariably online. This means there has never been a more important time for businesses to make sure that their martech tools are totally on point when it comes to helping them deliver their online presence.
Strengthen your SEO
Brush up on site SEO with tools like Semrush and Moz to make sure it is ranking as well possible in search engines. See what sort of content can improve visibility and curate and create it accordingly.
Social media tricks
Likewise social media is such an important channel right now. Marketers should make sure their tools are on point when it comes to delivering smart content to customers. Hootsuite allows users to create and coordinate a harmonious symphony of content across multiple social channels. It also enables users to track and assess performance, adapting and refining as required.
Don’t just post on social media, though. Listen, engage and respond. It’s never been a one way street and businesses should have ears and be prepared to act on what comes back the other way. Customer feedback via channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can help inform and direct activity as a business. It is direct feedback from whom you should be most worried about. Your customers.
Data, data, data
Be cognizant of change. Analyse web activity with a tool like Google Analytics and assess if there are any unusual differences with how customers or visitors interact. If overall reach has dropped or click through rates have changed then experiment with new content to see if it is possible to re-engage.
Market intelligence is also vital. Being customer-centric and understanding what makes them tick is also a key element in riding out troubled times. How is the audience feeling? A Survey Monkey questionnaire can be an inexpensive and invaluable dipstick to see if anything has changed in terms of attitude or propensity to engage. A survey by Spotify – for example – has already shown that their users are defaulting to easier listening playlists, meditation and wellness podcasts. By gaining information on your customer through the martech tools available you can learn and adapt accordingly.
Social listening should be a key part of activity. Track keywords and online chatter using tools like Sproutsocial or Brandwatch. If attitudes, opinions and behaviours are changing about your brand or the market, the tools are there to find out the details and adapt accordingly.
Finally it is worth reiterating that martech tools will only ever be the means to an end. To quote American Author Clifford Stoll “Data is not information, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not understanding, understanding is not wisdom.” Data driven out by tools needs to be married to a communications and creative strategy that will engage a target audience.
It’s already interesting that in every TV advertising break during the pandemic, brands have already jumped on the idea of the Zoom call execution, with everyone from Barclays to the Co-op delivering exactly the same sort of “Zoom call” spot. The net result of that will, no doubt, be consumer indifference. “What’s this ad for, again?’ Have I not just seen this advert” It will get old and become wallpaper very quickly. Think creatively and don’t look to be part of the same crowd or it will be a struggle to stand out.
Martech tools are only part of any solution but they are, no doubt, an invaluable part of the marketing arsenal when a business is trying to battle out of this current global crisis.