Pivoting Marketing Plans for Today’s New Reality

Let’s address the issue right away: this is not the spring season that marketers have been planning for. Events are cancelled, we’re all working from home, and no one is sure exactly how long this will be our new normal. We’re all going to make some changes.

Start at the beginning – you’re not going to accomplish anything successfully until you get visibility into your budget. Understand what’s committed, where you have wiggle room, and what costs can be recouped. 

Obviously your immediate focus is for the spring season, but be proactive and think about future quarters. Even if it’s business as usual sooner than we expect, there will be ramifications that trickle down through the coming year. Get ahead of future risk by considering what events or campaigns you have this year that are likely to be affected. 

Game plan some “what if” scenarios so that when plans need to change you’re ready to pivot. 

  • You were planning to present at a trade show this fall; what if there are still travel restrictions and bans on large gatherings? If you cancelled now versus in three months, is there a difference in sunk cost? 
  • Should I put my recouped funds into digital ads only, or are there other virtual options? 
  • Is there something else we could do with the presentation material such as a webinar, ebook, or guide? 

Just because Plan A is no longer feasible, doesn’t mean all is lost. With some forward-thinking, Plan B will also drive impact.

If you know which investments historically drive impact for your organization, start reallocating spend to support well performing areas. But don’t throw all (or most) of your eggs in one basket! A lot of things are changing due to our current economic climate, so the need to be creative and try something new is even more crucial for long-term success. Devote a portion of your budget to testing out new channels, messages, etc.

This is also the time to take control of what you can control and embrace your brand. 

  • Find ways to guide your current customers, offer assistance, and reassure them. We’re all nervous right now and it’s crucial to provide value rather than add to the anxiety. 
  • Review your current messaging and content to make sure it’s appropriate for the times. If you’re still pushing out content that doesn’t account for the current pandemic, you’ll look really out of touch and potentially turn people away. A little A/B testing can help you fine tune your new messaging and tone going forward.
  • Sales enablement and associated programs should be the immediate focus. What is your SDR cadence? What customer stories resonate most right now? What does your pitch deck look like? 

You won’t be able to trend against your historical data in these uncertain times, so you’ll need to build in A/B testing or control tests to measure lift. There are long reaching ramifications of what’s happening today, so as you manage campaigns over the next few months, measure incremental effects and continue pivoting as needed. Keep in mind that with the shift to all-digital there is bound to be an over-saturation of the market. It’s not a question of if, but a question of when we get there. So don’t stop testing and being creative, there’s always room to iterate. 

If you’re stuck on which program to pivot to, it’s probably time to evaluate your system of metrics, and assess if your measurements are up to snuff. Most marketers struggle with ROI measurements; now is the perfect time to think about the metrics you should be measuring and how best to do it. Getting that foundation in place now will ensure longer term success for your team.

Marketing has always needed to be agile, and it’s a critical skill for teams to embrace now more than ever. We all need to pivot our 2020 plans to align with today’s new reality. Be smart, be bold, and know that we’re all in this together!

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