Advice for Velo clients: how to navigate Covid-19 and be ready to spring back

Paul Crabtree 9th April 2020 Work Practices & Wellbeing

Without doubt, Covid-19 is causing disruption to marketers in unprecedented ways, and we predict that the changes in marketing will be forever.

Although it’s difficult to know what will happen, or how and when businesses will spring back, learning to adapt and acclimatise to the ‘new norm’ is going to be key.

Below are a few ideas that might help you and your teams prepare.

 

  1. Switch investment into evergreen marketing using digital channels

Events have been postponed with budget being reinvested in digital campaigns, particularly evergreen activity (tactics that deliver value over the long-term).

Investments in thought leadership delivered in gated reports or in more interactive media such as webinars (then used as gated on-demand video), are rising up marketers’ to-do lists.

Think about optimising your website for organic SEO and investing in content creation. With some research on keywords, analysing volumes and audience sizes, identify where the opportunities are for your brand. Your team can be engaged in writing these articles too, keeping motivation and morale up, and pushing the conversations around customer insight that will improve future marketing.

Alongside SEO, new tactical initiatives such as webinars or industry reports focus on the here and now, solving problems for inbound marketing over the long-term.  Effectiveness of interruptional channels such as the phone or cold email is falling. More than ever it is about being found by those looking.

 

  1. Invest in communications that convey trust – it drives decisions

Buyers are cutting back spend but they’re spending with the brands and customers they trust. Activities to drive brand reputation include customer advocacy activity and making sure every touchpoint is aligned to your messaging are investments that will pay back.

For some clients, it is easier to reach customers to interview them for customer stories.  Although live video is off the menu, a good interview can be used to power a written testimonial, sales presentation, references and more. Slice and dice both new and existing success stories to support every step of the sales cycle.

For many, another opportunity is translating success stories for other languages to make them useful for other territories.

Trust too is built when a customer’s interaction with a brand is consistent. Check and review your website. Establish a tone of voice, and review what is said.

Many B2B brands are using this time to review and refresh the messaging used on their website and in their sales presentations. Making sure they are consistent in message and in style builds brand trust. Once a tone of voice is established, multiple writers (internal and external) can contribute to the effort.

Finally, many brands are auditing their brand communications. Whether it be datasheets, brochures, exhibition stands and materials, or sales presentations, conducting an audit to check the accuracy of technical information, as well as understanding how many different marketing assets are in use, is a useful exercise. It is a job that no one enjoys but means you’ll be ready to spring back with leaflets, brochures and technical literature that you are proud of.

 

  1. Evaluate what you can bring in-house or would prefer to outsource

Over time, many activities get outsourced through convenience. This is a perfect time to rethink and bring back some skills in-house. Managing paid media campaigns through to artworking common brochures within templates, are examples where brands are rethinking their approach.

Using this time to upskill your team in ways that will reduce external costs in the future is to be considered. As an agency, we’re actively driving these conversations with many of our clients where we think an approach change is sensible.

Don’t be shy here about asking searching questions about your agency’s financial viability. We’ve been asked about stability, our cash position and our outlook, and we welcome it. We’re an organisation facing challenges too, but we’re approaching it calmly, with a clear plan, and an approach that means we’ll do the right thing at the right time.

Alongside this development, post-COVID-19, your sales and marketing team will enter a world that is much more digitally centered, and less face-to-face.

As such, learning to sell online including using social selling techniques, or being confident with online web conferencing software, are skills that will be needed. Having worked with Cisco since 2011, our team are regularly using Webex, and have done for nearly a decade. It means we’re comfortable and keen on providing training and support, including running workshops to help teams be more comfortable with social media.

 

  1. Establish better practices – messaging, insight and reporting

If you read the copy of many products, they sound very similar. Review the value proposition – the who, the what, the how, and the why of your offering. Both for companies overall and for products, being clear on what you are trying to say improves the power of your messaging.

Many B2B marketers are disconnected from customers with the sales team enjoying direct conversations.

Launching and institutionalising a programme for sharing and finding your ‘onsite insight’ will power more impactful marketing. We’ve built an entire approach around this, monitoring and aggregating insight from different customer interactions, overlaid with market research to help marketers.

Finally, establishing dashboards that share reporting stats from your martech stack in ways that you can interpret is an investment that everyone should make. Google Data Studio can combine different sources, and tools such as HubSpot can be configured with the goals you are interested in.

 

  1. Don’t forget to nurture your knowledge bank

Without a doubt, we are in ever-changing times. But one thing that doesn’t change is your need to learn.

Indulge yourself and spend time bringing up your own knowledge. Read books, listen to podcasts or attend webinars. Whether it be softer skills such as managing people or technical marketing skills, we recommend to all our staff that they carve out part of their working week for self-improvement.

No one can ever take learning away from you, whatever happens.

Ultimately, the restrictive policies around COVID-19 will relax at some point, and the world will return to some degree of order. It won’t be the same, but taking the five steps above means you’ll be ready to spring back as best you can.

We’ve upped the content on our Velo Voice feed in the hope it will help you build your knowledge. Why not start here?

Paul Crabtree

Paul Crabtree

Managing Director