Pandemic, lockdown, lost revenue. The vortex of reeling businesses as a result has created a multitude of questions like, “What now?” or “What’s next?” Every part of a business plan is up for evaluation because it has to be. As a CMO, a small business owner, or a business manager, your decision-making may be paramount to survival.
Marketing budgets have been slashed or in many cases, advertising has all but disappeared. We get it. It may seem like a non-topic but in a time when difficult decisions need to be made, what are some of the key questions to consider, in this current economic climate? Is ditching your marketing strategy the best option right now?
There are digital strategies you can implement that will keep your visibility high and your budget in check, once you’ve been able to answer these five questions and narrow down your focus.
If you already have a digital presence, what is it that you are focused on? Are you paying for general advertising space wherever it is available, like a programmable banner ad online? If your product or service is serving North Carolina and your ads are nation-wide on a banner ad, it is not going to offer you the biggest bang for your buck.
A radio ad may not be heard by your particular demographic and placing a billboard ad is simply a wish that someone in your target market might actually see it. There are no guarantees that these formats will be remembered or even paid attention to. For example, if you are a veteran-owned retail store, dollars spent on a billboard on the side of the highway where drivers are speeding by and not really able to absorb your message, you are most definitely not going to capitalise on that kind of advertising.
In reality, it would be a waste of money right now to spend advertising dollars without first defining your target market and then aiming your digital strategy there. Many businesses may say they have a digital presence but 90% of that money is wasted if it’s used on those programmable banner ads mentioned earlier. There is no target, it’s just filling ad space. You want (and need) to be in the space where your people are - like Facebook and Instagram. Your entire ad spend will do better where your customers currently reside: scrolling on their phones. If you watch people with their devices, you will find that even during television commercials, they are grabbing their cell phones and scrolling.
Have you established your Key Performance Indicators (KPI), and if so, are they serving you well as you navigate a post-pandemic economy? Or while we’re still in it, even. Your business objectives may have changed as a result of Covid-19, so how you evaluate your performance at a high level or at a department level may need to be updated as well. If KPIs haven’t been a strategic part of your business, it may be necessary to create some indicators going forward. Every edge you can give yourself and your business matters.
Most marketing KPIs are based on poor, outdated metrics, considering the world we now live in, such as impressions (total number of times your ad has been viewed), reach (total number of individual people who viewed your ad), CPC (cost-per-click). These metrics are based on width or volume and they take no consideration of the reality we are facing. People make purchasing decisions based on branding, and where is that branding being noticed? Yes, you guessed it - Facebook and Instagram!
With change comes stress and overwhelm. This is where a digital strategy service like ours comes in, and where an agency's expertise can support you. Our goal is to help you rebuild, to find new ways to keep your business and your livelihood intact.
With targeted advertising reaching 1,000 people for around $1.50 (sometimes even lower!), it makes sense to regroup and build a strategy together, to get the most out of your marketing budget, and to use some creative digital methods to get in front of a relevant and captive audience.
With tightening a budget or rethinking your digital strategy comes discovering efficiencies. In the world of content creation we now live in, CMOs need to figure out optimal ways for their team(s) to produce effective and quality content. Online branding has become key to successful marketing, so investing in a graphics designer, a copywriter, a videographer, and a strategist are necessary, at the minimum. The beauty of it is, though, that those roles can be contracted out now, so they don’t necessarily need to be hired on as employees.
If you’ve ever heard the term ‘content is king’ it has never been truer. Now more than ever, your online branding and content can carry you through to the other side of this pandemic.
It may seem daunting and uncomfortable to be thrust into unexpected change, but we are finding that people’s creativity and resilience are coming to the forefront and new ideas, products, and ways of doing business can even be exciting again.
Don’t give up. Ask for help. Leverage the challenges and discover opportunities that weren’t there before.