Many of us are still reeling from the shock that has been 2020. Beyond personal concerns about our health and safety, companies have been dealing with challenges that have shaken the fundamentals of business.
- Offices are closed across the country, and many employees are working from home.
- The conference and seminar market, where customer connections are made and new business created, has shut down. Everything has moved online if it hasn’t been cancelled already.
- With stores closed and entertainment venues shuttered, people are going online. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 shutdown, internet use increased as much as 70%.
- There is a surge of interest in products and services like PPE, health care, telemedicine and more.
With so much disruption, and so many challenges, marketing departments and companies have had to adjust their 2020 planning to compensate. Rather than getting ahead with new initiatives, business leaders have been forced to react to keep up.
As we prepare for the end of 2020, it’s time to look ahead.
The World of Today
Marketers and business leaders are planning for a future influenced by the events of 2020 – COVID-19, supply chain disruption, civil unrest, and a renewed emphasis on humanity. Rather than hoping we get back to “normal,” we need to identify and address the new normal.
How to Prepare for the Future (2020 and Beyond)
Savvy business leaders aren’t waiting to adapt. They are looking ahead. Change is happening, and the steps you take now are an investment in the future of your business.
The question is, what will the future look like? Here’s a few topics businesses should begin planning for right now:
The Rise of Digital (and Inbound) Marketing
COVID-19 and the pandemic have shaped buyers, both B2B and B2C. A handshake isn’t how you close the deal, and a high-stakes business meeting isn’t what sales needs. Today, if you want to reach and influence customers, you need to invest in your digital marketing capability. This is where your customers are, and this is the buying process they want.
This is a trend that was already shaping marketing and business but has accelerated with COVID-19. As more and more people are connecting with and using online and digital tools, your business needs to meet them. Build an online ecosystem that will guide a prospect along the sales process. Create a buying process that leverages digital tools and inbound marketing.
The Importance of Martech
At the beginning of the COVID-19, the MarTech industry (Marketing Technology) stepped up to support businesses. While some marketing initiatives saw their business crash during this crisis, MarTech exploded as businesses needed new tools like apps, cloud-based databases, and software platforms, to manage even daily operations.
Companies need new tools to overcome these challenges – a way to reach customers despite the stay-at-home orders, web technology, a strong CMS system to drive digital marketing, a solid marketing platform for collaboration and flexibility, and a DAM (Digital Asset Management) for coordinating the team and driving consistency, for example. Many companies are already behind in their Martech infrastructure and are scrambling to catch up.
Changes to Marketing Messages
In a world that feels fraught with crises, people are turning away from doom and gloom and looking for positive messages. Companies are seeing better results from offering support and a more personal buying process, than through fear and disruptive marketing.
Consider also the content you are using in your marketing. Companies are going to be more successful by providing relevant content for customers – so what is relevant now? The same challenges facing your business are the ones facing your customers, so you may need to update, adapt or replace existing content with content better suited to today’s market.
Experiment and Evaluate
The behavior and needs of customers and prospects have changed. Many of the strategies that paid dividends in the past aren’t delivering the same results. Companies need to experiment and be willing to find new ways to connect with and service customers. Experiment with a new campaign, try a new strategy, and explore new marketing campaigns.
Take time to set goals and measure results with these new strategies. Evaluate what’s working and what isn’t, and don’t be afraid to continue to make changes. Rather than waiting to react to change, get ahead of the competition by continue to develop and test new ideas, then evaluating the results.
What will be the New Normal in 2021?
Even a pandemic and social change won’t stop human progress. Business will continue. Life will go on, but things have changed.
Recent events will have a long-lasting impact on the way we work, operate and do business. Marketers and companies will have to change with it.
Getting Ready for the Future
Smart companies are taking steps today to prepare for the future, to meet customer’s needs. The action they take will help prepare them for the future.
If you want to learn more or discuss the steps you and your company can take, then contact GO2 Partners today. Ask about our Marketing 20/20 program and how it can provide support and expertise when your business needs it the most.
We’re here to help.