Last updated on September 17th, 2020
The adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses is now very much visible and evident. Staying indoors, surfing the internet and working from home have become the new norms. No one has a clue about how long this crisis will linger on. However, companies have started finding new ways to deal with the economic pause. They have started looking for strategies for effective digital marketing that can drive customers to businesses.
Now that the pandemic seems to stay here for a long time, businesses have started to evaluate its impact on customers and markets. Social distancing has already become the norm of the day. It is undoubtedly harming businesses such as entertainment and restaurants. With the crisis dragging on, business owners are preparing themselves for the future.
Digital marketing has attained the center stage in the overall marketing scenario. Small to big enterprises are reinventing digital media to find out how to use it best to drive customers to businesses using online platforms.
To discuss various digital marketing issues, Designhill, the leading creative marketplace, sought experts’ advice. The marketplace conducted a panel discussion on 22nd July 2020 on the topic ‘Digital Marketing During Economic Pause and Beyond’. The expert guest speakers for the discussion were as follows:
- Garrett Mehrguth, CEO @ Directive & International Speaker.
- Michael Barber, SVP, Chief Creative Officer / Marketo 50 Fearless Marketing Leader.
- Neal Schaffer, Author, The Age of Influence | Digital / Social Media / Influencer Marketing Speaker & Consultant | University Educator.
- Carlos Gil, Author, Instructor, Speaker, Social Media Consultant.
- Alan See, “Top 50 Most Influential Chief Marketing Officer on Social Media”, “Marketer of the Year” by the American Marketing Association.
They shared their experience, tips, and best practices of executing digital marketing. The experts touched many issues and gave their best advice to the business owners. They shared their experience on how brands can best prepare their marketing strategies during the crisis and how to refine their AMO- Audience, Message, and Offer. The panelists also shared their views on the best practices and tactics to effectively do digital marketing and the future roadmap to thrive in the markets.
Here Is The Video Of The Panel Discussion With The Experts
Here Are The Valuable Advice That The Experts Shared On How To Conduct Digital Marketing During The COVID Crisis
Designhill: How should the marketing team respond to change and where to move the budget to stay effective in such a volatile time?
Alan: Keep in mind that my space is primarily in the business to business. And, in the business to business space, especially here in the US, there’s still a lot of companies whose digital marketing strategies involve trade shows and conferences. All of a sudden, trade shows and conferences, at least face to face, are out the door.
So, those conferences and trade shows that had previously been able to leverage some online conferences, have kept going forward. But many SMB, small-medium businesses, packed up their tent and went to the conference place. They were used to getting their leads to face to face. That is a considerable change for organizations that had not been prepared for the digital world.
Time to be digitally savvy
The change is not just about shifting of budgets in some cases. It was a blessing that the conference was closed because the business is now experiencing less revenue. So, they were going to have to cut anyway. But, for those whose business had kept going, they have moved into education and training. We can’t let this happen again and need to be able to come up to speed so that we’re digitally savvy.
Michael: I think the challenge that every client is facing right now is understanding what’s working and what isn’t in the context of where we find ourselves. If you are on the b2b or b2c side, I think we should understand the context that consumers find themselves in today. We are living in an incredibly fragmented society.
Understand the context
As it stands, here in the US, some states are open, and others are not. So, our audience’s context is going to be very different on a locale by locale basis. This means we have to do different messaging, depending upon where those individuals are. We need to understand the context that they find themselves in considering the present crisis.
Also, we need to know what’s working and what isn’t, and when we can find those tactics that are working. Then, we can shift our budgets into those areas. We can pull back the budget quickly from the areas that are not paying dividends.
Garret Mehrguth: We work mostly with mid-market enterprise organizations. Nobody is that fluid with the budget, unfortunately. A lot of people are understanding and defining where they want to allocate their capital. I think the biggest hurdle for most people right now is they aren’t empowered to do so.
Capital allocation evaluation challenge
Most marketers don’t have a capital allocation evaluation method. In other words, they do not know what the LTV, CAC, or RO is. Whether it’s b2b, b2c, or lead Gen Con, most organizations do not have their CRM or data systems break at the channel level.
So, most people have aggregated data. Let’s say they have a close rate across a product or a business unit, but not a close rate across the business unit and its channel. Therefore, when it comes to like capital allocation, they struggle because they don’t know or feel confident in their data that a channel is truly working or not, and then they don’t have time decay.
Have the right data and analysis
In other words, what they don’t know is how long it will take them to close, and what the unit economics are on a channel by channel level. That is something I always advocate for, and I have a lot of models about how you get financial sales and channel data for a product or business unit all in one sheet.
After that, you can do that analysis. It takes a weighted account cost, right team cost, software costs, ad spend, and all the different pieces to analyze the data. When you put that all together, you have a financial model. I think step one is getting that done and be agile and accurate.
What is astounding is that even the world’s most prominent clients do not have a lot of data systems for financial and sales analysis at a channel level.
Designhill: How do you think there is any learning which we can derive from them in terms of evaluating our finances, and putting into perspective, the marketing ROI?
Develop a digital-first mindset
Neal Schaffer: We have to be digital-first if we want to reach your audience. There are aggressive startups that always had that mentality. But most of the larger organizations with a long history have a lot of non-digital legacies. They do not have the digital-first mindset that I think they’re going to need.
Even when the pandemic goes away, whether we’re businesses or consumers, our content consumption, and everything will change. Make sure they invest in that and meet customers where they are. On the other hand, I think it’s also just more directly understanding. I think you need to put yourself in the shoes of your customers and directly communicate and be able to serve them directly.
Know your end-consumer
Brand communication plays a big role in it. There’s a quote that I like to share. It says businesses exist to serve society. So, this is a time not to be quiet but to understand your end customer has communication. You should know how you can serve them, even if it means including other products or other services that you didn’t normally have.
Many restaurants now have family boxes, and they are giving away maps and toilet paper. For companies that never had direct access to their end-customer, one of my clients has it. We were talking about haircuts.
A hair color company primarily sells through Amazon, Walmart, etc. Without having their direct eCommerce store and their direct email communication, they would have been lost when stores and warehouses were closed for a few weeks. Fortunately, they have had that infrastructure, and they can educate their audience to serve them. So, I am focused on those two ends.
Carlos: It is all about working smarter, not harder in this new normal that we’re in the land that I stay in is primarily social media marketing. Before COVID happened, brands were there early, short-staffed, in most cases, they were struggling with what to say and with noise that is happening on a minute by minute basis on social media. COVID happened in March, and companies started laying off and furloughing members of their marketing team, which makes it even more challenging.
Then, you have not just COVID, but also the Black Lives Matter movement. You have so much conversation happening that has nothing to do with marketing or sales. And I think what companies need to do is first and foremost, like analyze, how do we want to be viewed by consumers. But you can’t put yourself in the shoes of your consumer. Today, your consumer probably doesn’t want to be hit over the head every time they see your logo show up in their newsfeed with an app.
Think of outsourcing
If you are struggling with keeping up with the volume, maybe you think about outsourcing. In some cases, companies are running a one and two-person team on their social media team where previously they had 567 community managers. So, you can outsource in this era, and that’s okay. I think that taking the approach of being more conversational and less promotional is the strategy I would recommend for brands to take instead of just continually selling whether you are b2b or b2c.
Buyer’s journey is too long now
If you are in b2b, just realize that the prospecting cycle, the buyer cycle, the buyers’ journey, it’s going to take longer than what it did before. So, you lose nothing by at least staying in touch with your customers. And again, don’t lose sight also of the relevance of Facebook ads and online advertising in these times at least to stay top of mind. This means you do not have to tweet that you have a sale or an offer directly.
Designhill: A research by Forrester said that lower funnel purchases and conversions might be temporarily depressed, while more opportunity might exist around ballerinas and affinity building with increased online activity.
How should marketers adjust what they are measuring and what can we expect in terms of results?
Carlos: I often think as marketers, we just look at our KPIs. And we think, in some cases, just about sales or website clicks. But we lose sight of the focus that just conversations is a form of marketing to your customer, but we call it relationship building.
You build a relationship by having a dialogue, and we need to have more of that in these times. I often say that just through my content on social media, or when I do keynotes do a good job of listening to what’s being said by those who follow you. You should listen to customers who buy from your brand and see what they are talking about and jump into those conversations.
Let customers know what you are doing
Right now, we must level set and realize that unemployment is high in the United States. You have consumers sitting on the sidelines, hanging on to as much cash as they can. Those who are working are going to be kept for the rest of this year. There is so much uncertainty happening. Therefore, it is important that you check in on your customers, ask how they’re doing, create more conversation on your own channels, and even leverage maybe email marketing. Just check-in and let your customers know what is happening in the background is important.
I’ll just give you an example. I’m a big fan of Marriott, hotels, and also American Airlines loyal to these brands. I like in these times that when I go on social media or get an email from these brands, they are just giving me updates. They’re not trying to close me and not hooking me on any promotions that they have. They are just giving me updates to make me as a customer feel more safe and secure when I do business with them once again.
Designhill: How to build accommodation with our customers?
Michel: I think what Carlos is getting at is, is kind of where consumers find themselves right now, which is a severe lack of human connection, except for those people that they are living with. This idea of intimacy and emotional connection is something we can do digitally very well and build those as brands.
There are companies that have specific verticals that have been entirely disrupted, and the travel industry is one of them. You saw United Airlines yesterday post, a drop in profits of 99.9% quarter over quarter. But eventually, these customers are going to come back. They are trying to build those connections with customers through emotional messaging by simply giving them updates and not covering them with sales messages.
Switch to long term brand building
On a granular level, the idea is about moving away from short term conversion tactics to more long term brand building. Just take one tactic like retargeting or remarketing. You have a huge unemployment rate right now not just here in this country, but in other countries too. In the US, think about what you could be doing from a retargeting remarketing perspective. You could be extending those time frames here in Google; it allows you all the way through, I think, in 500 plus days.
So, if you are building brand connections with customers, maybe just on a tactic by tactic level, think about how you shift that conversation. So when unemployment and spending come back up, you can shift those messages and those ads. You already have remarketing efforts away from brand building and more to those conversion metrics.
Designhill: Is there any way we can leverage conversations for conversions later on?
Garret Mehrguth: I don’t do a ton of b2c. A lot of stuff Carlos and Michael are talking about is special and relevant and accurate. This is especially so when you have this mass marketing, right, and you have the common consumer. What I do mostly b2b, and then some b2c stuff, but it’s more sporadic or enterprise and still lead gen related more so than a lot of other stuff.
Have something to say
And what I found on the performance side right now is that to do the retargeting, we should have something to say. I think that goes into whatever else is communicating. But let’s just say what we currently do, regardless of the global pandemic, we run retargeting that says, anyone who goes to their page, we have a couple of audiences.
If you have some exclusions, we traditionally send them back to the same page they didn’t like. For instance, these people just retarget people back to them on the same homepage that 90% of their users bounce from. That is genuinely what most people do. And I think if we can get away from that, and what I like to call value-driven, and so like in 2020, the traditional retargeting is still like that even when they go to the next level, they don’t go to the right level.
Switch to community lead generation
So the next level is the seven deadly sins the VRP software. This is very traditional info lead gen retargeting. I think we can go past the conventional gated lead gen to community lead gen, where it can go from one-directional communication to what the brand says to its customer. For instance, we built our own free SAS marketing community. And I have never been a huge community guy. It’s not the strength of myself as a leader and all that stuff. But we built this community, and it worked.
People are talking and asking questions every day. We’re able to help them free of charge. And it is taxing the performance I ever imagined from like a stupid white paper ebook in 2020. To answer your question on retargeting and conversations, I think the most important thing here is how you say.
Give value to consumers
You should get to the point where you are more worried about the consumer having value than you are getting done. In other words, where what you are giving them is more valuable than what they’re giving you. This is because most of us just collect their email and think that it is more valuable than what we give them.
If we switch that paradox, and we make a community focus and bidirectional, and emotional in that sense. That is what I think we get a lot more success from retargeting out of the top of funnel advertising from these things. We interact with our customers.
Designhill: How do you leverage the power of the social media community?
Do business with whom you trust
Allan: If you were to look at my background, you would see, Teradata, big, big data, SAS, business intelligence, and CRM. In the most recent time, I’ve kind of flipped from the perspective that especially in the b2b space, we do business with people we know like and trust.
If I don’t know you or do not trust you, then there is no amount of information or content that you are going to send me that can make me flip that switch.
More social capital with employees
The other perspective now is that I have also started working in the SMB space with much smaller brands. It is not unusual that if you were to take the social capital of all the employees, add it up, and compare it to the brand, there is more social capital within the employees than the brand.
I have almost 90,000 Twitter followers, and I am working with brands that have less than 100 Twitter followers. So, it tells you pretty much about who sends a tweet and what is going to be the viewing of that. It becomes an education, training, and employee engagement model when building that community and trust. That is where, right now, we have got six people on this, and everybody looks very comfortable in front of a camera, doing videos being online.
And I can’t tell you the number of executives I work with, and I say oh, well, we want to do an intro video out there on YouTube. They look like deer in the headlights. I mean, LinkedIn came out in 2002, I was the 74,000th person to join that platform, one of the first hundred thousand people. I was on Twitter in 2006, shortly after it was released.
I’m not just talking about boomers that aren’t trained in are up to speed on how this channel can help develop the trust of how you can get to know, like, and trust me. So this is important in getting to that community standpoint is you need to get your employees on board with it first, and then leverage their social capital, and then you are bringing in your customers, whether that’s, b2b or b2c.
Go for community marketing
Neal Schaffer: With b2b organizations, we have that opportunity to build communities starting from your employees. But it’s funny that in Japan where I do a lot of business, they have a term. That is community marketing, which is a buzzword in b2b and also b2c marketing. And, community marketing is brand advocacy. It’s leveraging your customers and fans to do the talking for you. And I am a big fan of that.
When you include your employees, your partners in it, you begin to create something with which I call influencer marketing. This is because it’s leveraging other social media users and not just Instagrammers and TikTalkers.It lets the people around you that already took that out the most brand affinity that already knows, likes, and trusts your brand. Let them do the talking for you. You should let them celebrate.
Brands have always tried to humanize what they do. But there’s nothing more humanizing than an actual human that is relatable and talks on behalf of you. Without a digital footprint, you can’t build communities. You need to have a digital footprint, and we were talking about sort of the ROI, you need a website as part of your infrastructure, but with a digital-first mentality.
You need to meet customers where they’re at. And it’s about searching social email. So, the email marketing, marketing automation, and social media marketing becomes part of that infrastructure you need. This is because all is going to be digital, even after the pandemic. Considering that everything is going to be digital, you will measure the ad spend and performance marketing differently. But it’s time to understand that to build that infrastructure and to activate all of those around you. It is obviously going to reap benefits for your company.
Designhill: Do you mind sharing a few incidents or examples of a couple of grand or so, a nicely educating community around them?
Find ways of community marketing
Well, I think there are ways of doing community marketing. You can have your community on your website or do it through social media groups like Facebook or LinkedIn groups. I think what I’ve seen, especially in the b2b space, our virtual events, what we’re doing today, especially in the b2b space, is saying, hey, we’re here, offering, not selling. But customer education and customer engagement together with people literally in real-time, and provides them valuable content.
There is an explosion of live streams of people and businesses on Facebook. They are trying to keep in touch, and I think that is a great way to start. Obviously, what do you do with your community after you do that is another story. I wrote a book on influencer marketing, showing that companies are building these sorts of brand ambassador programs. Through these programs, they are tapping into those over time, activating for various campaigns, what have you.
So there’s a lot of different ways of looking at it. But it begins with having that community and talking to them. You should know about their needs, and, going from there, let the community decide where you take it.
Adobe and Track Smith build their communities
Michael Barber: Yeah, if I could just hop in here and give a couple of examples of some brands that I think I’ve done community wise over the last few months on the consumer and the business side. A Boston-based brand called Track Smith is just a high-end running brand that I think is doing a great job from a community-building perspective. I think it is interesting to see how they are activating their advocates in their community, both offline and online, for this pandemic.
Another brand that I think has done well in terms of size and industry is Adobe. Carlos and I are part of a group at Adobe. They are an Adobe influencers group, and they have done a superb job. They do it so well considering how big of an organization they are to activate both small communities and large communities across not only influencers and advocates but also within their customer base. So I would encourage people to look at those two brands on very different ends of the spectrum and see what they’re doing to activate their communities right now.
Designhill: Looking more long term, many companies are missing their immediate goals in the wake of all the news and changes in consumer behavior.
So what can they do to set themselves up for success once that is over, and are the long term strategies they should be investing in right now?
Michael Barber: I think you have heard many of us say that brand building can be focused on long-term. We are now for 20 years into this digital transformation of organizations, and still not fully set up as organizations. We have this moment of the pandemic, especially for organizations that truly utilize this time to transition organizations, to find out where their consumer is.
Work towards long-term goals
I would encourage you to use the downtime to ensure that you are working towards those longer-term goals. This is because they get shortchanged so quickly. They have to think about every new messaging opportunity in everything that’s changing within the news headlines, in the contextually for our customers.
The other thing you’ve heard from a lot of us is to understand that marketing is way more than just the act of marketing itself, building preference and advocacy, and long term customers. It is not just a promotion, its product, place, and price. We must, as marketers, start to play a role across our organizations. This role should be from the top-level, including executive teams within the culture of our organizations. Or it should be to build internal advocates that can help us build community and focus on ways more than just our advertising and promotional messages.
But how are we pricing things given the context that our customers find ourselves in place? Are there different places we can be putting our products today and build channels that we didn’t have yesterday? When it comes to products, what are the things that we can change?
Now that we have seen the entire supply chain disrupted over the past four months, what can we do to fix product issues? So, all of these things are places that we can play for long-term gains, which has nothing to do with the promotional aspects of our companies.
I would encourage all of us to get the time to do so in at least some of our contexts.
Build your employee advocacy strategy
Carlos: Your immediate goals might not necessarily be measured in dollars and cents, but look at your internal processes by which you communicate. And even so, when you start thinking about things like employee advocacy, focus on building your employee advocacy strategy, which includes maybe sourcing a vendor to help streamline communications between you and your employees and then your employees out to their networks.
I would also say now is a good time to think about how you can help to Alan’s point before your executives get up to be at par with using social media. When you see a CEO tweeting from a company-branded account, it’s not the CEO tweeting. It’s the communications team, or it’s the PR team that’s tweeting on their behalf. Today, consumers are much more aware that there’s someone behind the scenes that is kind of playing puppeteer and controlling all these different mediums.
Empower your executives
And I think that this is a time that you have to peel back the curtain and empower your executives to have them do Instagram stories, an impromptu, Instagram Live, or Twitter live. But first and foremost, you need to train your executives on how to do it. And it’s not forcing again, look at the next six months as just an opportunity, if you will, to ramp up to a solid 2021.
Micheal: I think if the executive you are speaking to ever says, I don’t have time to do that, and I don’t know how to do that. You can point him towards some of the best executives that are doing social well.
For example, I continuously go back to the CEO of Walmart, who does a superb job talking about what his employees are doing right now on Instagram. That’s the channel he plays in. He is very good at it. Who cares if it’s a PR, he’s got a person helping him with it. But he does it so well. And if he can do it with a multi-billion dollar organization with 10s of thousands of employees, then I think any executive can do well.
Give employees access and tools
Carlos: I enjoy going on Instagram and looking up Walmart’s a couple hashtags such as hashtags employees and hashtag Walmart employees, and these threads already have thousands of photos, user-generated, curated by employees throughout the years. Some of them are a little suspect that you probably wouldn’t want the HR team to be shown to an executive when talking about employee advocacy. But that’s the beauty of social media today. It has no filter, and I’m a big fan of providing tools but not rules.
By that, you give your employees the access and tools to be successful, but you don’t police them on how to use these channels. They’re going to use these channels, whichever way they want to use them.
Designhill: How do you convince the top creatives to portray themselves as humans, not as a mouthpiece of a corporation?
Alan: I like to tell the employees and my coworkers that we all will stay here forever, and we will achieve our personal goals. There are no layoffs, mergers, or acquisitions. Not too many people get a 30 year and a gold watch anymore, but if that’s what we get, fantastic.
Go for personal brand building
But the fact of the matter is, the average life of a CMO is less than three years for whatever reason, and most employees move somewhere else. So, part of my internal selling message is that this is about personal brand building. Your tweet might help us get into a customer or promote a certain product line or whatever. But you are building your brand.
And, you take your brand with you, no matter where you go. So, you are very crisply articulating what’s in it for them and with them. Everybody is tuned into that radio station, and want to know what’s in it for me? These influencers, particularly the internal influencers, once they start understanding, help the company. Still, it also helps my profile on LinkedIn, Twitter, and on Instagram, I get to take that brand with me, then the buying starts happening a little bit more quickly.
Designhill: How do you think a top corporate executive or a social media platform help convergence?
Garret Mehrguth: They are trying to work as an executive as a social; you will not get an executive who doesn’t use social to do social marketing. It would not happen if an executive doesn’t do social, they don’t do social unless you guys have some magic recipe I don’t know about. I’ve never seen it happen. I struggle with it, and I don’t even hate it. I still struggle with it. And so my company and my team are active. I have a lot of individuals who are active in society, and it helps us. I think it helps build the community and brand awareness, but they want to do it for their selfish reasons, which is perfect.
I think for a lot of CEOs, it’s a lot harder than people give credit. They see their team members on side projects, they see their other, and then they know the team member dropped the ball on something. And it immediately changes the culture because they say something and then it shuts down this idea of you can be something different than what you are. So, I think that’s still a struggle for a lot of exact systems, embrace the fact that you don’t control your employees, and they can do whatever the hell they want.
Everybody is doing marketing without a strategy
And I think it’s still hard for people. You’ll see it today. That’s why nobody was remote, even though he could have got better talent throughout the country. But you take the whole social, that whole site out of it. I think everyone is doing what they’re supposed to do, and nobody’s doing anything that anyone cares about.
So, everybody’s doing a blog post, a podcast because that’s what they do. If you ask them, why would someone listen to your podcast over the 2 trillion others? They go, well, I have good guests. But they never have some creative segment.
Better at digital worst at marketing
So, I think the irony is we all got better at digital and got worse at marketing. In other words, we got worse than making anyone care about what the hell we were saying. So, I want to give the audience some examples of what I’m trying to do to get away from it all. Take, for example, salary interviews. We are shipping people that we want to interview that share an audience with us. I want to go after b2b SaaS marketers. So I’m finding all the people out there that have a similar audience, this content today, promotion built-in.
If you are good at financial modeling, you can’t pay for the top of funnel traffic, because there’s no ROI in it. No matter how long you want to forecast that out your CFO, the time decay of the gay top of funnel to a strong average order value is impossible. Therefore, you have to build content with promotion. You need to do things like sour interviews or doing their marketing competition show like ideas. I think the barrier for all content is crap content. I can tell you 90% of the crap I’ve written I won’t even want to read. And that’s the actual problem with marketing.
Create content that matters
90% of the crap we put out there isn’t even good enough. Then we say we are doing digital and we measure our traffic. But it’s completely disconnected from the growth of our business or in our market segment. And so I think the biggest part of all digital does things that are good and do a lot less. And I can’t tell you how hard that is. But that would be my number one advice for digital right now is like do it right. Try to do something that matters.
Neil: I think if we look at where we need to meet customers in a digital-first scenario of search, email, social, the search in email, we have some control over the social we don’t have control of. That is where once executives that I speak to, figure that out, and they want to incite word of mouth. They realize that their employees can be a great source.
If you look at an employee as part of an influencer program, who should be the most influential? It starts at the top, doesn’t it? So that’s the way that I’ve been talking to companies about that. But I think that now is an opportune time to reset everything. I love what Michael said about it, looking at the structure of your image. He asked, do you have everything in place? Now is a great time to invest behind the scenes.
Social media is for people
I also love what Garrett was asking: does your content make sense in a pandemic world today? A lot of companies need to relook at that message. But, I tend to advise not to look at social media as a way of a channel for marketing and promotion, because it’s built for people. It is social media but looks at it as this amazing platform to find others to collaborate with your customers, fans, and employees. If you take a different mindset towards social media, that’s going to help companies get out of promotion or content just for the sake of posting it every day.
I have always thought people are just better at creating content that is relatable that touches other people. We have seen people come out of nowhere to become quite influential because they have been able to do that, and they are relatable. And this is something that brands should happen to do.
Garrette Mehrguth: You have companies like ESPN and you Barstool, whether you like or agree with anything they have. The barstool method of social is personality-driven. And then it all funnels into a brand. In other words, they grow their audience through their talent, not through doing two more posts a day, or their brand. Like it is driven through their talent. And I think that is the same thing in organizations.
But if you don’t have the executive team, like if you don’t have the, from the top, I don’t know if you can change the culture from the bottom when it comes to social empowerment.
Designhill: How to create a relevant clinical checklist?
Develop product and customer-related content
Allan: The checklist doesn’t necessarily have to belong. From a marketing perspective, we can say that developing the content should be around our product and customers. It is a case study. It is something that we want them to be interested in. This is where brands need to do two things, think of their content stream, in terms of maybe 90- 98% of it is just informational and educational and fun. It’s just engaging, fun, fun to watch.
I do A lot of work for nonprofits. I am a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, building their audience and engaging other members. The educational aspect of that and not trying to sell them or tell them to do something is very important. That is how you build the community.
So, I don’t necessarily look at a checklist but gauge for myself that the stream I’m putting out is fun? Is it engaging? Is it something that’s getting back conversation because if it’s not, then I’m just blasting them.
Follow back your customers
At the major brand NFL, they have the most rabid fans. If you were to look at their Twitter profile, they follow back maybe, point 00000 1%. I mean, major brands are not following back their customer base, which is the people who are engaging with them. But social rejection impacts the same part of the brain as physical pain. So, when you reject me, it causes physical pain and impacts the same part of the brain. Just the simple act of following back, and so that your audience knows that they can engage with you is worth a ton of content.
Michael: Whatever checklist you have got, there are still hundreds out there. I’m not going to get into the merits of a debate on the checklist.
Undergo a test to know what is good
I would add two things. You should find out that what you are doing is good or not. There should be some stress to find out if what you are doing is good. In my life, my mom is my stress test. I knew Facebook was going to be popular the moment my mom got on Facebook. So, you should have a test, which can be a customer panel, a group of customers you trust, and a group of internal people who understand your customers’ perspective to know if the content is good.
Have a content distribution plan
And then again, you must also have a content distribution plan. If you create content for its sake without a distribution plan, and how you activate that distribution plan effectively, that content is not even worth creating. This is because content without distribution is simply just noise.
Garrett Mehrguth: I think the problem here too is for most people the understanding of marketing is that it is hard to fund. Most people do not know how to fund. But all this social marketing is tough if you can’t go to the CFO and say, here is how we are going to change society from a cost to about, like, I’m obsessed with finance and sales.
For instance, I’m good at SEO and PPC, but I’m obsessed with finance and sales. And it is so important because it drives how you are perceived in an organization as a marketer. And so, for everyone listening, what Michael was saying on that foundation, you need to take 10 x further.
Discuss your plan with the Financial Officials
So, when you want to do a price, have you met with the CFO and said, here’s how we can model out the utilization of our marketing budget if we decreased or increased our price? Have you discussed how that would affect your Q3 or Q4 projections? If you are not having that conversation, no one takes you seriously.
If you want to do a product, but you have to melt the product marketing team to understand their roadmap fully, honoring them in that process, and here’s how your marketing plan fits. If you haven’t met with the CFO or the Director of Sales, then you can’t say that I’m going to bump up your close rate, or here’s how I’m going to fix your pipeline. Here’s an increase of qualification from SDR to AV; you are not getting it.
Therefore, until all the pieces that can track it and have deep relationships are put together, marketing will be devalued. Even if you were a CMO for years, it won’t work. And that’s why there are so much turnover and marketing at the highest level. It is because they do it as marketers think their job is to do marketing. And your job is to do everything with deep relationships in real financial models, forecasting, and depth. And if you don’t do it at that level, you are just playing marketing.
Have the right direction
That’s the hardest part to do as people don’t have the direction to do it. They have so many pieces missing. I would say if you start at the foundation, you can be creative, have fun, but you have to get like full bidirectional sync data from all your channels into a hub fully synced and measured into a sales channel.
Then, you have a deep relationship with the finance department of how all fits into the vision of the order. And if you can get that part done and have channel level data, you are in the 1% of marketers in the world, and everything else you do doesn’t even matter.
So, this panel discussion clearly defines the new contours of digital marketing in the present crisis scenario. Your small business should pay heed to these suggestions and see what more can be done to enhance audience reach.
When markets are closed due to the pandemic, businesses have to deal with the new digital marketing challenges. The experts emphasize building a community marketing strategy with a digital-first mentality. They advise giving executives more power in making digital marketing decisions independently.