Get ready for the future with post-lockdown marketing
It’s been a tough time for many businesses – and even those least affected will be finding the market environment has changed. Sometimes these changes are very evident, sometimes subtle and insidious.
Aside from the obvious problems, new opportunities may present themselves, and certainly, new ways of working. So, here are our 7 post-lockdown marketing thoughts – things to bear in mind as we get our businesses rolling again.
1. Be visible
It’s been tricky maintaining a profile with all the restrictions. And it’s too easy to forget the importance of awareness. So now is the time to make sure that you are on clients’ radar.
Get your social media working. Email all your subscribers. It may be time to consider making a splash – how about a post-lockdown offer?
2. Review your client base
How has their business changed – and how is that likely to impact upon you?
Do you need to look again at your target markets – are there opportunities to provide new services or help customers in getting back on their feet?
Will you need to find new business, and if so, what will those targets look like? If you use personas in your marketing strategies, do you need to revise them for new climate? If necessary, write a new description of your ideal, post-lockdown client or customer.
Will you need to review your terms of business and clients’ credit status?
3. Review your offer
Is your business offer still relevant for these changed times? Look at it in terms of your client base as discussed above. Will there be opportunities to offer new and more profitable products or services? Or, perhaps it may be an opportunity to slim down your offering.
Take a good look at your competitors. What changes might they make to their offer? Will you need to act defensively or might there be new opportunities? Note what options you have.
If you wrote down your offer – your value proposition – sometime before lockdown, take a fresh look at it, and if necessary, rewrite it in light of how you now see the future.
4. Check your objective
It could well be that your marketing objective hasn’t changed. But for some of us, who may have just been in survival mode for the past few months, the overall objective may be significantly different.
Is it a time for growth, or should we work on strengthening the brand? Should we concentrate on awareness, or build loyalty and develop advocates?
You could do worse than to look again at the old SMART objective – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time based. Which of those have now changed for you, and how.?
5. Plan your marketing options
This is all about directions. Now is the ideal time to consider your possible directions – and to put all options on the table.
It’s a good idea to write down all possible options, then for each write the ‘for‘ and ‘against‘. Finally, note for each what action you decide to take. Many options you may just discard, one or two may be great directions that deserve exploring for immediate action. Others may look useful for a few months time, and some may be able to be combined for effectiveness.
6. Reflect on what you’ve learned
All experience is useful, and the past few months is no exception. You may have discovered resources you didn’t expect. Perhaps clients or suppliers your relied upon were found wanting. How did your supply chain stand up? Which staff surprised you and which disappointed?
Many businesses embraced technology to achieve new results – can these be developed further? Others questioned their old working practices and identified significant potential cost savings.
We’ve all breathed a sigh of relief as restrictions began to lift. But spare some time to note the good learnings and see how these can be applied to future practices.
Also consider how resilient your business model proved to be, and what marketing actions you can take to protect its future.
7. Set marketing budgets
Some businesses may have come through with revenues and reserves still strong, while others may now be severely constrained.
Marketing will be vital to emerge competitive and profitable in an uncertain and possibly hostile economic environment. It’s a time to pay close attention financial decisions and that means setting realistic budgets.
Those figures must start with what you need to achieve – and importantly – by when. It’s not a matter of screwing down all expenditure. It’s about calculating just what is necessary to get you where you want to be. Keep a clear measure of return on investment and monitor it carefully. Try to keep returns as closely in step with expenditure, as cashflow will be critical.
Setting budgets may seem like a chore, but in tight financial times they will help control costs – but allow you to grow.