“Don’t call it a comeback. I’ve been here for years.” –LL Cool J
You’re sitting at your makeshift home office. It’s mid-pandemic and you’re thumbing through your marketing plan debating whether you should stare at it another day or just light the thing on fire. (Psst! Don’t do either.) Perhaps the question floating to the top of your mind is: So…now what?!
Here are six tips to put into action as you revitalize that marketing plan:
1. Keep on keepin’ on.
Whatever you do: Don’t stop marketing. Re-thinking your tactics and re-assigning dollars are steps that are warranted and encouraged. (Use a scalpel, not a sledgehammer!) But “going dark”—especially during a crisis—is a mistake. In fact, now is when you should double-down on your PR & marketing efforts.
2. Polish off your crisis communications plan—or start drafting one.
Let’s talk about what’s truly essential: Planning for a crisis. If there’s anything COVID-19 has reminded us, marketers, it’s that. Polish off your current crisis communications plan. And if you don’t have one, it’s time to kickstart one. Even if you don’t follow your plan perfectly, embracing uncertainty will get a whole lot easier with a guide at the ready.
3. Keep your eye on the target.
Resist the temptation to stray from your target audience in search of some magically elusive group of clientele with limitless pockets. Keep your eye on the target and reward your core fans with crave-worthy content and irresistible incentives.
4. Dive into the analytics.
I know, I could practically see you cringe as you read this one. I admit there’s very little joy to be found in data mining, but the insights you glean from your marketing numbers will tell you just about everything you need to know about what you could be doing better. There is no time like the present to dive headfirst into spreadsheets and the backend of your YouTube channel. Ask yourself and your team: What is it about that data that is most surprising? What changes can we implement based on how our target is consuming our content?
5. Try something new—virtually!
Generally speaking, brands that take risks, reap rewards. And while your marketing spend may be in disarray, I would argue that now is the perfect time to try out strategic tactics that you might otherwise have brushed aside due to lack of time and effort to implement.
Take your cues from the team at Janesville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, which clearly noticed the world’s newfound dependence on video conferencing and thus, released custom Janesville backdrops for their followers to use during their Zoom calls.
Over in Titletown, Visit Green Bay launched a Green Bay Isolation Virtual Tailgate via Facebook Groups. Each Sunday from 12-3 p.m., fans are encouraged to don their green and gold, break out the lawn chairs, dust off the grill and grab a drink from the cooler.
Those are two impressive tactics that I imagine align perfectly with their strategic initiatives and are made for a world that is social distancing.
6. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
I agree that now is a wonderful time to be as human as possible with your followers. But you’re seeing what I’m seeing, right? Everyone jumping on the “brandwagon” to create a video or social media post that is moving and emotional and reminds people that “Together, we’re going to get through this”? The problem with this approach, however, is that’s what everyone is doing. It may be a lovely and even necessary idea to convey, but it’s a message on repeat. How do you cut through the clutter and say something different but still meaningful?
I can’t keep track of the number of eBlasts I’ve received from airlines and credit card companies about how “we’re all in this together.” If they didn’t actually walk the walk and tell me what they’re doing to make my life easier, then: Message → Delete.
On the contrary, when the team at Stout’s Island Lodge in Birchwood, Wis. showed up in my inbox, I was impressed. In just one simple email, the resort outlined for me exactly how they’re safely and creatively keeping the lodge open for their guests this year by designing an exclusive experience for up to 30 families. It was relevant, thoughtful, and informative.
Ready to revitalize your marketing strategy? Let’s continue the conversation.
Mariah Haberman is the brand director and co-host of Discover Wisconsin at Discover Mediaworks. She partners with brands across the state to bring the very best of Wisconsin to the screens of more than 600,000 loyal fans. Mariah received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 2010 and received an Outstanding Young Alumni Award in 2018.