April 21, 2020

Are You Reducing Your Marketing Spend During COVID-19? – Part I

By Nate Vigil, Marketing Manager

Are You Reducing Your Marketing Spend During COVID-19? – Part I Strategic Marketing

What is it they say about the best laid plans…? Well, no one saw COVID-19 coming, back when we were all finalizing our strategic marketing plans for 2020. And now, with a sudden and unexpected loss in revenue, many businesses are being forced to consider how to realign resources in order to maintain their visibility and engagement with customers in this unprecedented environment.

Know Your Audience

I have previously written about the death of the sales funnel and the emergence of the marketing flywheel. Click here for a refresher. To effectively communicate to your ideal customer using the flywheel approach, you need to understand what is currently impacting their business.

In the current economic environment, many businesses are being buffeted by significantly constricted cash flows and the challenges of maintaining payroll. However, some businesses are thriving. For example, while most restaurants are seeing devastating revenue loss as the public shelters in place at home, the pizza industry is going gangbusters. Pizza Hut announced it is looking to fill 30,000 positions nationwide. Papa John’s announced it is adding another 20,000 workers, and Domino’s said it is looking for 1,000 new workers across 100 stores – just in the Chicagoland area. This is why it is important to know your audience. Is your ideal customer thriving or struggling? How you answer this question will guide your communications.

Nobody knows how much longer COVID-19 will continue to roil the global economy. My advice is to use this time to better understand what your ideal customer is currently facing. If you haven’t already done so, I highly encourage you to create a robust “buyer persona.” Buyer personae help you better understand your customers and prospects and make it easier for you to tailor your content, messaging, product development and services to their specific behaviors and concerns.

Your biggest mistake would be making an assumption about what is happening with your ideal customer. Many marketers make the error of using generic demographics like age, gender, location, and profession to develop their buyer personae. These data points simply don’t provide enough information to create messaging that resonates with your audience on an emotional level.

Here are a few quick tips you can take to build a strong buyer persona:

  • Use the acquisitions tab in Google Analytics to see which social media outlets, industry blogs and professional forums your site traffic comes from. Every customer action offers valuable insight into customer behavior.
  • Build custom forms on your website. Be sure to use fields that capture important personal data from your site visitors.
  • Solicit feedback from your sales team about the leads they’re interacting with most. What intelligence can they offer about the different types of customers you serve best?
  • Interview current customers to discover what they like about your product or service and how it is relevant to them during the COVID-19 crisis. Reach out to both happy and disgruntled customers. You want constructive feedback, not just positive feedback. Oftentimes, customers who are unhappy with your product will reveal other patterns that can help you form a solid understanding of your personae that you can leverage to refine your product or service offering.
  • Interview prospects. Your current prospects and leads are a great resource because you already have their contact information. When reaching out to prospects, be sure to make it clear that your communication is for research purposes and for not sales. If you have the available resources, I encourage offering incentives. Even small incentives give people a reason to respond if you don’t already have an established relationship. A simple gift card is an easy option.

Now that you have completed your detailed buyer persona, be certain to share your customer profile with your entire organization. Knowing the likes, dislikes, attitudes and habits of your personae will bring your operation closer to the ideal sales model, as well as make everyone’s job easier.

Based on the data you just compiled, it is time for you to evaluate how your product or service can better serve customers today. If I know that my ideal customer can’t afford to make payroll, my message is one of compassion; a promotional offer would be inappropriate. Now more than ever, businesses need to be strategic in their communications to positively impact revenue for months to come.

We understand that these are difficult and stressful times and we’d like to help by offering you a free website audit report. If one of your main goals is to drive more relevant traffic and provide a better user-friendly experience for your visitors, a website audit is a good place to start, as there are always ways you can improve.

To learn more about our free website audit report, please email Jonathan Ebenstein.

Coronavirus Resource Center

Have more questions about the impact of the coronavirus on your business? Visit Marcum’s Coronavirus Resource Center for up-to-date information.