How a Global Crisis Made Us Better Marketers

  • Categories:

    Strategy

  • Date:

    September 30, 2020

How a Global Crisis Made Us Better Marketers



Strategy

Each quarter, I update my business planner to reflect the previous quarter’s accomplishments and carry over tasks for the upcoming quarter. As I completed this task to close out the third quarter of a difficult year, I realized my carryover list was significantly shorter than usual. Which begged the question:

Despite the challenges of 2020, are we actually getting better at what we do?

My take: In these times of crisis, marketers have been forced to take a closer look at everything, shifting to new ways of thinking, operating and triaging for the unexpected. It’s tested our resolve and our companies’ resolve, but it’s also sharpened our strategies and strengthened our creative muscle.

Reinventing Day-to-Day Business

The COVID-19 pandemic. Protests. Financial market swings. A looming election. Together, these factors have created a seismic shift for most businesses. And in this age of reduced physical presence and direct human interaction, we’ve had to create new routines, approaches and virtual environments to accomplish goals. As a result, we’ve found new efficiencies. Galvanized our skills. Experienced amazing transformations in the way we get things done.

In many cases, we’ve adopted modern tools and technologies such as chat, online collaboration and file sharing — simple tools that aren’t necessarily new yet were widely adopted out of necessity. Sans organic, in-person conversations, we must now meticulously plan every virtual meeting. This, in turn, means greater scrutiny of time spent and team members needed, often equaling fewer people and tighter agendas. Given the nature of virtual interaction, we may find ourselves leaning in, actively listening and carefully tracking action items … all with the realization that we may not have access to team members who once sat across the hall from us.

Also worth considering? The camaraderie that, thanks to a regular rhythm of group gatherings, we’ve perhaps taken for granted must now be realized through a much more deliberate approach. I know this shift has made me, for one, a better and more thoughtful leader.

Have these changes, among countless others, made us all more empathetic, conscientious and, consequently, more efficient?

In the current environment, more purposeful connections are stemming from the need to keep the cadence of work moving, as well as a heightened sensitivity to top-of-mind issues such as values, inclusion, diversity, collaboration and purpose. And while we are questioning everything around us, we are also reinventing how we use our time. We are being forced to explore, experiment and innovate.

Perhaps this evolution has made us more open-minded and creative. And, with the convergence of being more thoughtful about what we do, how we interact and how we approach our day, entirely new and better ways of conducting our personal and work lives are emerging.

The Impact of Reinvention

As business leaders and marketers, so much of what we knew were best practices have been actualized and amplified by current times:

  • Adoption of more efficient technologies and online communication vehicles
  • Purposeful, action-oriented interactions with stakeholders to assure alignment
  • More deliberate focus on connection, commerce and collaboration
  • Rethinking operations to do more with fewer resources
  • Leaning into the mindsets, motivations and sensitivities of all audiences during a time of massive change
  • Transforming go-to-market business models to build a better customer interface
  • Pivoting to a more future-focused mindset

Meanwhile, companies are accomplishing goals long relegated to the backburner. Introducing services. Streamlining pricing models. Improving case studies. Refreshing websites. Reinforcing already strong partnerships.

Here are a few examples of the evolution impacting marketing:

  • The realization of once-future state initiatives such as pricing model software, online demonstrations, e-commerce and Amazon offerings
  • Reinvention of lead generation programs
  • Closer scrutiny of creative messaging and adaptation for greater transparency, empathy and humanity
  • Amplified customer service efforts, centered on empathy and flexibility

Perhaps at least partly because we’ve spent more time at home in 2020, there’s a new, collective sense of reality and relatability. Good marketers, in turn, are realigning their messaging with renewed values and customer priorities to truly get at the “why” of current purchasing behavior and decisions.

Overall, marketers are evolving to a better place in the face of unprecedented challenges. 2020 has forced us all to do better. Be better. And it’s a good thing. Because while some of these changes may be temporary, most will be permanent.

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