How to Adapt Your Marketing Process to COVID-19:
6 Measures for CMOs

May 13, 2020 | Article | Muthulakshmi Sengottuvel

The current COVID-19 situation has compelled CMOs around the world to rethink their marketing strategy. Here are six significant steps we see marketing leaders implementing in these trying times. Also, listed are the metrics and plans that can help you validate if your efforts are successful.

1. Empathize and communicate with your customers

Customers are feeling vulnerable right now and would respond positively to companies who can understand their situation and not mindlessly focus on promoting their products or services. Communicating about helpful information and resources, they most need now would go a long way in reassuring them and earning their loyalty.

Metrics to track:

  • Number of positive messaging communicated to your customers
  • Quality of the messaging, based on customer feedback
  • Number of views and click-throughs

2. Manage costs and increase productivity

Given the extent of the crisis we are facing, marketers should immediately reevaluate their performance, identify areas of inefficiency, and work on optimizing those areas. Understanding where the money is actually getting spent and how efficiently it contributes towards generating revenue is very important. Eliminating unproductive and overlapping agencies helps in shifting the focus and resources on efficient channels.

Metrics to track:

  • Validate the spend on each channel or agency and assess budget against results
  • Overall operational efficiency

3. Understand and react to the shift in customer behavior

In these challenging times, customer motivations and related responses are rapidly changing. Getting a handle on that is the key to having a loyal audience. CMO’s and marketing leaders should track customer behavior against a backdrop of global sentiments. They should also use monitoring tools to understand how the customers are reacting to the crisis and their company’s response to it in traditional and social media. Implementing this will help avoid any negative scenarios.

Plan for:

  •  Dashboard to indicate customer behavior changes and emerging demands

4. Devise a sound Digital Marketing program

With the mandate of physical distancing, the traditional way of marketing is making a shift Online. This means a massive change in everything from resource allocation to the way you sell. Marketers need to focus their spending on digital channels and continually monitor performance. Quick reallocation of resources based on performance reports is also necessary. CMO’s should look to invest in content and account-based marketing. As physical events are out of the question, customer engagement has shifted to online activities like webinars and online panel events.

Plan for:

  • A three to six months roadmap for post-COVID digital marketing transformation
  • Define metrics that validate your marketing strategy

5. Prepare marketing teams for going digital

Marketing teams should be trained and equipped to handle the switch from traditional to digital marketing. Change is never easy, and with marketers working remotely, the level of difficulty is more than ever. Engaging with an at-home audience needs new strategies. Marketers should plan campaigns based on those values of their brands that are suitable for the current circumstances and can resonate with their customer base. CMO’s need to adjust their marketing plans to emphasize products and services that best fit online channels and deliver on-message campaigns that resonate with the audience.

Metrics to track:

  • Percentage of marketing teams trained in remote working and digital marketing
  • Number of training sessions enabling your team to make the transition

6. Plan for the new normal

Though its normal to focus on survival strategy during a crisis, marketing leaders should think ahead and get ready for the turnaround. CMO’s should rethink their companies’ value proposition to customers and reevaluate which products and services can best deliver on that value proposition. Adjusting to changes, real-time, based on rapid testing of consumer behavior, needs to be the norm. New demand models and media plans need to be made to thrive in the current marketplace. Marketers should consider taking a broader view of the customers and map their decision-making process to gain insights into emerging customer needs.

Our list of proactive steps will guide you in finding the best marketing strategy to navigate through this new situation.

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