The world is filled with surprises. While some of it may come as shock and awe, the show must go one. The whole world is battling the Corona pandemic which has resulted in some drastic changes worldwide. We are experiencing several shifts in today’s world whether we wish to adapt to it or not regardless of lifestyle, economy, or digital trends, the situation has affected us all. But, nothing’s permanent and neither is the current situation.
As a marketer, you not only have to deal with the personal aspects of a crisis but also deal with clients’ crisis as your own. It seems to be a dead-end sometimes with no escape but there are some tactics that can help ensure you a smooth patch. While the world is in the middle of a crisis, it can easily consume your work and personal life if you’re not careful. However, here are some survival tips for marketers that can help you to tackle the problem.
#1 Practicing Empathy
Empathy is a two-way street. First, we need to practice empathy with our clients. This is particularly for those working with sensitive industries during this time of crisis like hospitality, travel, etc. Unfortunately, cash flow for these industries has come to a near halt. While some agencies have been more fortunate than others depending on the industries they serve, the overall result has eventually shrunken contracts, employee furloughs, and even layoffs.
We’re all stuck in a loop facing problems that are also faced by our clients. Thus, it is important to support one another and have real conversations with them. Besides business, it is more important to be humble and understanding and use a tone of comforting. Something as simple as a gesture of concern can be soothing. This could be challenging as due to the lack of budget, you might have to re-negotiate client’s contracts for the time being then. Apart from that, clients may also suspend their contracts due to the lack of budget. Showing empathy toward one another in a crisis like this will put your business relationship forward in the future.
While is it important to give importance to your clients, it is equally important to empathize with yourselves too. Your mind space can be scattered in every direction with several thoughts about being proactive, reacting to the client’s changes, getting work done on time, etc. All this hustle and the amount of work, at full speed, for weeks can lead to Burnout. Thus, it is important to practice empathy for yourself, which is a priority for survival during this crisis. Give yourself a break from the work or the stress will catch up. Hence, remember to be kind to yourself, always.
#2 Pivoting Strategy
Given today’s scenario, every industry is showing signs of shifting strategy across different boards. The situation has witnessed an extreme shift in decreasing advertising costs as well as engagements. While some companies are taking advantage of this time of reduced competition to capture their market more efficiently, it is your creativity that can keep you ahead of the game. You have to think outside the box if you encounter any challenge such as halt in client budgets which can easily affect your business and your marketing strategy.
You should shift your focus on spending more time with benchmarking the current data, competitor research, and Quarterly business reviews (QBRs) instead of weekly optimizations and account management. These types of exploration will help you answer those tough questions concerning other advertisers in the industry and the situation with their sales cycle. If you’re worried about the content you must update to portray a thought-leadership brand instead of promotion during the pandemic or if you’re concerned about the shift in user behavior in the industry. Users are more engaged with window-shopping during these times. Hence, the shift in advertising strategy may not see strong leads right away in this time of uncertainty.
While there is a gap between you and your consumer due to the restrictions, you can still engage with them to keep the end-user engaged and keeps your brand at top of their mind for the future. The bottom line is that work can always be done behind the scenes even if there is no advertising spend. Opting for a strategy that takes the front seat during these times can help reap benefits in a future growing economy.
#3 Being Proactive
Being proactive moves abreast with practicing empathy which means you should empathize with your clients while being proactive with them. Since your clients are likely to be pulled in all directions right now due to the demand in engagement, your marketing skill should be unmatched during a crisis. Here are some tips on how you can be proactive:
- You should check-in with your client daily either through email or phone.
- You should be extra mindful of your accounts.
- Revisiting your automated bidding strategies is a must.
- Brainstorming quite often can bring new ideas to the table.
- Reviewing search terms should be done more often for crisis-sensitive subjects.
- And finally, you should always keep a check on your competition.
Your clients are relying on you to be the experts in your field now more than ever. Hence, it is time to take charge of your optimizations from “auto-pilot”. It is crucial to update your campaign settings and bids to adjust to the new current market if you had more aggressive goal targets earlier. Do not wait for the right time to pitch the ideas you had in mind since businesses everywhere are looking to get creative with their marketing efforts. You’d be surprised to see for yourself the ideas that may come to life.
#4 Re-Mastering Your Skill Set
The pandemic has put a halt to all the activities outside and as if pressed a reset button on us. However, it has given also given us sufficient time to polish our skill set in a safe and healthy environment. As a marketer, it is a perfect time to immerse yourself in creating different types of reports for your clients and presenting them with creative strategies. You can also read about the automated strategies in Google and practice laying out a strategy to use them for your clients. It’ll boost a sense of confidence and create a positive impact on your clients as well. Being a marketer, you may suddenly be flooded with an extra amount of non-client hours.
It’s easy to mentally check out if client hours have been cut. This is where you can spend your time re-mastering your skill-sets. However, knowing how to begin is the trick. However, I have listed a few recommendations to keep your skills sharp during this time:
- You can go through those PPC blogs in your email folder. You might have a folder of 200+ blog posts that you may have promised yourself to finish every weekend.
- You might also want to obtain your updated Google and Microsoft Ads certifications.
- Head to Twitter and follow along on weekly chats with other marketers such as #PPCChat, #PPCtrends, etc.
- You can also practice the skills you need to re-master on real accounts.
#5 Learning a New Skill
I remember my good friend telling me last month. There should be three things you must have after this lockdown. The first one he told me was to get a new hobby like cooking, music, etc. Second, he stressed upon better health and finally, a new skill for my professional endeavors, and I think nothing makes more sense. Developing a new skill may be a no-brainer but surprisingly it is very often overlooked during a situation when you have extra time. Now, I don’t mean to imply that failing to do any three of the above will designate your time as wasted but following these will bring out the best in you.
You can pursue your passion and explore your interests that can professionally give you a boost. This means if you have extra time during an advertising lull, you must take full advantage of it. There are vast free resources including the Beginner’s Guide to SEO if you’re primarily versed in PPC. There is certainly free content out there that can connect you with endless virtual communities and other marketers during this time. Introducing yourself to others in your field can form a relationship from it.
We are all experiencing different emotions during this time of crisis. While some of us have to balance our work and life amid all this, there are small gestures among fellow professionals that can make a big difference. Since most marketers are working from home it can be difficult to navigate, let alone separate, work, and personal all in one space. Hence, we need to share empathy with such people or life will be more difficult. It is okay to incline on each other a little, be it your employees, clients, or your virtual peers. Survival during a crisis cannot be an independent effort either professionally or in personal life. Hence, focusing on your clients’ needs while being proactive and flexible, hopefully, we all come out it stronger and help each other during the current crisis.