Among manufacturers, especially closely-held companies in the $5 million-$50-million range, there’s a...
Join the Movement #marketingmustgoon
During a crisis like the one we're in right now, this is, more than ever, the time to communicate. We need to continue to bring our brands to the forefront for our people, our customers, and stakeholders. We can and must continue to make meaningful connections and have meaningful conversations, meeting them where they are, digitally.
At Levy, we decided to continue and increase our inbound campaigns. We hear the same from others as well.
Here's why: Someone in our staff meeting yesterday morning talked about a well-known brand that invested during the grand depression. They kept at it while everyone else gave up and ended up on top when the market came back. If we can articulate a fun/new message, this is perhaps an oasis in a sea of gloom, and it may be picked up by someone that may become our next most significant client. This particular phenomenon happened to me twice in my career.
The challenge for all of us is to focus on what we can influence and prepare for the future.
Here are several tips:
- Fix the leaking bucket. Cash is king. Focus on profitable and strategic relationships. No time for "sacred cows." Save as much as you can for marketing. Find somewhere less to cut first, if possible.
- This is the new normal. We need to adjust to it. We're going to be in "social separation" mode for a while. Significant trade events and face to face meetings are going to be tough on most people's minds. Reconsider your business model, specifically the part that is customer-facing. Strangely enough, the fact is that people have more time now to consider new ideas and prepare for their return to normal in a few weeks or months. We need to reach out to them NOW!
- Make at least one new connection per day. That's 200 per year. Out of these, a few new clients might emerge.
Compassion, Leadership and Instant Gratification
What do we talk about and how we speak to them has changed. Let's start with Compassion: As some of you may know, my wife and I had plans to go to Montreal in June. Not surprisingly, the organization canceled the event and is refunding us. We will go next year, but we will not use the same well-known apartment rental company. When we booked, the fine print said "no refund after X days," and the company refused to make an exception, even partially given the pandemic crisis.
We used that company for years, as millions of others do. Technically, they're right from a legal point of view. However, emotionally, their lack of Compassion ended up in brand damage and loss of future opportunities. They could have issued a small credit, but no. As a result, I canceled my account, and they lost a customer for life.
How can we avoid this in our businesses? First, by having Compassion at all levels of our customer-facing team. Let them do the "right thing to do" with simple guard rails. It's OK.
If your organization still uses scripts and canned messages, it's time to bring the process to the next level. What we all need right now is Empathy in our messaging.
Next, I would like to talk about leadership in times of crisis. It's in times like this that leaders emerge out of management ranks. Those that can see beyond today and figure out how to lead themselves, their teams, and their customers toward the new normal.
Ask this question in your next staff meeting: How do we pivot our businesses to overcome circumstances and place bets on promising futures? It is often during our quest for the next best thing that we find the next leaders in our team. Watch for volunteers that are resilient, agile, have grit, and motivated.
Lastly, let's talk about "instant gratification" in B2B. I've been watching this underlying trend for quite some time, and it seems to be accelerating: "If we do not provide an answer reasonably quickly, meaning within the hour or day for most of us, someone else will."
Think of it as a "perfect storm" with Demographics, Technology & Pandemic.
On the demographic front, close to 40% of the working population is now under 38. Generally speaking, their expectation of a "shopping experience" from their B2B vendors seem to be similar to what they're used to at home: Instant.
The technology exists for straight forward purchasing decisions like office supplies. Market places are emerging for the more complex, technical sales with AI and other tools.
The current pandemic taught us to be creative, working together virtually to make an intricate design or purchase decision.
I believe that this trend will accelerate. The critical question: Are we ready for "instant gratification"?
In closing, the "perfect storm" we see right now calls for a business model level challenge as it impacts every aspect of your operations from customer-facing to supply chain.
#marketingmustgoon. Join the movement.
In a world where the majority of business has shifted into a digital space, tracking your marketing performance...