Marketing is never one for the weak of hearts. It’s true. By any measure, marketing is never an easy job. Identifying a target market and turning each one into a paying customer takes courage, not to mention a host of specific skills. Creating long-term cash streams that grow by leaps and bounds can easily overwhelm any newbie marketing team. It’s no accident seasoned marketing teams have taken the lead. And yet, many, if not most, have shown a crack in their armor when the virus hit the town.
It’s easy for us to run our actions by instinct. A long time ago, when our hunter ancestors meet a threat, such as a predatory tiger, either they fight, flee, or worse, freeze. And it may be the same when the virus threatened our very existence. Many marketing teams of small and big corporations failed to respond properly to the pandemic. Well, it’s an unprecedented phenomenon, we agree. But taking a lesson or two from these mishaps should be key in moving stronger forward. Or it will be all for naught.
Failing to Get a Better Grasp of the Situation
It’s a normal response to perceived danger. And we still do it up to this day. When we see a dog growling at us, our body’s natural reaction is the fight-flee-freeze course of action.
It’s survival at its most basic. A threat will trigger hormonal changes and physiological ones as well. Your heart beats faster, and you feel an adrenaline rush. In short, you’re primed for action.
In a sense, this is why a police siren is effective in combating crime. First stop, it leads every criminal in the area to stop doing an evil deed. As a result, the evildoer either flees, freezes or fights. Plus, it sends a loud message to everyone that help has arrived. Even better, a police siren allows the police to gain the right of the way quickly to stop crimes faster.
And this may have been the case for marketers at the onset of the pandemic. When the chaos started, most marketing teams based their decision-making on internal data.
A nationwide CMO survey done in June 2020 shows marketers focused their attention inwards instead of looking outwards. Results show 82.6% based their decisions on team members, 80.8% rely on top management, while 70.1% turn to the sales team.
On the other hand, only 59% researched customers and 53% turn to website analytics. Also, only 50% study the competition.
All this may have been spurred by the exigencies of the situation facing a problem of COVID-19 scale. The need to act immediately won the day for many. But this means the majority of these decisions are done partly blind and therefore prone to oversights and mistakes.
Forgetting Customer Acquisition
Again, owing to all the panic that ensued, marketing teams lost focus on acquiring new customers. The survey shows 65% of the marketing teams had faith in their customers. But there were only 14% of these teams rank finding new clients a top priority.
Instead, retaining old customers become the #1 focus for 33% of them. Another key focus that got the nod of 33% of the marketers is building brand equity.
Thus, while there was reasonable action to reach out to captive clients, most failed to contact leads.
Failure to Experiment Strategies
Marketing actions will have their consequences, whether we like it or not. That is acceptable. As marketing teams felt the heat at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in midyear 2020, the need to pivot is highest. There has to be something we can do as the market ropes tighten.
It’s easy to lose sight of the essentials when many businesses are closing. And by no small measure. As Fortune details, over 100,000 businesses that had to shut down temporarily due to the virus are now totally out of business. Such a scenario had never been heard before.
It’s within this backdrop that many marketing teams changed their marketing approaches to see their organization survive. They wanted to act fast.
While they improvised their marketing tactics, the majority failed to experiment with their approaches. Specifically, they failed to vary their approaches and check for effects. As a result, they failed to arrive at a better marketing approach. Of the survey, only 31% experimented on their marketing plans.
All this only shows there are certain aspects in marketing that can be approved. Taking a lesson or two from all these can make the experience worth it. And make us better in the future.