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22 April 2020

Survive & Thrive in a Crisis

Survive & Thrive in a Crisis - The Value Engine

A Plan for Marketeers & Innovators

.“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger—but recognise the opportunity.” ― John F. Kennedy

Part 1 of 3 – The big picture & short term actions

Recession looms, confidence evaporates, budgets are slashed – it’s not a pretty picture but it’s one which most business owners and leaders are confronting. In this 3-part blog series I’ll share a few of my thoughts on how businesses can manage the crisis and seize the opportunity in the short, medium and long term.

So, to give a sneak preview, here are the three blogs in the series:

Part 1: The short term – work smart, do more for less, adapt to the current environment.

Part 2: The medium term – How are your customers redefining value?

Part 3: How to create the next big thing for your business?

Today we’ll set the scene and then look at immediate actions.

Lessons from history

Recessions are tough, but history shows that those who invest in the recession do best in the long term. However, you have to survive and cash is king. Smart marketeers and innovators need to balance the needs of today with the longer term aims. It’s fair to say that the Marketing Director, Finance Director and Operations Director, all will have subtly different takes on the crisis, which I’ve shown in the diagram below. As smart marketing & innovation experts you need to propose plans which grasp the size of the immediate challenge and present a long term route for value creation which is credible to other functions in the business.

Fortunately, we can learn from previous economic shocks. The diagram below shows the types of mindset which are likely to be present within businesses. Understanding these allows you to plan your actions to fit with this bigger picture.

So – now with the big picture set, here are my recommended short term ideas.

Work smart, adapt and do more for less

1. What needs to be protected, what needs investment?

Let’s talk about a real-life example. In 2008 Land Rover showcased the LRX concept which became the Range Rover Evoque, which at launch in 2011 swiftly became their best-selling model with over 12,000 pre orders at launch. At the same time the business shelved some key marketing programs such as the global G4 adventure challenge.

At the point of investment in this model, the very survival of the business was in question. In this case, the company’s decision to hold it’s nerve looks like a very good call 10 years down the line.

In your business there will be key areas which require continued investment, for example don’t stop your SEO work for 12 months and watch your competitors take your great search listings just as a recovery starts.

2. What can be cut?

Are there nice to haves which are taking valuable budget, for example you may have activities which internal teams love, but do not create value for the customer. In this situation having clear metrics for your channels and activities, so you know your best and worst performers, pays off. Look again at things you have always done but don’t necessarily have the data to support continued investment.

3. What external changes present immediate opportunities?

i)     Digital advertising:

  • Attention is up
  • Competition is down
  • Engagement is up
  • Conversion is down

May be a good time to carefully considering bolstering your digital investment?

ii)    Assets for zoom sales calls

Support your remote sales teams with great assets and demos. With more sales teams relying on zoom, this is your opportunity to build the bridge between sales and marketing by building great virtual sales tools quickly.

iii)  Publish useful video content

Video consumption is going through the roof in this crisis and videographers are looking for work. Therefore, create video to address customers immediate needs, far better for sharing on your social media than running pre crisis sales content. Note – don’t forget those social distancing guidelines whilst making your films ?

4. What’s your Covid19 lead nurture journey?

We know the prospects are still out there, however conversion will take longer. It’s never been more important to have strong lead nurture journey to engage the customer with the right message, at the right time and on the right channel. It’s fair to say that those who have invested in good CRM processes and marketing automation have a head start here.

5. Adapt the message

I’ll cover this one in depth in the 2nd part of this series but it’s too important not to touch on here. A couple of questions to think about:

·        Are the messages which you were using pre crisis still appropriate or relevant?

·        How can you show empathy for your customers and be a supportive solution for them?

·        How can you tangibly demonstrate your value to customers?

More on this one in part two on this blog series.

Many thanks for reading, the next blog in the series; How are your customers redefining value will be coming soon.

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