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In this tumultuous time, we can agree on two things; there are knowns, and there are unknowns.
In both the pandemic itself and in a post-pandemic business world, unknowns cause panic and anxiety. While the best and brightest minds in medicine throughout the world will solve the healthcare challenge, the best and brightest minds in marketing should work to solve the marketing challenge.
The questions loom large: Will my funnel dry up? How will customers react? Will we have to reduce spend now and increase it later? What are my quickest times to impact? How can I accelerate deals? How is my brand or company going to rise above the noise? What are my competitors doing?
The questions are endless, but they don't have to remain unanswered. At this time, marketers and communicators should immediately rely on research, insights and optimization to fuel a strong post-pandemic marketing and communications strategy.
Here are four easy-to-implement, quick-to-conclusion steps marketers can take to formulate a winning post-pandemic plan in what will likely be a hyper-competitive marketplace:
Run a quick marketing mix modeling, including time lag, to optimize spend. Once a costly, long-to-insight function, MMM can now produce results in days or weeks. If you haven't run an MMM exercise in a while or never, now is the time. They allow you to discover the channels that produce the most impact so you can allocate funds properly. Brands that know which channels move the needle and move it the quickest will win.
Survey your customers. The pandemic may have permanently or temporarily changed how your customers see your business. Now is the time to learn how they think about your brand, how their purchasing mood may have changed and other insights that can help you formulate a post-pandemic strategy.
Post-pandemic messaging, content and creative testing. Your customer's attitude about your brand, and its place in the world, could very well change in a post-pandemic world. Based on informed insights like customer surveys, you may have to change messaging, content and creative to meet how your customers now think about your industry, brand or product.
Are you going to do it in a bubble? If not, you need to implement testing to ensure you don't miss the mark. Some brands will miss it hard. Don't be one of them.
Improve your industry and competitor insights. Your competitors are up to something and your industry may change, possibly forever. Marketers or communicators that don't monitor their industry and competitors in multiple channels are likely doing their entire organization a disservice, at best.
A post-pandemic world may be the same, or it may be different. You can't assume either. Therefore, the brands that invest in research, insights and optimization today will be the ones that accelerate the fastest in a post-pandemic world.
Brent Diggins is managing director of measurement and analytics and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.