What we go through will change the face of digital marketing and help shape our story. Wait a second.
It was probably a mess this year. It all started very well. But here in the US, 2020 started to derail not long after the New Year, when the COVID-19 pandemic made the news and invaded our lives.
Everyone I spoke to, from clients to friends and family, was a bit distracted today by the economy, work problems, social unrest, the world situation, family health crises, or national politics.
I can identify with these people because I am one of them. I strive to write what to write for you. We are in a pandemic. Election day is in a few weeks, but we’re not done yet. We are entering the biggest sales season of the year and no one knows what to expect.
All of these things are enough to undermine our marketing creativity. Now that they’re all together, engaged in the endless battle with COVID-19, it’s no wonder many of us find it boring for the market and creative thinking.
What used to take a few days now takes twice as long due to distraction, stress, and anxiety. When I was a national trader I had enough stress and anxiety to get through this time of year. I can’t imagine having to work effectively in our current circumstances.
So what do we do in the midst of this chaos? Today it is easily described as an endless fire of waste. But it is also one of the most unique experiences our marketers have ever had and will determine what our work and worldview will look like in the future.
Four ways to refocus and penetrate
This is a tough question and this time I don’t have the right answers for everyone. But maybe these four tips will help you stay in the game.
1. Be empathetic
If “personalization” were the word of the year in 2019, then “empathy” should take the cake in 2020. And it is not a cliché or virtue to say that this year we discovered the need for empathy. It should always have been the foundation of our marketing, but this year we need it more than ever.
Empathy is what will guide us, whether in politics, in a pandemic, in the economy, or otherwise. Our job as a marketer is to understand what is happening in the marketplace and with customers and to convey a message that compels people to act in these circumstances.
Without empathy, without understanding someone’s position, fear, or fear, we are paralyzed.
This can be difficult. We all have our concerns, fears, tensions, and concerns. Do we need to think about other people now and what’s going on? This is one of the reasons many of us are exhausted.
I’ve already talked about the need to watch the evening news and I know it’s a struggle, especially when the news leads you to throw something on the screen. But it is one of the ways to find empathy, to see what our customers see and experience.
The other way is to reach our best teams: our customer service teams. Read what they hear from customers. What do they say? What do they ask? What are your problems? What do they think can speak louder than words: Are conversations friendly or contradictory? Or do they understand problems better?
Also, contact your social media team. How about a message asking customers how they feel or feel? The answers can provide insights you wouldn’t otherwise get.
As marketers, we need to be even more empathetic and creative to understand what’s happening to our customers outside of our channel experience.
2. End the role of destruction. Turn off the TV. Cancel social media notifications on your phone.
I have four TV screens in my office and everyone is listening to the news. However, I mostly agree with my TVs to watch beach videos on YouTube.
Even though I do not watch the news all day, it still surrounds me. It surrounds us all. We are inundated with opinions and the latest updates. It can be overwhelming.
Yes, I say you should watch the news. But check it once a day and then move on to something else. You need to take a break. Your mind needs balance. If you can find balance, peace, you are in the right space.
You’ve probably heard someone say, ‘Keep your head on the line’. The problem is that our heads are now in 12 different games. If you turn off social media every now and then and limit your TV consumption, you will rest.
3. Check the well-being of your teams
Not just your marketing team, but other people you work with regularly. It’s harder to do in the Zoom / Hangout / Skype room, but it’s important. We went to lunch for the first time or after work (remember those days?). It now takes time to connect. But it’s important to make this effort to connect with your team and see how it works for everyone.
The dynamics of the repetition of the work have changed. Managers, supervisors, and managers need to establish more personal and empathetic contacts than ever before.
But that does not mean that we should 1. multiply. Just as you need to be creative when researching your customers, you can take the team’s temperature and ask, “How are you?”
My wife’s company had a fitness challenge for Halloween. She and a friend signed up to run a 5K and engage their CMO. In the days before the race, they shared training, practice, and celebration after the race.
This is one of the unique ways smart managers can connect their teams, and I appreciate the connection.
4. Update your models and diversify them
Modeling and data are the keys to your success. In a recent webinar with Shar VanBoskirk of Forrester, a brilliant analyst, and long-awaited person, she asked herself how marketers can explain all the different scenarios happening today. His answer was that many companies use different models based on different scenarios.
Whether you are a Fortune 50 or Fortune 10,000 business, you have to roll the dice in different scenarios, not only for your customers but also for what is going on around you.
Does your model take into account the closure of the city to combat the pandemic? This means that stores can be closed again. Develop different models and create some war games based on your business. What levers can you use to help affected companies?
I would be happy if we are normal again, no matter what. I do not know when this is going to happen. I keep thinking that we are on the right track and then something else happens that confuses us again.
The confusion, tension, and anxiety of trying to enter the market on an uncertain holiday – or of trying to make plans for the future – does not disappear quickly. We need to change what we do and find ways to make our job easier.
Regardless of the setback, do what you can to find your peace of mind and also the solution to the work that awaits you. You are not alone. You do not see it now, but in the coming years, digital marketing will change through what we live. Help us shape our history.