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The coronavirus lockdown in the UK is now making its first signs of winding down, with some businesses starting to open up as we all begin to adjust to the new normal.
The question I am frantically trying to work out is how best we should all approach marketing, as budgets gets squeezed and we start to adjust to this new normal?
A month ago, I wrote an in-depth piece about how topivot your marketing in a Coronavirus period just after the lockdown came into force.
I argued that businesses were going to cut back on their marketing in the short term as market demand falls and inevitably tightens, as customers will either have less money or have less confidence to spend as much as they did before the pandemic hit.
The real challenge arrives as the lockdown starts to lift and companies want to reengage with their audiences. They might find that the marketing strategies open to them before lockdown are not quite as effective now.
I made the point that whilst this period would be hard, it is also a huge opportunity for those businesses who take the time to really focus their attention on creating valuable content for their audience.
This means thinking about your audience, working out how best you can solve their problems and then creating content which aligns your company to their pain points.
Now that lockdown is starting the wind down (a moving state of play), my attention has moved towards isolating the few key steps businesses can take in order to maximise their ROI in the current climate.
For example, I used the lockdown period to completely redesign my website, to better align my site towards particular keywords and to move me towards a more content lead marketing approach.
Now that I have done this, the challenge for me is to understand which key steps I can take to help me stand out from the competition and get new leads in a smaller, increasingly more competitive market.
In other words, what can I practically do to improve my usefulness?
I see overcoming this challenge as the key battleground for all UK businesses over this year.
Businesses will need to be much better at providing value and being useful for them to survive. That might mean completely changing their approach to online marketing to be more central to their business priorities.
They need to adapt to an increasingly online first world, which means solving customer pain points and having to take a more content lead, lead generation approach to marketing.
As a lot of companies tighten their belts to save costs, those that do head in this content lead direction will start to survive as other businesses gets squeezed over the next year.
If coronavirus has taught us anything, it is that online is becoming more important than ever, therefore your ranking on Google is also becoming more important than ever.
Get ahead on Google, and you are far more likely to be in a position to survive. Orientating your business towards this marketing approach will ensure you survive and thrive after the pandemic passes.
For me, this means really stepping up the quality content my team create around key marketing problems.
It also means creating a lot more free content so I can build an audience I can speak to, and create enough value for them that those readers then turn into customers.
This approach might sound counterintuitive as other businesses cut their marketing costs to save money, but I see this as the only way to really ride the storm and come out the other side smiling.
A slowdown is inevitable, simply cutting back and hoping things improve soon is not a productive approach to business. Especially as we don’t know how long a downturn might last and how deep it might be.
Ultimately, it is those businesses who can adapt and innovate in the current climate who are going to do best, it is up to business leaders to work out what that innovation looks like and take the challenge head on.
A proactive customer centric approach to marketing is the answer, the question for all businesses leaders is how best to apply this approach to their business to thrive in their market.