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Acknowledged: we’re all worried about our businesses. But, if you’re still operating through the pandemic, cutting marketing may not be the best decision.  It’s time to review, rethink and re-optimize our efforts. This week’s issue helps to point the way.

MYMM the mag

Savoir Faire recently produced a print magazine we titled Make Your Marketing Matter, and here’s why we did it:

  • Print media and marketing is still effective for businesses, especially as an educational tool
  • A good part of the team has a print background and a love for print

The magazine is designed as a yearlong guide for small- and medium-size businesses, which typically require a variety of marketing support. It’s full of tips and ideas to move the needle on your current marketing efforts with concepts that fit pretty much every budget.

When we assembled the articles in late 2019, we didn’t anticipate the Coronavirus outbreak. However, one article from the magazine is particularly timely: Don’t Stop Marketing Even in a Recession. The articles are loaded with marketing tips and strategies for companies at every stage of marketing.

Would you like a complimentary copy for yourself? Just send an email with your mailing address and we’ll get one in the mail to you quickly!

Remote brainstorming

I was just commenting to a coworker over video chat that I miss that in-person catchup where colleagues chat about what’s going on in their lives, while we’re all working apart. Those little talks often unearth little nuggets of wisdom that we can use for content creation.

(Sigh.) For now, though, most of us are not physically in the same room, but we can still brainstorm some good stuff. If your brain has turned off storm mode, the Content Marketing Institute’s got your back with 25 – yes 25! – tools and ideas for remote brainstorming.

Here’s a few that we really dig:

  • One, offer a brainstorming brief the day before the scheduled session. We do this with our Savoir Faire Facebook posts and the chat dialogue is not only hilarious from the team but also really good content much of the time!
  • Two, use the improvisation concept of “Yes and …” to build on each other’s ideas. This allows for out-of-the-box concepts. After everyone gets a turn adding to the concept,  use a virtual whiteboard to categorize ideas, choose the best ones and create action items.
  • Three, remember pencil and paper still exist. When an idea can be helped by a quick doodle, diagram or flowchart, have some paper handy to sketch it out and instantly share with the team during a video call. (It helps that Savoir Faire’s designer is also an illustrator!)

Creative spending

For many companies these days, revenue flow has slowed or ceased. Cuts are being made in most every department. We get it. However, if your company can afford to keep marketing alive, we suggest doing so, which you can read more about in our recent blog post.

Tightening spending has also introduced an additional approval layer for some marketers, according to a new article in Digiday. Digital ads that were approved by marketing managers now go through a CEO, for example.

“Prior to the pandemic, my team had a lot of autonomy when it came to spending budgets, even the larger ones,” a senior marketer said in the article.

Plans that ran through a calendar or fiscal year are now getting revised sometimes on a weekly basis. There are concerns that money allocated for branding will go directly to business’ bottom line to defer losses.

Brand boosting

Behavior changes happened quickly once we began social distancing. We spend more time streaming shows, communicating with loved ones digitally, and using e-commerce for our daily essentials like food and toiletries, to name a few.

When we’re able to “be social” again, some of those behaviors may linger, says the Harvard Business Review, and brand marketers can begin preparing for that today. 

Be empathetic and transparent: This should go without saying, but people today will look right through a thinly-veiled attempt to just boost sales. Be more like beer brand Guinness that shifted its focus away from St. Patty’s Day celebrations and offered messages of longevity and wellbeing.

Share the good that’s happening: People remember brands for their acts of good in times of crisis when done with true heart and generosity. Once this passes, customers will recall how Ford, GE, and 3M partnered to repurpose manufacturing to make respirators and ventilators to fight the Coronavirus.

What’s the message

Brand marketing can be challenging in good times, and with this current pandemic, many companies are struggling with what to do and what messages to offer consumers – if any.

KelloggInsight offers a four-step process for marketers navigating the pandemic:

  • Press pause: Determine all of your current efforts, as some of them may be automated and sending out messages that are inappropriate or incongruent, considering the current reality. It’s time to pause those that don’t make sense in this climate. “A lot of people are complaining that they are seeing things from companies that don’t fit the moment,” says marketing professor Timothy Calkins in the article.
  • Rethink your spending: Marketers should be thinking about what their market will look like when the pandemic stops. “It’s not that you get through the pandemic and then everybody goes right back to doing what they were doing,” says Calkins. “People are still going to be staying home. They’ll be very cautious in their spending. As a brand leader, you’ve got to think about how—even after we get through this and things begin to ease up—we are going to begin restarting our business.”
  • Rework your messaging: This is tough as people are looking for a spirit boost but also your tone should be serious. There have been some instances of brands navigating this well, such as Nike encouraging “play at home,” and Jack Daniels talking about virtual get togethers. They’re staying on brand yet staying timely.
  • Remain forward looking: Whatever messaging you produce and release, make sure it is consistent with who you are and what your brand stands for.

Click reset

Ensure your campaigns are performing during this pandemic with a reset, says Forbes in a new article

Many businesses are currently experiencing a sharp dip in revenue, but even if your bottom line has only dipped a small percentage, it’s a good idea to reevaluate your marketing budget. For example, let’s say you spend 15% of your revenue in marketing costs related investments. If revenue just fell 50%, and your marketing budget stayed the same, your marketing investment just doubled to 30% of revenue. 

A bad idea would be cutting the marketing budget to nothing. No marketing means no new leads coming and no new revenue from those leads. 

Instead of completely cutting the marketing budget, do some analysis on the campaigns that are historically the most successful and keep those active. Look at the content in those campaigns to make sure the language is sensitive to the current climate. 

This may also be a good time to look at future marketing opportunities in business types outside your purview. If a lot of your business is to the food service industry, it may take a long time for those companies to get back to spending what they did before the pandemic.

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