Tips and Tools for Marketing in Uncertain Times
By Samantha Williams
Marketers are trying to tread a fine line between sharing useful content and provoking a negative response from the audience. Right now, every communication can feel like a risk.
A misstep, even well-intentioned, can result in a flood of unsubscribes, bad press and potentially lost business. Yet it’s crucial to talk to your customers as regularly (if not more) than before.
We all need to market in ways that resonate with customers who are anxious, stressed and sensitive. Because on the flip side, there’s huge scope to help customers safely navigate a path through COVID-19.
It’s a balancing act we’re dealing with at Salesforce – so we’re asking ourselves and our customers how we can get marketing right.
Here are some of the challenges and tips that can help us meet our audiences’ needs today.
1. Listening and reacting
It can be tempting to send blanket communications to customers and prospects during a crisis. But this runs the risk of alienating the audience; people want to be spoken to and dealt with as individuals. This isn’t the time to predict how people are feeling.
We’ve found that making an effort to understand how customers are thinking can reap rewards. Effective marketing meets people where their needs are – and during COVID-19, those could be any number of things.
So we’ve found the most powerful way to understand our customers is encouraging them to talk, finding out their needs, and then responding. This is a great way to build customer trust, and gain valuable insights to help you sharpen your marketing messages.
Marketing teams that analyse, segment and act on their customer data can hone communication to individuals. You can create empathetic and personal touchpoints when you’re needed most.
The best way to do that?
2. Engaging in real-time
Often, marketing that arrives after the fact looks dated and misinformed – and is more likely to trigger a negative response and tarnish your brand. An automated marketing program that would’ve worked two months ago may be a liability today. With world events changing by the day, fast and accurate customer engagement is key to staying relevant and helpful.
We’ve found channels that make it easy to have real-time interactions help to mitigate these challenges. We’ve already touched on how important it is to create personal touchpoints with our audiences.
Real-time conversations help to humanise your brand – customers feel more at ease speaking directly to another person. And right now, that’s a feeling marketers want to be evoking in their customers
It’s also easy to fall into ad-hoc responses across channels and personnel. This can lead to disjointed and unfocused marketing. Take time to think about consistency in your messaging – then create a central hub to order and unify your marketing messages.
Under our Social Studio solution on Salesforce Care, which is free for 90 days, you can go live with Social Studio in a matter of hours to start spotting trends, analysing sentiment and engaging on social channels in real-time.
3. Making it easy to market from home
When you take care of your employees, they can take care of marketing. With remote working in full effect, it’s vital to take extra steps to make sure your marketing team’s fully engaged.
Marketing has never mattered more. Your team needs to be firing on all cylinders – yet they’re now working in an environment full of potential obstacles.
Finding ways to encourage and implement collaboration is a powerful way to keep marketing teams on-mission. Bring a sense of purpose and clarity by storing your goals, progress and wins in one place that’s accessible from anywhere.
Customers aren’t the only ones facing anxiety and uncertainty; take the time to mitigate the potential pitfalls facing your team. Create your own empathetic interactions – over communicate, encourage breaks, offer learning opportunities.
Get your marketers in the frame of mind to help customers. And that starts by helping them.
Leading Through Change
These are just a handful of the tips and practices we’ve found helpful when marketing amid constant change.
Everyone faces their own challenges – but we’re striving (and will continue to strive) to find more ways to help our customers and stakeholders work through COVID-19.