The optimist’s marketing plan for pessimistic times

Director + B2B Marketing Consultant - The Marketing Project

I’m a glass-half-full type of person.

I try not to dwell on things I can’t control, and I’m good at focusing on what needs to be done and not holding onto ideas that aren’t going anywhere.

In previous tough times, like the GFC, this attitude has got me through. It’s also been the driving force behind the growth of my niche B2B marketing agency.

But I have to admit, I’m feeling a little depleted at the moment.

Despite some all-time ‘digging deep’ and ‘taking advantage of the opportunities, I’m now in a bit of a funk – and by the conversations I’m having with other business owners, I’m definitely not alone.

So to get that glass looking full again, I’m going back to what works for me – and it might work for you too.

Why it’s important to take action, not just strategise

I talk a lot about what to DO with your B2B marketing because I believe that taking action – whatever you can manage – is the best way forward right now. Businesses that market themselves in a downturn have a better chance of staying in business and even achieving growth.

But it’s also important to be honest. If we really are #inthistogether, it’s important to share unfiltered feelings and experiences. Real human connection can’t be made through a mask (the irony of that statement is not lost on me).

Every step – even the tiny ones – move us forward and give us that feeling of achievement. So in the face of such uncertainty, disruption and negativity, let’s take some action.

Given that B2B marketing is where my knowledge is, I’ll outline a process of what I think you should be doing right now from a marketing perspective. I hope it helps provide some guidance and focus for you.

Take action

1. Assess your resources

This should be the first thing you look at – and arguably the most important. How much time and budget do you currently have to work with?

You need to carve out enough to put together sustainable activity for the next three months that’s intense enough to move you forward.

2. Refresh your audience knowledge

Now’s a good time to review who your primary and secondary audience segments are. What does their industry look like at the moment? Are they national or state-based organisations?

If they’re national, you’ll need to consider different messaging for Victoria versus the remaining states. You’ll need to consider different approaches based on whether or not they’ve been hit by the latest lockdowns and the general outlook.

This may mean you’re juggling different messaging and channels – but it’s important to get this right, especially at the moment when people are more sensitive about the messages they’re receiving.

3.  Set some temporary goals

We all know that cash – i.e. sales – is king at the moment, but it’s important to be realistic too. Are your audience spending at the moment, and is your product a priority?

I’m certainly not telling you to stop trying to sell your product – but don’t push all your resources into bottom-of-funnel sales goals right now. Take a renewed look at your top and mid-funnel goals, and focus some of your resources there. Now’s the time to be building credibility and getting stuck in your audience’s mind for when times are a little better and they have budgets to spend again.

Here are a few ideas for enriching this crucial part of your marketing.

Top of funnel

Put a big focus on developing an insightful top-of-funnel content plan. This is content designed to attract attention, not sell. Be informative, helpful or entertaining. Use a few of the social channels you’re already on – keep it to one or two if you’re running on a tight budget.

Think beyond the usual ‘light’ content and think about recording some videos. An honest behind-the-scenes look at how your business is dealing with it all could be a good move if you have a story to tell.

Middle of funnel

Invest time in creating a really great lead magnet for your website – an ebook, video training or some other kind of download. Make it so good that people would pay for it.

Dig deep to extract the knowledge within your head that people value. As long as you’re saying something informative, you can do the rest on a shoestring (use Canva for putting together an ebook, or shoot video on your phone).

4. Reconnect with inspiration

I’m a big fan of the ‘inspiration day’ – a day away from ‘the doing’ of running a business to escape the routine and the news cycle and make some space for serendipity to slip through. (If a day isn’t practical, a couple of hours is still good.)

The constant deluge of information at the moment can be draining, and coming up with new and innovative ideas for your business requires a certain headspace.

The next step is to get started. It’s easy to overthink these things and end up doing nothing. But if we’re being honest, we need to be accountable too – and doing SOME marketing might be the difference between making it out the other side or not.

Plus, that cup always looks more full once we have some momentum!

 

Holly Locastro

Director + B2B Marketing Consultant - The Marketing Project

In my 14 years in the industry, I have developed strategic marketing plans and brand positioning for a wide range of industries and brands across Australia and the UK.

Before starting The Marketing Project, I worked both agency and client-side, gaining an understanding of what makes each side ‘tick’ and how to get the best results.

Ready for the next challenge, I decided to apply my skills to a creative solution. Spotting a growing trend for remote working, I created The Marketing Project to harness the power of the virtual workforce. (now something the whole world is adjusting to!)

I specialise in B2B strategy and have extensive experience working with businesses across a wide range of industries. I have an intuitive understanding of how marketing channels work together and promote a ‘channel-agnostic’ methodology – I'm always objective and strategic with my recommendations.

Today, my mission is to work with ambitious Australian businesses to help them create impact in their chosen fields. I do this by putting the expertise of high-profile agencies in the hands of ambitious B2Bs, via the global marketing talent that is TMP.

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