When Scottish poet Robert Burns said, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” he could well have been forecasting for 2020. Many businesses and nonprofits entered January with a strategic marketing plan ready for implementation, in-person events on the calendar and clearly defined communications goals. Within a matter of weeks, a global pandemic proved adaptation is key and organizations were faced with reinventing their 2020 marketing plans.
While the first half of 2020 has required organizations to embrace the unexpected, the fundamentals of effective marketing remained the same: keep your audience’s needs top-of-mind, educate – don’t saturate, and don’t come off tone deaf to what’s happening around you.
As states loosen restrictions and many shuttered industries dip their toes into reopening, keeping a pulse on consumers’ wants and needs is key. While in-person may have been the preferred method of engagement a few months ago, one can’t assume that information is still accurate. Businesses have evolved the way they operate – and your company’s marketing needs to evolve, too.
Fortunately, organizations have many avenues for collecting consumer insights to inform their marketing plans. Something as simple as deploying a five-question electronic survey to your email database can provide insights on what consumers expect from your organization in the near term. For businesses looking to take the pulse of the broader community, tapping into consumers via mobile with polls, surveys and promotional offers can also provide valuable insights. Both of these market research methods are extremely economical – which is great news for organizations weathering the financial impact of COVID-19.
What should you be asking consumers to help inform the rest or your marketing and messaging for 2020?
- Which communication channels do they prefer?
- How has/will the pandemic impact their spending on your product or service?
- What information are they looking for you to provide?
- What frequency of communication do they consider appropriate?
- When will they be comfortable returning to in-person programs, services, etc.?
How do you apply your newfound consumer insights to strengthen your marketing program?
- Tweak your messaging
- Adjust the frequency of your communications
- Evaluate what channels you are using to communicate and make any necessary refinements
- Tailor your marketing content to reflect what your audiences are looking for
- Use insights regarding in-person programs and services to inform virtual offerings
Gathering consumer insights helps organizations to hone their messaging and marketing to achieve optimal ROI. By understanding what information your target audiences crave and the best way to deliver that information, brands can maximize the impact of their budget dollars and ensure their marketing continues to build loyalty among target audiences.