Marketing with Certainty in Uncertain Times

As the ripples of the measures taken by our governments to stop the spread of COVID-19 are felt by almost every individual and business industry, there is no doubt that we're facing business and marketing challenges like never before now, and in the future.

Right now it’s Corona-virus, tomorrow it will be the economic and political fallout of the drastic measures we’ve had to take. But after that it will be climate change, as it should be, that demands our absolute attention and decisive action.

What seems certain in my mind is that the social and economic landscape is going to change forever (but, eventually, hopefully for better), and as these changes are happening, many businesses are having to adapt their business as usual marketing strategies.

  • Many of you will have had campaigns and major projects ready to deploy, that you’ve had to pull the pin on.
  • Many of you will have had ads out in the market which suddenly seemed tone deaf or inappropriate (like Coors), which you’ve had to suddenly withdraw.
  • Many of you simply will be considering whether or not you should be spending a single cent on marketing at all right now.

If you're wondering whether or not marketing holds any value right now, and if you should be marketing at all, what I would say to that is - of course you should.

For the vast majority of us, life goes on, albeit in a slightly surreal staying at home kind of way. We’re still consuming, and assuming that things will get back to normal soon.

In essence, the principals of marketing haven't changed, but your priorities should. Here's how I'd recommending broaching such uncharted territory when it comes to your marketing plans.


Marketing Attribution & ROI

ROI has always been of huge importance to businesses engaging in marketing endeavours. If you're spending money on ads and content, naturally you want to know what you're getting in return and if it's worth the investment.

However now more than ever, you have a responsibility to know what every single cent you spend on marketing is returning to your business. That means total transparency. Not just knowing your your CPM or CPC, but exactly which clicks converted to leads, and which leads converted to customers.

So how can you achieve full transparency of ROI and market with certainty?


1. Don't Focus on Vanity Metrics

The first thing I'd say to do, is to shift your focus from vanity metrics like CPC, CPM and CPL (the usual metrics you'll see pop up in your meetings) and begin shifting the lens to focus on exactly who is converting to a customer.

A classic example of this that we see all too often, is companies looking at their ad-spends and noticing that their cost per click is significantly lower on one platform (often Facebook) and significantly higher on another (often LinkedIn), and drawing the conclusion quickly that they should be placing their ad spend on the cheaper platform.

However, even if you had 100 leads for $1 each on Facebook, and only a single lead for $100 on LinkedIn, if that single lead converts into a paying customer (that could be worth thousands), then that's where you need to be spending your money. In times like these, it's not all about how many people are seeing and clicking your ads, it's about how many are actually becoming customers off the back of your efforts.


2. Ask the Experts & Utilise Tools to See the Full Funnel

The next question then becomes, if I'm not simply looking at CPC and CPM, how can I actually see who is and isn't converting into a customer?

At Hype & Dexter (and most of our client's too) we use UTM links to assign contacts against HubSpot life-cycle stages and original source, so we have a full view of where our contacts are coming from, and what stage they are in their buyers journey. This system sorts contacts into marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads (MQL & SQL), so we're able to tell who's engaged with our company and could potentially become a customer, and who's actually ready to talk to our sales team and convert.

This is invaluable, as we're able to at a glance see where the real value in our ad-spend is coming from by looking at the last touch-point for contacts and how many of these contacts are becoming SQLs.

In the Facebook and LinkedIn example above, you’d have a lot of MQLs coming from Facebook (the 100, $1 clicks) but your customers and SQLs would be coming from LinkedIn (the $100 click that turned into a customer).

The key takeaway here, is it's really important to have the right tools and processes in place that allow you to see your full marketing funnel and sales pipeline, so that you can really make the most out of your marketing efforts and see some valuable ROI - even in these turbulent times.

I'd also suggest having an expert in Google Analytics (or whichever tool you're using) look back over your past year in business, to see exactly where your conversions and customers have come from. Spend more time on it than you usually would, because right now, every marketing dollar counts and you don't want to be spending it in the wrong places.


3. Take Advantage of Low Competition and Cost of Clicks

Believe it or not, there's actually a tonne of opportunity to take advantage of genuine interest clicks on Google Search Ads and Facebook Ads for a fraction of the price. As the internet wizard Brian Dean recently noted;

"Last week a friend told me that Facebook CPMs are down 75%. He also said that Google Adwords is 50% cheaper than a few weeks ago."

People simply aren't buying ad space in the way that they usually would. Due to corona-virus, a lot of companies are pulling their ad spends entirely and as a result the element of competitiveness to own keywords has significantly gone down, making everything dirt cheap.

I like to think of it like a 100m sprint race. Right now, everyone is crouch on the starting blocks ready to take off as soon as the gun fires. We're all poised to take action, and as soon as we're off, we'll be racing to compete for audiences' attention.

When that happens, clicks are going to be more expensive than ever.

That's why I'd suggest doubling down on your advertising while it's cheap. Leverage those inexpensive eyeballs and create relevant, useful and interactive content that holds your audiences attention now, so that when the time comes, you're ready to win the race.


4. Do More with Less Through Automation

We’ve talked about what you’re spending on advertising and media. But what about your spend on internal resource?

The really tough truth is that many people are facing job losses at an unprecedented industry-wide scale. At the end of this, when we all head back to work, many people are going to have to do more with a lot less human resource.

It’s a famous paradox, but one that can actually, finally be solved. How? By replacing admin with automation.

The good news is that there are so many excellent tools and services available out that will help you to manage that extra workload in the interim, and take some of that cumbersome heavy lifting out of your day to day, so that you can focus on the bigger task at hand - rebuilding from were we left off.

When you're ready to cross that bridge and take advantage of automation, we're always here to help.


5. Practice Inbound. Relevant Content has Never Been More Important.

Last but not least, the inbound methodology has never been more relevant. We’re all living with the bare-bones essentials right now, and the way that people are spending money is evolving. People are realising what they don’t need - which means that you’re going to have a bit of a fight on your hands to get their attention back when the dust settles.

So what can you do? Get creative in how you can provide value, now.

In fact, the demand for content is actually 5x the norm right now, which means if you can't continue business as usual and transact right now, it's time to focus on growing your marketing database list.

The most important piece of advice I can offer here, is don't try and do things the same way you usually would if it's no longer relevant.

Try and find a way to stay engaging, interactive and relevant, serving up your customers what they want to see even when they can't spend any money, so that when they finally can, you've done just enough to be on their mind.

Leverage your relatively cheap search and social advertising with fun, useful and interactive content to build a marketing list, so you have a ready made qualified audience when we come out of this.

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