Marketing Technology through a Global Crisis
Technology companies tend to weather crises better than other sectors. In fact, many technology companies reported their best earnings during the last recession. That said, it’s still important for technology marketers to do some pivoting when the economy slows.
1. Leverage the Creative Energy of a Challenge: This is an opportunity. Plan and act efficiently from a place of focused calm. Don’t react out of fear. Ideas that come from a place of fear will be scattered and lack a plan for implementation.
2. Protect the Brand. Short-term wins can have unintended long-term brand consequences. Getting pulled into a price war is a good example. Once you get pegged as the low price leader, it’s very difficult for your market to think of you as anything else later on. If you are known for impeccable service, protect that differentiator like your life depended on it.
3. Stay Closely Engaged with Customers: focus less on new business and more on retaining current customers. The reality is that it’s hard to win a significant amount of new business during a widespread crisis. Better to put your energy into providing a little extra TLC for your existing customers.
4. Strike a Helpful Tone with Customers. If you are struggling, chances are your customers are too. Any burden that you can take off their shoulders will be very much appreciated—and they will remember it forever.
5. Focus on ROI. Most global crises are accompanied by at least a temporary economic downturn. This is a time to remind your customers about how much value you are delivering. Create a webpage that presents your best business case—including downloadable 1-pagers. You can add that URL to everything including blog posts, social posts, media releases, emails, signature lines etc.
5. Provide Additional Value. This doesn’t have to cost you money. For example, your in-house experts can conduct customer-facing webinars; account reps can offer money-saving advice.
6. Let Some Things Go. Some things that are key components of marketing programs during good times, need to fall by the wayside temporarily to make time for more critical activities. Some examples are mass FYI-related emails (not those that promote products and services); white papers, articles, etc.
7. Don’t Let Other Things Go. In particular, don’t let anything that improves or maintains your online visibility go. Search is always going to be the best way to keep a foot in the door in your market and introduce your company to new clients. So keep posting to your blog, sending out media releases, and adding new key term optimized content to your website.
8. Do Everything Your Competitors Quit Doing. Examples include:
Maintaining Most Regular Marketing Activities: Maintain a schedule of regular communications such as emails, blog posts, social posts and media releases. Focus on things that are customer-facing. If you haven’t been automating any of this, don’t start now.
Proofing: notice how communications tend to have more typos during down times?
Responding Quickly to Phone Calls and Emails: It sends the message that nothing has changed.
Staying Upbeat: You don’t need to be perpetually positive; instead opt for “helpful”
Consistency and discipline have always been the two forgotten cornerstones of successful marketing. This is especially true during a crisis. Things may seem chaotic on the outside; you are calm and effective on the inside.