Shoring Up Your Marketing Strategy in Turbulent Times


Share on LinkedIn

Crises bring change, both temporary and long lasting. Even before COVID-19, the buying process was shifting, the customer experience was changing, and marketing approaches were adapting. The pandemic doesn’t alter those facts, but it does create more urgency to adjust.

We know that customers increasingly want more information at the top of the funnel before they’ll engage with a sales rep. That reality demands quality content and regular outreach. But many marketers are wondering if it’s Ok to continue outreach in these turbulent times. It depends on one vital factor: relevancy.

If your product or service is relevant right now—it solves a pressing problem for your target audience—then by all means, proceed with outreach. (Just keep it concise, professional, and focused on benefits.) If you don’t have a relevant offering, it’s time to hit the pause button on outreach…but not on marketing entirely.

Instead, use this period to focus on the following three areas that are crucial to a sound customer marketing strategy. You’ll position yourself for a fast start when the time is right.

Adjust Your SWOT

Take a fresh look at your SWOT Analysis—your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats—based on a whole new set of assumptions. Your Opportunities and Threats in particular may need updating.

Regarding your current Opportunities:

  • How can your products/services help buyers now?
  • What do customers most need, and why?
  • Which product benefits are most valuable now?
  • Which in-house skill sets apply to this new circumstance?
  • What information would be ideal for making an informed marketing pivot?

Regarding your current Threats:

  • What’s the worst-case scenario for business continuity?
  • What potential risks do you need to monitor?
  • What do you expect your competitors to do?
  • What are your immediate concerns?

Adapt Your Content Focus & Schedule

The content plans and schedules you created at the start of the year may not be relevant in this environment. It’s prudent to review your content strategy with a fresh set of eyes, based on the current business landscape.

Even if outreach isn’t appropriate for your business just yet, it’s a great time to evaluate your content across all channels—website, collateral, e-mail, pay-per-click, and others—to assess what’s working, what’s not, and what needs adjusting in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Check your content for relevancy, especially your highest-performing content and gated content.
  • Consider whether you could be leveraging crisis-related keywords that are relevant to your products and services.
  • Assess how current (or stale) your blog content is, and freshen it as needed.
  • Dust off older collateral and make sure it’s still on-strategy and on-message.
  • Evaluate your landing pages to ensure they are current and appropriate.

Your content schedule also may need a reset. While it’s typically a good idea to develop a calendar of content a couple of months at a time, conditions are changing too fast to plan that far out. Take a more flexible approach by scheduling content only a week or two ahead.

Pay Attention to Social

In times of chaos, people yearn to stay connected—which is why social media use spikes. That’s especially true now, given how isolated we’re all feeling in the midst of social distancing and stay-at-home orders.

Your customers and prospects are likely spending more time on social media, which means your social presence is getting more attention. Use this time to assess your social media activity and strategy and to refine it as needed. Look closely at:

  • Your social followers: who they are and the types of content they engage with
  • Your message: whether it’s appropriate and relevant for the current times, consistent with your brand, and personalized to encourage connections
  • Your profile: ensuring your company and individual bios are up to date and engaging

Spend time doing some social listening too, to get a sense of what topics are trending and what types of posts are getting the most interaction. Pay attention to what your competitors are saying and how their customers are responding.

Now may or may not be the right time for your business to engage in outreach. But it’s absolutely the right time to assess, refine, and prepare your customer marketing strategy for what lies on the other side of this crisis. Your growth and success depend on it.

Debra Andrews
With over 20 years of strategic marketing experience, I specialize in helping B2B mid-sized companies transform their marketing departments from cost centers to profit centers. I thrive in bringing a strategic focus and results-driven approach to environments where past marketing efforts have been scattershot and ineffective. For many companies, I serve as their Fractional CMO which gives them just the right amount of leadership to power-up their marketing function.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here