News 3 minutes, 49 second read Mark Johnson, Editor, Just.Marketing
The world is in lockdown, brand building is virtually impossible, and a new working from home culture is emerging. Yet marketing still goes on: marketers are reassuring customers and clients, providing services where they can and remaining visible in ways that are sensitive to these odd conditions.
So how are marketers managing to do this in such strange times? They are changing channels, according to the first-ever Just.Marketing/VMAGROUP survey.
In the survey, LinkedIn has emerged as a powerful tool, social media and paid digital are increasingly important and PR is given greater attention as B2B marketers in particular have focused on trade media.
Digital first – “the power of LinkedIn”
Simon Mott, Director of Marketing for HANetf, an investment company specialising in ETFs (exchange traded funds), says LinkedIn has become a key part of the company’s switch to a purely digital strategy during the lockdown.
Simon says, “It’s just my guess but I suspect that there is a lot less casual scrolling of LinkedIn; the type people did previously while waiting for a train. Instead, we’re getting real engagement and certainly the activity metrics are there.”
“LinkedIn is very powerful in terms of reaching professional networks with lots of advertising; it’s a powerful prospecting network. In the investment industry, you could go to three industry conferences a week if you wanted before the lockdown but for the rest of 2020 they are dead in the water. Digital conferences and webinars are replacing them.
“We’ve evolved our digital presence and so during the lockdown it’s much easier to do our marketing digitally. Social media is powerful for us and so we’ve shifted budgets that would have been used for brochures, travel and merchandise to re-weight our activity towards digital. We’re also doing a lot more PR as it’s very important to maintain visibility in the trade and broader media.
“Our priority has been talking to clients and our potential investor base giving them a sense of stability. We’re highlighting for example that business is unusual but markets are functioning properly making it clear how people can make short-term decisions,” he says.
PR – “business as impacted by the pandemic”
Leor Franks, CMO, Augusta, a company that provides litigation and dispute funding, says, that media relations and PR have changed direction.
Leor says, “With the main market titles saturated with pandemic coverage – and rightly so – it makes it impossible to conduct business as usual PR. Journalists in the mainstream media that I have had a great relationship with for years say that if it isn’t covid-related they’re not interested.
“So the trade media is more important than ever. They are more interested in business as impacted by the pandemic stories.
“We are effectively a financier of legal cases. We’ve provided bylined articles and had four published in the last two or three weeks on how the crisis is significant but all is not lost. We’ve historically pushed out news but now the demand is for bylined articles with our impartial advice – it always has to be objective and impartial for the media to be receptive. We certainly don’t want to be seen as profiteering from the crisis.”
Internal communications – “Zoom meetings for the CEO”
Chris Fiorillo, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Infosys Consulting, a management consulting company, says he is far more internally focused than usual.
“As the communications person for the CEO, Mark Livingston, I’m heavily internally-focused right now and from March I took a human approach to communications. This has meant doing Zoom meetings for colleagues with Mark, who has his dog next to him in his home office, for example,” says Chris, adding, “Our messaging has been about maintaining stability.”
LinkedIn has been a key channel for both external and internal audiences, says Chris.
“We’ve created new videos with the CEO since April, kicking off with a thought series on LinkedIn. Even though it’s external thought leadership, with everything I’ve done on LinkedIn, pretty much every staff member has engaged with it. It’s particularly inspiring for the people who never come into contact with the CEO for geographical reasons,” he says.
Leor Franks says, “Adaptability is key. No one saw this terrible crisis coming so few were properly prepared. Those who have been resilient or flexible and risen to the challenge will do better than those who have been unable to adapt.”