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Crisis - A time of opportunity?

Crisis - A time of opportunity?

Now is a time of tremendous opportunity! Tremendous opportunity to grow your business. Tremendous opportunity to win customers who, even a few weeks ago, would not have been interested in your proposition and not responsive to your marketing. 

If your reaction to the above is one of surprise, then bear with me… Which of these charts better represents your business? 

My sense is that most will probably relate to A more than B. We all have competition in one form or another and your competitors are suffering too. Their loyal customers are also questioning the value of their supplier relationships. They are being asked to cut services, cancel orders and reduce fees. The fantastic support provided in the past year is also of little consequence to a Finance Director on a mission to reduce overheads.  


You can win business from suffering competitors right now  

I am not endorsing a race to the bottom, far from it. Price is a component of value and you must show value to your customers in new and creative ways. Most marketing advice I have read in recent days talks about the futility of new business efforts and to double down on your customer retention efforts right now. Why are these efforts mutually exclusive? Your best prospects will have the same challenges as your best customers. You can help both. In doing so, you protect existing business and attract new business at the same time.  

I realise that adapting your own product, services and customer support is not without its own challenges, so for the sake of keeping things simple today, let us limit things to a marketing example of the above in action. 

 

Example – Recruitment Marketing 

The example I will use comes from the recruitment industry for which there seem to be 3 types of current marketing modus operandi: 

  1. Those who have given up and stopped communicating 
  2. Those who are clinging to a disrupted business model 
  3. Those who are adapting by helping others to adapt 

We need not say much more about Type 1.  

Type 2 are sending marketing messages that go something like this: 

  1. We’re still working 
  2. We’ve got people looking for work 
  3. Are you hiring? 

Type 3 are putting out content marketing with topics such as: 

  1. Guidance on furloughing staff 
  2. Tips for using contractors instead of permanent staff 
  3. Remote interview techniques

If we look at Type 3, there are important signals that can be derived by tracking which customers and prospects interact with this content. For example; 

  • Those interacting with “Tips for using contractors” may provide temporary roles where previously they have only had permanent ones 
  • Those interacting with “Remote interview techniques” may provide new roles  

By offering value in the context of how their customers and prospects are being disrupted, Type 3 will retain customer loyalty by acting as a trusted advisor and win market share from Type 1 and 2 who have no answers to their questions and the business they can offer off the back of it. 


Customer-driven value  

Content marketing is still as effective as ever, as long as your content is good enough and will help to retain customers and attract new ones who are, all of a sudden, in need of something different from their suppliers. For the content to be good enough, you need to be customer centric and adaptable. The best place to start with that is to ask your current customers... 

  • How are they being disrupted? 
  • What do they need to cope with that disruption? 
  • How are you able to help them adapt? 
  • How can you protect your own business through what you offer here?  

This needs to be rapid and real. Make sure your business really does adapt – it is not just marketing gloss and make sure you keep asking these questions. There will very soon be a different set of challenges for businesses reopening and adapting to more relaxed forms of restriction… hopefully! 


Keep it simple 

The humble email newsletter is still one of the most cost effective ways to get good quality content in front of the right people and to track their interactions, so this is neither complex or costly. We’ve also seen a general trend of increased interactions with email newsletters in recent weeks – people are hungry for information that will help them. 


The tremendous opportunity  

Without a doubt, every business is disrupted at the moment. There will inevitably be competitors who only look inward. They will not market themselves effectively (in fact, their marketing budget will be the first thing to go) and they will be no help to their customers. 

Your tremendous opportunity is to go and win more market share, albeit at a time when that market is contracting in size and value. Do that by delivering fantastic value in ways where it is currently needed most. 

 

Speaking of fantastic value, join me for some other examples of the above on my new webinar: Communication through a crisis - watch the recording now.

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