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For many companies, event marketing represents a large portion of the marketing budget and some of the best opportunities to engage with customers and prospects.
The uncertainties associated with the coronavirus pandemic are particularly impacting event marketing initiatives such as trade shows, live in-person events, and conferences across the industry spectrum.
Businesses have already began to rationalize budgets, identify ways to do more with less, and look for more cost-effective ways to deliver products and services. Difficult decisions may not be able to be postponed for too long.
Marketing budgets are often at the top of this list to contribute to bottom-line savings. However, marketing cuts are a short term fix that can have long term consequences.
Most of your customers and prospects are still spending money, even though they may be spending less. If your products or solutions represent priorities for them, they more than likely will want to buy from companies they trust.
Here’s my approach to Marketing Plan “B” to better manage the challenges ahead.
1. Customers first
2. Build more content
3. Get started and smart on virtual events
4. Build or update the marketing plan
1. Customers First
The shortest line to revenue is typical with existing customers as legal agreements, credit approval, and service delivery protocols are in place. If the customer relationship is strong and they need your product or service (more or less of it), you should be the company they spend money with. Customers also may begin to ask for delivery or payment term accommodations to address challenges serving their customers.
Customers may not be able to connect with their assigned salesperson or your customer service team in light of the current pandemic restrictions. To that end, you should ramp-up proactive customer marketing communications, rather than waiting for customers to contact you.
2. Build More Content
Every marketing organization we’ve ever worked with has the need and desire to produce more content. Frankly, when times are good, content production falls behind as organizations lean on their sales teams to deliver much of the marketing message via one-on-one interactions.
Now is the time to take advantage of additional free time on the calendar to build content. Prioritize content production for products that have the most up-sell and cross-sell potential, as well as for products that the sales team has fewer abilities and confidence in selling.
3. Get Started and Smart with Virtual Events
If webinars, executive briefings, and virtual roundtables are not currently a material portion of your marketing initiative mix, your competitors will be. There’s more to this than scheduling an event and turning on the laptop camera and microphone.
Virtual events require more content preparation than in-person live events, so they rarely can be coordinated and delivered on the fly. In addition to the more intense content preparation, technology preparation, extensive rehearsals, and preparing for the inevitable technology glitch requires a unified team to pull-off.
4. Build or Update the Marketing Plan
Some of your initial marketing efforts during the pandemic will be urgent and not require a formal plan. Once you have those efforts behind you, have your team build or update a structured marketing plan for the balance of the year.
It’s a certainty that the marketing plan for the balance of the year will require new or additional resources, content, and approached to support the sales organization.”
A Marketing Plan “B” is essential to address the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. Start fast