A Playbook for Digital Marketing teams during Coronavirus (Covid-19)

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A message from managing director Aaron Crewe

As you may have experienced during recent weeks, many companies are reaching out out to clients and customers outlining their plan to address the current and pending situation with regards to dealing with the impacts of coronavirus. As such, we are doing the same.

Health is the primary concern

It goes without saying that we are all in this together and we must endeavour to look after those most by taking extra precautionary measures to significantly reduce the spread of the virus.

What are novi.digital doing?

Fundamentally, this post is to inform you that business at novi.digital will be continuing as normal. During recent years we have had in place a remote working policy to accommodate our flexible working arrangements for our team. This is something that we are trialling out with a full work-from-home day for all employees during this next week. We have already conducted a full audit of all working environments and each of our team already work from home up to 4-days per month at present, so for us, this isn’t a change from the norm.

We will be available as normal with calls being conducted predominantly via Zoom video conferencing and emails unless otherwise arranged. We aim to do everything we can for our employees, our clients and the wider network that we are a part of. Should you have any questions, please do reach out to your point of contact within our team for guidance, we are happy to help assist in any way we can.

How is Coronavirus affecting digital marketing?

The impact of coronavirus is certainly wide-spread and far-reaching, we are already seeing this in the physical stores and the high street. During recent weeks, there has been a radical shift in consumer purchasing trends. We will all have seen the empty shelves and the nationwide shortage of hand sanitizer. With this said, as yet, there’s been a very little negative impact on digital, if any. In fact, due to an increase in working from home and self-isolation, we are seeing an upward trend in purchasing of products and services online.

In businesses and organisations, with events, client meetings, training sessions and essentially anything face-to-face / on-site being postponed, we are seeing an upward trend in B2B enquiries. This is likely due to having an increase in available time to work on sourcing new suppliers. As well as this, we are seeing a substantial increase in B2C demand with regards to online product purchasing.

Considerations:

  • We are likely to continue to see a reduction in people in the office during this time, with increasing numbers of people working from home.
  • The vast majority of businesses in the UK are small businesses and SMEs, as shown here: //www.merchantsavvy.co.uk/uk-sme-data-stats-charts/. Many businesses need the support of other businesses to continue to trade during this time.

What can you do?

Uncertain times such as these can be difficult and challenging for businesses, but they can also be an opportunity to help others and this how we see it. Whether this is helping others in your community, or helping businesses, this is a time for us to unify our efforts.

Some companies, such as those in travel and hospitality sector are changing their policies, notable examples include AirBnB who are offering free cancellations, whereas Treatwell is reducing their cancellation policy from 24 hours to 1 hour and offering full refunds. In the food industry, both supermarkets and takeout delivery applications are offering contactless food drops.

Consider how you can help others and make it widely known, but be considerate with your messaging. This is fundamentally a global pandemic that is causing substantial illness and loss of life, it is not an opportunity to capitalise on money-making. With this said, it is important to have a business continuity plan and ensure that you weather the storm.

Forrester has released this playbook: //go.forrester.com/blogs/responding-to-coronavirus-playbook-for-marketing-communications/, whilst this is primarily for larger businesses, there are some key takeaways.

Additionally, here is an interesting article discussing timing and message, which is well worth a read: //www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/how-to-survive-a-brand-quarantine-during-coronavirus/.

As stated above, it is crucial that you focus on your customer service. It is your customer experience during these challenging times defines your business.

As the MerchantSavvy article above shows, these are normally The Biggest Challenges for SMEs In The UK:

  1. Attracting customers
  2. Increasing revenue
  3. Maintaining profitability
  4. Uncertainty over economic conditions
  5. Developing new products and innovations

During this time, these priorities may to be realigned. Instead, you could focus on:

  1. Focus on ensuring that your customer support is impeccable - You can use social channels, display remarketing, YouTube videos and email newsletters to convey your messaging of support. Most importantly ask your customers what you can do for them.
  2. Accommodate your employees and teams- It is especially important to keep healthy during this time, as it is to help to reduce the spread of coronavirus to those who are more vulnerable. Ensure that your team have access to remote working options if this is possible.
  3. Ensure that your profitability calculations are correct and accurateDigital Marketing can often be closed-loop, meaning that you can easily see that if you spend X on marketing, generate Y in revenue, you are left with Z in profit. Know how much you should spend on acquiring a customer and know your conversion rates, average transaction values and repeat custom rates to avoid overspending. This allows you to be able to reinvest and continue to ensure that your campaigns are performing as they should.
  4. Focus spending on areas that you know are producing ROI – Certain channels will perform better than others, for instance, we know that Shopping campaigns perform at a higher conversion rate than Search Campaigns and Search Campaigns perform at a higher conversion rate than Display Campaigns. As long as your calculations are correct, then either one of these platforms can work well. Ramp down spending on areas that aren’t working and instead, look at increasing marketing spend on the areas that are producing ROI.
  5. Focusing on business continuity innovations- Can you offer your customers credit notes and discounts for future purchases? Can you partner with suppliers and providers to not only help them to continue trading during this time but to also see a better solution for your customers?

Whilst pausing of brand messaging might be key, pausing of ads for inbound marketing, as your key revenue source, could hinder your cash-flow and isn't advisable. If your campaigns are continuing to run profitably, as they should be, then there is no reason for pausing such campaigns. It is likely that some sectors will see an increase in sales and enquiries during this time. If you work in a sector that is seeing increased demand then we are happy to work with you to ensure you are best placed to benefit from this demand in order to best serve your customer base.

What can novi do?

  • We can help you to establish a work-from-home arrangement for your digital marketing teams (and potentially your wider teams).
  • We can offer consultancy to help you to consider the potential changes in your marketplace during this time. Get in touch to speak with us about ideas that you could be implementing.
  • As a marketing agency, we focus on inbound marketing services rather than outbound marketing. As per the article above, our digital marketing is demand-led rather than brand-led, so our suggestion here is to focus on the market-demands rather than brand endeavours. We can help you to focus on what it is that your clients and customers need from you in order to make their experience better.
  • Help you to use digital marketing channels to improve your customer service. We can provide you with trends data and market research to accompany these efforts.
  • We are offering remote training sessions on all topics, so feel free to get in touch and we can look to create a bespoke plan that works for you.

As a side note, I’ve personally cleared my calendar of everything non-essential for the next month so that I can offer my time to help support business continuity for our clients. I’m happy to offer free consultation via video calls or phone calls to discuss any concerns, questions, ideas or otherwise to help your business during this time. It's crucial that we are all doing everything we can to ensure support is given to individuals and businesses.

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