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How Coronavirus is Disrupting Marketing (And How to Work Through It)

The Coronavirus outbreak has affected businesses on a global scale. Marketing teams are arguably the most affected within organizations due to this outbreak: budgets are being cut, audiences cannot buy, and the workforce is moving to working remotely. With all of these changes, how can marketing teams cope and come out stronger on the other side?

  • Teams are Adjusting to Working Remotely 

Coronavirus has forced teams all over the world to work remotely. This is new for a lot of the workplace. In 2017-18, only about 25 percent of U.S. workers worked at home at least occasionally and only 15 percent had days on which they only worked at home, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (SHRM). With that percentage now skyrocketing, teams are changing. 

Since this is a brand new adjustment for most, remote work can feel extremely disjointed or discouraging. While it’s of course true that some employees thrive in a remote work environment, others find it distracting or difficult to separate home from work life. Communication with coworkers can be spotty, and emails and phone calls can bleed outside the 9 to 5 office life. 

What can be done?

Enhance team communication. Make it clear with your team what the channels of communication are. Whether you’re using e-mail or Slack, set specific guidelines for what it means to be online or accessible, and also know how to reach coworkers in the event that you need to communicate something urgently. 

Leverage new tools. If you haven’t used tools like Slack before, now is the time to try! Find software that empowers collaboration across your team and if you haven’t yet, begin moving away from downloaded software to SaaS vendors. SaaS vendors often increase collaboration across teams, improve productivity, and provide more accessibility to your team. 

Need help communicating remotely? Check out this guide on effective remote chat strategies!

  • Budget is Being Slashed

This is perhaps the hardest hit to marketing teams. Why spend right now when your audience cannot make a purchase, and is hardly even captive? Budgets are being slashed across the board. Internal budgets are being reallocated toward salaries or other efforts. Ad spend is suddenly a fraction of what it was earlier this quarter.

What can be done? 

Evaluate your budget. Take this time to evaluate your budget and decrease costs where you can. An easy way to start doing this is to save money by decreasing technology costs. Take the time now to evaluate your incumbent providers and compare them to new vendors and see if you can make a switch that will save budget.

Get scrappy. Now is the time to get scrappy with your marketing. Try new things, start that video series from home, or do what needs to be done to start testing new strategies. What you learn during this period while you have time to test new things, you can apply to your marketing strategy once we’re through this. 

  • You Have Unprecedented Time

This is a funny one. Isn’t this what we are always asking for in marketing - more time? Time to perfect campaigns, measure outcomes, etc. Well, now we have that time, so let’s use it wisely. Now is the time to perfect campaigns and, again, test new things. Try your hand at new strategies or initiatives that were killed previously due to lack of time. Readjust and plan accordingly to ensure that once this is over, you’re the first to market with your new marketing strategy that is tested and proven to work.

What can be done? 

Make smart technology decisions. Marketing teams often cite the tools they have at hand as part of the reason why campaigns cannot be launched in a timely manner, measuring methods aren’t perfect, the list goes on. Evaluate your technology stack and implement new tools that will push you ahead. Making digital transformation internally now will save you time and money in the long run, and will empower you to be first to market with your new strategies once we’re through this outbreak.

Involve your team. Involve your team in planning and decision making. With a disjointed remote workforce, it’s more important now than ever to get their feedback and use it to push your team forward. Interview your teammates and ask them what they’d like to try and how they’d like to use this time to come to a clear consensus and goal.

While there’s a lot of uncertainty around this pandemic, one thing that is certain is it’s changing our workforce and our lives. These tips will help your marketing team hunker down during an uncertain time so that you are prepared to thrive once this is over.

By Chloe Spilotro

Hooked onto the platform since first using it through the Zesty.io Incubator Program at the University of San Diego. Passionate about all things marketing, IoT, and helping businesses leverage technology to grow and become major players in their industries.

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