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April 30, 2020

Managing marketing, operations amid a global crisis

Brenda Jones Barwick, APR – President and CEO

Companies are on an untraveled road to an unknown new economy and new business models. There is not a road map, nor a book to read on this specific topic. However, a masterwork entitled Marketing in the American Economy followed 250 companies through a recession and into the growth period that ensued.

Author Roland Vaile found that companies that increased marketing budgets during the recession grew sales much faster than their rivals beyond the downturn. Companies that decreased their marketing dollars declined both during the recession and the following three years.

For operations, the CEOs I have talked to are focused on listening, connectivity and communications at all levels, across all platforms and across all stakeholders – employees, vendors, customers, clients, industry and business leaders. While managing operations in the present climate is a top-of-mind urgent task, find time now to focus on where your company wants to be in the post-COVID economy and start road-mapping your new destination.

How should businesses handle marketing during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Data from the last four recessions reveal one type of company emerges and thrives. The hybrid company that only cuts costs to create efficiencies and puts these dollars into marketing, research and development for the recovery. Social distance marketing is possible. Your customers want to hear from you. On all digital platforms, consider these four steps: 1) Monitor – what is your audience talking about? 2) Assess – do you provide value to the greater conversation? 3) Reflect – what is the tone and can you use your platform to push out helpful information? 4) Unschedule content that comes across as tone-deaf.

How do business leaders stay connected with employees while working remotely?

Maintain your company culture virtually. Continue celebrating anniversaries, birthdays and announcements. Encourage employees to take advantage of professional development webinars to ramp up their skill sets and write a blog to post on your website and social media channels.

How do businesses look forward to the new normal?

There will be a right time to move forward. You don’t necessarily have to be the first mover, just don’t be the last. Before moving forward, tap into industry knowledge and stay tuned to what is happening around you. Capture what is relevant and align with your company’s mission, vision and values.

Begin now by mapping your journey to the post-COVID destination. Your 2020 marketing plan hasn’t even gathered dust yet, but it absolutely needs to be recalibrated.

Originally seen in The Journal Record.


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