Does Your Marketing Need To Change?

Small businesses that have adapted their marketing in response to COVID-19 are assessing whether the adjusted approach is working as they rethink their strategies, again.

And that’s a good idea, say marketers. Examine your pandemic-era marketing so you can modify your tactics accordingly.

“Take the time to thoroughly audit your marketing plan and your marketing systems,” says Danny Decker, former founding partner at Spotlight Branding and now a marketing consultant at Marketing Simplified.

“If your marketing isn't working, your business is vulnerable,” Decker writes in a Forbes blog. “The good news is you can fix it and get your business back on track.”

Count on Some Marketing Basics. Even amid the pandemic changes, small businesses can still rely on the key concepts of marketing to assess and adjust their strategy.

Yes, it’s all a “new normal” and things are different right now, but using the basic 4P marketing model can help guide small businesses, says David J. Bradley, founder of Consulting MBA and managing director of Bbg Inc.

“It is through transformative change, and not iterative change, that we are able to innovate and rethink,” he writes in a SCORE blog. “This is how we drive new energy into our business so it can grow into this "new normal" instead of focusing on simply surviving.

Here are the five still-relevant questions that small business owners should be asking, Bradley says.

  • Do you have a winning message?
  • Have you built a brand that positions you as a trusted expert?
  • Are you targeting the right market?
  • Are you nurturing relationships rather than pushing for a quick sale?
  • Are you reaching your target customers consistently or are you giving up too quickly?

Continue to Make Marketing a Priority. The pandemic and the recession that comes with it has left a lot of small businesses and just about every company looking for places to cut expenses.

And while it’s tempting to streamline marketing costs right now, experts are advising against it.

“In fact, during an economic downturn, your marketing is even more crucial,” says entrepreneur and digital marketer Baruch Silvermann, founder of The Smart Investor.

Prioritizing your marketing efforts in uncertain times could deliver you an edge over your competitors, and increase your chances to reach a wider audience and boost sales, the business analyst writes in an Entrepreneur blog.

“While other companies may scale down their marketing, you can leverage this opportunity to stand apart and increase your brand awareness,” Silvermann says.

So, he advises, find ways to maximize your marketing dollars. Explore new marketing strategies that will exploit your competitor advantage and increase audience engagement.

“This will help retain customer loyalty and keep your bookkeeping in the black,” adds Silvermann.

Find The ‘Right’ Audience. If you’re getting a lackluster response to your latest marketing efforts, there’s a possibility that you’re putting your message in front of the “wrong” audience.

“Sometimes, the problem isn't with your product, service or even your marketing campaigns,” writes Decker in the Forbes blog.

“Sometimes the problem is that you're pitching your business to the wrong audience -- one that doesn't need your business, can't afford your products or services or doesn't want to consume your offerings in that way that you provide them.”

Rethink The Basics. Successful marketing is all about promoting to the right audience but also look how your pricing and product are holding up in the COVID-19 era and reshape your marketing accordingly.

How your customers operate day-to-day and what they are willing to do or what they value is shifting,” writes Bradley for SCORE. “Your former top-selling product may no longer hold that title. You need to adapt not based on your business history, but how buyers are changing today.”