2020 has been a grim year. The outright restrictions on a lot of “business as usual” has hit most industries hard, and annual bellwether reports show that marketing spend (as always) has been the first to get hit. So how do marketing and communications professionals get the most out of their budget?
What has changed
The way we do business has been transformed in some ways, but stays the same in others. It is harder for us to physically reach customers at events, in stores or through meetings. Many companies and consumers are uncertain about the risks, and so are putting off big ticket purchases and investments. And some industries have been hit much harder than others: leisure, travel, conferences, etc.
There may be long-term changes as a result. We may see an increase in remote working and the shift to digital products and services has probably been increased. This may shake up supply chains and traditional relationships.
Many industries have reported that customers are more price-sensitive, and more open to big changes in the way they buy.
What has stayed the same
Despite the restrictions and constant headlines, we know that business will get back to normal. And even during the pandemic, some things have not changed. According to McKinsey three of the key recommendations for businesses to survive (and, for the best, thrive) during the pandemic have not changed at all.
First, “follow the customer”. Understanding what your customers are doing, how they are changing their habits, and how to reach them. The market for your product may have changed dramatically, so now more than ever you need to be one step ahead. There are tactical and strategic opportunities to gain share in new or existing markets: gobbling up customers from failing competitors, finding new uses for products and services, and new ways to position everything from financial services to retail. Agility is critical so you can seize each opportunity.
Second, build brand loyalty. Customers, especially in retail, have less opportunity to “shop around” so they are more likely to use the brands they trust. Building brand loyalty and trust will help you retain existing customers and turn new customers in loyal advocates more quickly. Growing your army of loyal customers will reduce the chances that they will switch to your competitors or stop using your products.
And finally, stay responsible. Corporate responsibility is not a fashion that will disappear because of COVID-19. The pandemic may raise traditional economy issues up the list of customer priorities in the short- to medium-term, but in the long term customers will expect companies to have stuck to principles of corporate citizenship. So make sure your strategies for surviving and thriving don’t harm the planet or society.
3 BIG ideas for using your budget
Get Physical: That all important P of marketing – Physical Evidence! Building brand loyalty is easiest with corporate gifts. It does not matter whether your customer is working from home, a café or their office. Your brand can still be front of mind if they are using a mug, pen, charger or laptop case branded with your logo. Corporate gifts offer much higher impressions per dollar than digital advertising and build trust and emotional connection between customers and your brand. Corporate gifts also hold their value so you can buy stock now and use it over time. If you don’t have room to store your gifts, speak to BrandHK about our PromoShop service – we can provide low cost warehousing and logistics for customers.
Offer Value: Set up virtual meetings and events (webinars, 1-2-1s, customer training sessions, etc.) Find a way to offer better value to your customers and do it now. But make sure that you have a reason to intrude on your customer’s time. These events are not a waste of time, they will build a relationship with your customer, help them to get the most out of your service, and increase loyalty. If you are doing virtual events, get your data collection right: ask customers to register, get their home address for the event pack.
Go Postal: Your customers will not come to you, so you need to go to them. Get items in the post – brochures, corporate gifts, samples and more. If you can’t get a direct address for a customer then keep sending materials via their office.
BrandHK offers a full warehousing and fulfilment service for any size of postal campaign – from 20 to 2 million. We can design, print, pack and deliver your packs direct to your customers, anywhere in the world.
And to finish, here are our favourite gifts to include in a virtual event pack.
Prices are exclusive of setup, delivery and taxes. No taxes are applied in Hong Kong. Please note that lead times are exclusive of delivery or shipping time. Prices and specifications are subject to change without prior notice.