Why Companies Are Turning To Digital Marketing To Survive COVID-19
In the coming months, businesses are going to become more reliant than ever on their digital strategy and we have seen an increase in the amount of new businesses approaching us wishing to explore new ways of generating revenue. Without wanting to sound too alarmist, in many cases it will be the deciding factor in whether some companies make it through the tough times ahead as all other revenue channels have been closed down.
We believe that the key to resilience in these tough times to explore new revenue channels that many if not most companies have not fully tapped into previously through digital marketing and strategy. The world is getting more and more connected and no matter what industry you are in, whether its a local butcher or a fortune 500 company, if you’re now investing in digital then you are already behind.
The unprecedented, almost-total disappearance of all channels related to live events and conferences, and the increasing barriers on face-to-face business for smaller businesses, pose an enormous challenge. B2B companies in particular rely on the annual circuit of trade shows and exhibitions to network and build customer relations. In industries that are not digital-native, they may also be less sophisticated in their digital growth and customer relations strategies. For smaller businesses especially, used to getting new customers through word-of-mouth referrals or on the strength of a hard-won reputation, their loss is coming as a shock.
Larger companies are also now finding themselves in the position of having potentially lost millions through cancelled events. They won’t claw back the hours of time and expense spent on preparations for this year, but insurance and flexible cancellation policies have left them with marketing budget to reassign. We believe digital is the clear winner here, and companies – including ones that may not so much as had a Facebook page before – will need to move into social marketing, content marketing, SEO and influencer-led campaigns in order to survive.
Opportunities to be taken
This itself poses opportunities which may be snatched in this challenging time depending on your industry and in particular if you are a B2B supplier in an industry that has been slow to adapt to digital marketing. A key factor in resilience is adaptability. If it’s standard in your industry to go out and meet new customers face-to-face before you do business, adapting may mean opening new channels over web or social media platforms where introductions can be made and relationships fostered. In the coming months, your prospective clients are going to be less open to the idea of letting you walk through the door and shake their hand – and no-one really has any idea how long this will last and whether this will lead to longer-term change.
We are in uncertain times, but with the increase of remote working and a collaborative approach, companies are turning to digital channels and embracing the transformation. We have seen a real spike during the last few weeks from companies wishing to create or update websites, launch new e-commerce channels and create social media campaigns focused on home-workers and a real focus on using influencers and SEO to reach new audiences.
Being confined to the office – or even the home – rather than on the road on sales visits or at events, means marketers have more time to develop digital strategies. This means researching where your customers can be found online, and how different approaches and tactics might impact your success. If your organization previously put token efforts into digital channels – because like a lot of other businesses, you had built your networks offline and that had always seemed to work – now is the time to revisit them. That could be as simple as giving your website and social pages a refresh, or a more innovative approach.
As long as businesses approach the shift to digital marketing strategically, there’s no reason why it should just serve as an emergency fill-in, but could carry on providing long-term value when the world eventually gets back to normal. And of course, it would make companies more resilient to deal with any future pandemics.