Covid-19 was a great surprise to all of us; it hit us from nowhere and we don't know for how long it'll be here. And this bring new business challenges: how to communicate in times of crisis, how to rethink our strategies and how to we even find new opportunities? We have made a round-up of interesting and inspirational blog posts that you'll probably find useful in these hard times.
So what do you do when things change unexpectedly for your agency. There are internal and external disruptions to digital agencies and at Data Hive they prepared an extensive list of things to be careful about with actioanble advice on how to tackle new challanges.
"Be creative in your approach where you can. Disruption goes away after some time. So here's to keeping agencies surviving and thriving in the meantime."
Many new business generated by agencies relies on meeting with clients, pitching in their boardroom and ending the day with a dinner at a nice restaurant. This will not be possible today. Instead, leverage the online communication tools to schedule meetings while keeping your and your client’s company culture top of mind.
"We must communicate faster and generate a stream of continually refreshing content to demonstrate that, though the lights are off in our offices, in the minds and hearts and souls of our businesses, there’s still life."
The future is uncertain and as a marketer you should act now. Re-allocate your budget, adjust your goals and KPIs, and try to think long term in this new context. You know what they say: change is the only constant.
"But there’s good news: there is nobody better at adapting to change than a digital marketer. This is what we do every day."
We’re all living in a time of uncertainty and tend to lean on words of reassurance; strategic messaging is now more important than ever and can have a profound impact on our relationship with a client.
"During a time of crisis, the quality of communications can have a huge impact, and not just in the moment. The effects of what is said and what is not said will linger, and reveal much about the organization, its leadership, and individuals involved."
The well-being of the team should be priority number one; make sure that your employees feel safe about the future of their roles in your organization. Talk with your clients as well and try to identify which ones will reduce their budget and how specific projects will be affected.
"This is the third major economic crisis I've lived through in my professional life, and while things will definitely get tough, they will definitely get better again in the long run. By taking pre-emptive steps now, maintaining the confidence of your team and clients and staying committed to Drupal's long term success, there will be light at the end of the tunnel!"
Stay informed about current events, check on your loved ones and take health precautions as advised, but don’t let the situation take control over you, your thoughts and your focus. Instead, spend your time on things that made you succeed in the first place, because this is how you’ll have less time to worry about things you can’t control anyway.
"When you do great work, you set up you and your business up for success when the hard times subside (which they will). And you might actually do better work."
The total (economic) impact is still unknown but we know for sure it has forced us to change how we look at our customers' behavior and the way companies now handle their business. A digitalization of the process has become a must in just a matter of weeks, if not days. But this is not the only challenge: besides taking care of business, new customer demands mean you should take care of employees as well.
"The impact of the coronavirus outbreak requires brands to move at unprecedented speed to serve their customers with quality while caring for their employees with compassion. That means re-evaluating how contact centers are leveraged, how employees deliver relevant customer experiences, where they work, and how digital channels can be used to support the increase in contact center volume."
Inform your employees about all known health precautions they can take regarding COVID-19 and be transparent about your business plan as well - this will help with uncertainty about their future. The whole situation can have a great and positive impact on your business, especially if you are testing new tools, channels and workflows - you may discover that something works even better for your business!
"Helping employees understand that they do have control over their response to COVID-19 and that they can protect their health is key to minimizing fear — ironically, a highly contagious emotion — and maintaining emotional equilibrium. This is true for the business, too: Forming a plan, then taking steps to ensure continued operations and gather intel about how employees and customers respond to new workflows, provide positive focal points for business continuity."
This is probably one of the first things you should do; make sure you meet all the guidelines that are determined by law in your country - protect your employees, but protect yourself from any legal risks as well.
"With the rapid global spread of coronavirus, companies should focus first and foremost on employee safety. And as they’re reviewing their strategies, policies, and procedures, many leaders are specifically wondering about their legal risk. Not having adequate communicable-illness policies and response plans could expose them to a laundry list of HR-related legal concerns."
If you had experience with remote work and work from home before Covid-19, you probably don’t realize the big advantage you have compared to “traditional” business, which had to switch to being remote basically over night, with no previous experience or proper tools. Either way, take this as an opportunity.
"While some are busy buying up software and equipment to adjust to the “new normal,” the remote-connected competitors are not only keeping pace, but gaining momentum. It’s unfortunate that it’s occurring under these circumstances, but my hope is that the resulting work culture IS the “new normal."
There is probably no better time to go digital than now, but when you think about your digital transformation, think about it strategically.
"A strategic approach to implementing technology can help you build meaningful relationships without meeting in person, stay connected to your team members (and to your customers) while working remotely, and maintain the performance and security of your systems from afar."
Even if all you want to do now is panic, this is definitely not a good strategy that will keep your business going in hard times. Find new creative ways for your sales presentation and reengineer your solutions. The worst thing you can do now is stop selling.
"Deals may get stalled in your pipeline. But make sure you keep them warm. And keep checking in with your leads. Some companies may hold back on investment until the uncertainty resolves. But look for the first sign that the crisis is ending. You should make up for some temporary losses very quickly."
If you are a business leader, managing a crisis is almost inevitable. The current situation is without a doubt exceptional, but one thing is certain: the more prepared you are, the faster you’ll recover. There's no better time to review your business strategy than right now
"The key to managing any crisis is preparation."
As a digital marketer these days, your messaging should focus on making people feel safe; be informative, be relevant and be the one who empowers the audience with knowledge.
"People feel isolated and uncertain in this environment, which is critical to recognize as both a fellow human and a marketer. Marketing that fails to acknowledge these circumstances risks alienating an audience altogether."
Are you helping your clients with social media strategy or you simply need some advice for your social media activities? Then this article from AdRoll is perfect for you. Learn why is social media important in a crisis like COVID-19? Why focus less on you and more on your audience while exploring new ways to deliver your message.
"Your customers are looking for ways to be social, to connect with others and even to be distracted from everything that’s going on. Social media is the perfect platform for brands to engage with customers in this way and create opportunities for now and into the future."
Even those agencies that haven't been hugely impacted by it will have to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis. However, although it's not business as usual, there is still a lot of demand for digital experience and as such plenty of opportunities for agencies. You shouldn't stop your marketing and sales effort altogether, but you should revisit your strategy with regards to your company's financial stability.
"Customers still want experiences. I mean, right now, there are hundreds of millions of people in the US and certainly more worldwide who are at home, if not all the time then much of the time, they still want experiences, they still want distraction - maybe now more than ever."
I hope you'll find this round up useful; and don't forget - in case you need a trusted teammate for your business, we at Agiledrop are always happy to help!