Maintaining the Buyer's Journey: How to Shift Strategies When Events Are Canceled
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to have a massive impact on events across almost every industry globally. And with marketing teams relying on a series of customer touchpoints to close deals throughout the year, events serve as an important, personal touchpoint. So, when your entire events strategy is canceled overnight, how can marketing teams reach their customers and continue moving their prospects along the buyer’s journey?
Randy Frisch, President and CMO of Uberflip, a cloud-based content experience platform (CEP), shared his thoughts with Target Marketing about event cancellations in the current global environment; how marketers can adapt; and shared some examples of companies successfully shifting their marketing strategies in the light of the pandemic.
How are all of the event cancellations impacting how companies market their products and services?
Everything has moved into what I call a "digital vacuum." Marketers have fewer face-to-face (F2F) channels with customers, and marketers are now feeling a loss of control. So these in-person events, dinners, and conferences are gone, but engagement typically relies on a digital experience as well — led by content assets. The current state of our world has created a 100% dependency on a digital buyer journey for the foreseeable future.
While events, dinners and in-person events are on-hold, we need to focus on accelerating our buyers through online-only channels. Brands are now looking to recreate the F2F impact of marketing by pulling their prospects into dedicated experiences. For example, when hosting an event, marketers must create a series of experiences that guide attendees through a channel that makes sense contextually, and keeps them coming back for more. Marketers must now be thinking about how to tee up digital content in a logical way that revolves around the challenges their customers are facing from channel to channel.
How can marketers adapt their marketing strategy to continue moving their prospects along the buyer’s journey?
Marketers must not only adapt to the circumstances, but they must also tune into their customer’s emotional needs. Brands, now more than ever, need to understand what their buyers are going through sociologically, given the circumstances. Customers aren’t able to wade through gated content and live webinars the way they used to anymore. They’re now responsible for homeschooling their kids or working atypical hours and need to consume content resources on their own time.
Mindful personalization throughout the buyer’s journey is key. Through creating resourceful channels, using personalized and on-demand content will inform and educate buyers at this time — ultimately showing potential prospects where they can be impactful, while highlighting how they’re addressing business continuity. The ability to spin up content quickly to create custom campaigns or updated messaging is imperative during a time when the information changes every few hours.
What are some examples of companies creatively adapting their marketing strategies that you’ve seen work well so far?
I was impressed with how SAI Global leveraged its content to spin up content experiences quickly, being able to build an educational destination amid COVID-19. They're focused right now on how to be there for customers, instead of focusing on lead generation. They’ve also ungated their content assets and are making their resources available publicly.
3M is another company that has been using its content assets to deliver on the topics people care about promptly. It’s companies like 3M and SAI Global that understand that customers are looking for very specific information, and have taken it upon themselves to show their sympathy and understanding of the challenges their customers are facing.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
As consumers are stuck in this digital vacuum, people have no choice but to interact online. However, this is also an opportunity for marketers to enhance the digital journey and think beyond just the standard channels of use. This combined with accelerated speed to market through quickly curated content experiences will be critical for reaching customers effectively.