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As the cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to rise and social distancing remains a recommendation, much of world is shut down. Many businesses are at a standstill or close to it, many are left wondering, “Do I need a coronavirus marketing strategy?”

Never in the digital age has a crisis so abruptly changed the way businesses operate. But marketing doesn’t stop, even for a global pandemic.

While some of these changes may be temporary for businesses, many of them are going to influence marketing for years to come.

The businesses that use this time to adapt through the crisis in their marketing, rather than stand still, will be in the best shape to survive a downturn in the economy. Thus, they’ll be able to thrive in the long term.

#1: CORONAVIRUS consumer behavior is shifting MARKETING STRATEGIES

As social distancing remains in place, consumers are shifting from in-person purchases to digital. 89% of consumers say their shopping behavior has been affected by COVID-19. Businesses should shift with them, investing more into SEO, website and online learning management systems, virtual connection with customers, and online marketing channels. If at all possible, sell your product or services through your website via an online store.

Some industries, like restaurants and bars, have been hit much harder regardless of the actions they’ve taken. Others, like home furnishings and fashion, have exceeded their 2019 revenue marks. Businesses should continue to shift to online delivery and click-and-collect services when possible to attract new customers, among other marketing shifts.

reaching customers with content marketing

Up to 40% of many marketing budgets are focused on in-person trade shows every year. Compare that to 8% on average spend on online marketing. The near future of large in-person gatherings is in question, with conferences into May already getting postponed. With those marketing budgets slashed, now is the time to shift those dollars into content for your digital footprint. This should include online lead generation, social media, and content marketing to sustain business growth and interest new customers.

Especially now, consumers want to connect to the brands they trust and see how they’re reacting to a global pandemic. Consumers want to see that brands are there for them and how they are embracing community. This is a huge opportunity for brands to increase loyalty, especially those that are already positioned for online success.

B2B investing more in digital marketing

Trade shows are especially important for business-to-business marketers. With no face-to-face interactions, marketing teams should take time to move their online marketing strategies forward and redefine their online marketing messages.

content planning and editorial strategy is essential

Whether that’s a website refresh, new lead magnets, improving website SEO, or general content marketing — there are countless ways to start the shift and invest more in your content plan. This is a time when B2B marketers must find new paths keep their sales pipeline flowing. Fresh content is a primary source to generate traffic for your business.

You content plan should be simple but effective in reaching the audiences that are important. In turn, this shift will pay long-term dividends even when things do return to a level of normalcy.

#2: working from home will become more common

In a digital age, working remotely was starting to become the new normal. But it’s becoming a necessity as the novel coronavirus spreads.

As of 2018, more than 70 percent of the global workforce reported working remotely at least once a week. Since 2005, the share of the American labor force that works from home has tripled. The majority of employees said remote work improves self-care, stress, personal health, physical activity, and romantic relationships.

The following months will very likely shape the future of remote work in marketing positions that have the ability to shift to digital.

what does remote work look like for a marketing agency?

The digital marketing sector is in an ideal position to benefit from working remotely. Regardless of the indsutry you’re in, digital marketers can continue to align your marketing and brand efforts from anywhere with an internet connection.

Forward-thinking marketing agencies have been prepared for remote work for some time now. Marketing teams communicate digitally internally and with clients, giving regular constant updates on the marketing processes and materials. With tools like HubSpot, filestage, and Google Drive, communication and content can be executed seamlessly.

productivity during remote work

Oftentime with remote work, companies are aiming to increase employee productivity and engagement by emphasizing a work-life balance. According to a Gallup poll, those efforts have been effective, and energyhill has seen success as well.

This is a time to refine these remote work strategies and build on the technology that could make marketing remotely between agencies and clients easier in the long term.

#3: soft skills WILL become more essential

As technology continues to develop, bots and automation can complete mundane tasks (chatting with a customer, for example). However, bots can’t interact and connect the same as humans to create emotional responses, from content creation to business pitches.

While every job requires varying levels of developed hard skills, soft skills are the intangibles that employers often seek out when hiring. 91% of talent professionals agree that soft skills are important to the future of job recruiting. To present value to a company, individuals must portray these soft skills that make them indispensable for their business’s success despite some shifting to automation.

“While hard skills may get a candidate’s foot in the door, it’s the soft skills that ultimately open it,” said Lydia Liu, head of HR at Home Credit Consumer Finance Co. Ltd.

creativity

Research shows that creativity is the most crucial soft skill marketers are looking for in new employees. Creativity is a skill that no machine can replicate. This is especially true in marketing, where creativity is important not only in campaigns but in managing business relationships.

Our marketing team regularly meets for design charrettes to get creative juices flowing and create a dialogue around our marketing strategies for individual clients.

communication and teamwork

Arguably the most difficult part of remote work is not team-working in-person to craft solutions. Face-to-face conversations can spark creativity and innovation in marketing messages.

However, working from home doesn’t change the importance of constant, clear communication that keeps teams on the same page. Putting emphasis on communication between your marketing team and clients is more important than ever to carryout successful sales and marketing strategies.

adaptability

With technology shifting and improving, fearless team members are important to adapting to the changes and keeping clients on the cutting edge. For many, adaptability is an attitude. It’s certainly an important one to have as many marketers shift to remote work and rely on new tech.

Employees who are adaptable show potential to become leaders and embrace the challenges they must overcome. These employees can ask the tough questions, make mistakes, and then learn from them and their peers.

Remaining a work-life balance and prioritizing your health as you work from home is just one form of adapting.

the coronavirus impact

Ultimately, we can’t yet see the full scope of the lasting impact the novel coronavirus will have on marketing. However, it’s clear that trends in this age of coronavirus are beginning to take shape and marketers and sales teams will have to make adjustments.

energyhill has helped position our clients to embrace the marketing shifts in these unheralded times. to learn more about what energyhill can do to drive renue for your business, contact us to discuss your business goals, or check out our services page.

Here we go again, another chain that changes its name. Remember IHOP’s incredibly smart campaign earlier this year? Well, now Dunkin Donuts is changing its name to just Dunkin. Is this really a change? This change stems from the restaurant’s desire to emphasize that it will mostly be a beverage chain. Because having Donuts in their name was limiting to just that. And since their campaign “America runs on Dunkin”…we all know that can’t be solely about donuts, so Dunkin it is. But with any change comes reaction. Just like the IHOP short lived name change, consumers don’t seem to be very happy about the Dunkin Donuts rebrand.What About the Donuts Going From Dunkin Donuts to Just Dunkin

Dunkin Donuts Rebrand

Earlier this year IHOP announced that it would change its name to IHOb. A sensation that was puzzling to consumers all over the nation. Now it appears to be that the same thing is happening to Dunkin Donuts. However, this does not seem to be a marketing strategy, but the real process of the rebrand of the company. The Massachusetts native wants to be known as a coffee empire. So their efforts to rebrand began last year with a few store dropping Donuts from its name. This initiative also comes with other alterations. The restaurant will feature a new store design and digital kiosks in a streamlined made-to-order fashion. As well as new and broader variety of caffeinated drinks. Do we foresee a coffee war in the near future? Is Starbucks on Dunkin’s radar?

The Issues Ahead for the Rebrand

If only a rebrand effort was simple. Let’s forego signage, website, other digital media, as well as current campaigns, what are some efforts that need addressed during this process.

DD Perks

Since they are dropping Donuts from their name, that means that DD must become D. So your DD Card and your DD Perks, may be known as D Card and D Perks. Really? That could easily be misinterpreted. Did they think this through?

Dunkin Still Sells Donuts, Right?

Consumers have expressed their opinion on this matter and to them, the real concern is if Dunkin will continue to sell donuts. 

DD Tweet

DD Tweet

DD Tweet

All In Strategy, Sort of

But do not despair! And believe that the chain is smarter than that. They would not NOT sell donuts and focus only on coffee. So take heart that Dunkin will keep selling their assorted variety of donuts… along with coffee, lots of coffee. Further, they mentioned that this name change will not be permanent contingent upon the success of this new brand identity. Hedging your bet much?

Loss of Strong National Brand

But this commotion in the consumers is not because they fear that the donuts will no longer be a menu item. It has more to do with nostalgia. Dunkin Donuts has been around for decades and is part of most Americans’ daily routine. So this change feels like something that we know will no longer be what we’ve always known. Did we lose you? It’s a matter of attachment and what it means to us, the consumers. We are encouraged to evolve and adapt to change. But when is it ok to not let go?

Energyhill Knows Branding

Before you decide to rebrand your business, think about what your mission is and what your services are. At Energyhill we make sure we define that from the get go. But if you ever need to rebrand your business, we know how to do that too. So don’t hesitate and contact us today and let us help your business grow.

Every business should have specific strategies to keep their online social presence active and up to date. The good news is that you can do something about it! You can grow your audience on social networks if you strategically work towards that goal. To help you get started, we made a list of some easy and fundamental steps that will get you on the right track.Social Media Strategy Worksheet

Set Clear Goals and Objectives for each Social Network

When you identify what your goals and objectives are before creating a strong social profile, then you will be able to have a social presence with purpose. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I going after?
  • Where do I want my company to be?
  • How can I get my company there – to where I envision it?

Knowing what you want to accomplish for your business will help you create meaningful posts that will attract followers. And thus lead you to grow your audience on social networks.

Get a Social Media Strategy

It is good you use your social accounts for a purpose. Set a marketing calendar to plan how often you will post about your services or products. Also, you want your audience to know you are an expert in your field. Thus, having material that shows your expertise will give you more credibility. Also, don’t forget to come up with ideas to release posts every so often, such as blogs, renovation pictures, community highlights, etc. This will keep your audience interested and active in your social pages.

Create Well-Rounded Social Profiles

When you are creating your social profiles and pages, make sure they have working links that lead your audience to your website. Include current pictures of your business and the services you provide, and give details about your business on the bio section. And of course, keep your posts up to date, along with periodic throwback posts to go with the trend.

Optimize Social Keywords

It’s all about the keywords! You need to make sure that the content you have is not only relevant and serves a purpose, but also contains keywords that will help you rank first on Google searches. Include the keywords you want your business to be known for. So, carefully create copy that follows SEO standards to grow your pages’ visibility and prominence in the search results.

Understand Your Social Audience

Put yourself in their shoes! In order to grow your audience on your social networks, you have to think about what the people you are targeting want and are looking for. Make sure you create copy/content that is relevant to your audience. Copy and content they will be able to identify with and that contains keywords they will be more likely to type on their search engines of choice. With this in mind, make sure you create social content that will draw them to your site while highlighting the services of your business.

Follow Your Target Audience and Engage with Them

Following your target audience on social media is just as important as having them follow you. This is especially helpful with other businesses you may want to collaborate with. Participate in online trends, such as holding polls about social events on Twitter, or use the “Ask Me a Question” feature on Instagram, just to name a few. This engagement with your followers will portray your business as approachable, a quality that will help you grow your audience on social networks.

Promote Your Social Accounts Internally

If you already have a strong social account with a lot of followers and a high click rate, then make sure you promote your other social profiles there! Invite your audience to follow your other accounts so they can be plugged in and know of any updates and news. For example, on Facebook promote your Twitter, and vice versa. We call this technique internally promoting your other social accounts.

Include Links to Your Other Social Media Accounts

Make sure you include the icons of your other social media accounts on your website. This makes for an easy flow of visitors and future followers of your account.

At Energyhill we devise the best business strategies to help businesses grow and give them more than brand recognition. Download our worksheet and grow your audience on social networks today! Also, contact us to learn more about how to take your brand to the next level.Social Media Strategy Worksheet thumbnail

How Visual Advertising Will Change Marketing in 2017

Competition for consumers and their hard-earned dollars appears to be at an all-time high. Gone are the days when an ad in the Sunday paper or a banner campaign across the web’s top 5 sites would garner you the ROI needed. Now with media options on the rise – and changing every day – it’s difficult for brands to know where and how to spend their money. Here are some trends to look out for in 2017.

The Decline of Clicks

While there is no doubt that online and mobile advertising are still very useful to brands, click-thru rates on banner ads have declined to a paltry 0.06%. And to make it worse, the adoption of ad blockers is up to 41%. This number is even worse among the millennial generation where 2 out of 3 millennials claim to use an ad blocker.

The Rise of Native Advertising

Craving connection, advertisers tried a new tactic – one that would go above and beyond a simple banner ad: native advertising. This immersive experience was meant to provide relevant content to the user while underscoring the product or service that sponsored the content. Many media outlets found native advertising a boon as it generated content for them while also selling ad space. It was a win-win.

The Growth of Native Advertising

However, as with most shiny new things online, native advertising began to lose its appeal and now it seems that we have moved onto native advertising 2.0. This new version of native advertising will be more visual in nature and will endeavor to provide users with a seamless experience. Also, it will attempt to grab their attention with arresting visuals.

Visual Advertising Takes the Stage

Humans process visual images 60,000 times faster than text. And over 80 percent of people only skim the online content they read. This makes visual advertising even more important. To capitalize on this trend, marketers will start to focus more on images and typography than content. Visual advertising will make it more important to grab the consumer’s attention than to keep it.

How do you see your organization incorporating visual advertising in 2017? If you’re interested in learning more, please contact us today for more information.