2020 PR planning was derailed for many companies far too early this year. The global pandemic forced companies to scrap carefully laid business and marketing plans and adjust at lightning speed to constantly changing conditions. We’re now at the mid-point of 2020, and the question is: what comes next for marketers?
Despite the ravages of the coronavirus, we’re seeing some signs of optimism among our clients. They are focused on the future and have moved quickly to pivot their products and services to meet the uncertainties of the post-pandemic world. Companies are rethinking business models, looking for new opportunities to help their customers succeed, and aligning their marketing and PR plans accordingly.
So, how can you take your bearings and set a new marketing course for the remainder of the year?
Here are some initiatives that are a must for every company and marketer.
Re-examine your brand proposition.
COVID-19 put a pause on business as usual, but many companies are using this time to re-examine their brand proposition and the value they bring to their customers. Companies are asking if their value proposition in the pre-pandemic world still makes sense as we face the uncertainties of a “new normal” that is still taking shape.
For the B2B technology companies we work with, the challenges their customers face are sharply different now. How can their solutions help companies in a world that’s constantly shifting, and how should their messaging change to reflect that?
Forward-looking companies are taking time to re-examine their 2020 PR planning.
This process includes:
- Re-evaluating messaging across channels – making sure that their messaging around products and services remains relevant;
- Conducting research that helps them understand trend changes;
- Rolling out new messages through PR initiatives, website relaunches, social media and owned content.
If there was ever a time to roll out new strategies, this is it.
Some changes will be born out of necessity—the overnight rise of virtual conferences and trade shows, for example. There is also increased emphasis on content marketing, social media and earned media.
We’ve quickly made changes here at Ketner Group, too.
When business-as-usual ground to a halt in March, we launched a new webinar series, “KG Connects”. In doing so, we built a new avenue to help clients, partners and other companies explore fresh marketing ideas. It also helped us reach new audiences and showcase our expertise.
At the same time, we started monthly office hours for clients only. The private setting promotes candid conversation about their unique PR and marketing challenges. We’ve used this time to build closer relationships with our clients, and they’ve reacted positively.
Focus on the fundamentals.
Innovation is critical, but don’t lose sight of the fundamental PR and marketing activities that are important to your brand.
This is not the time to go dark on press announcements and corporate communications. These initiatives are essential for securing the media coverage you need to get the attention of customers, prospects and investors.
Are you announcing a major new product or making another significant company announcement in the second half of 2020? Be sure to check out Adrienne Newcomb’s recent blog on the necessary steps for a great product or business launch.
Reallocate your unspent marketing budget.
Remember all that budget you had earmarked for events later this year? If at all possible, use it—don’t lose it.
The cancellation of SXSW early this year was just the first of a wave of event cancellations in 2020. Many events planned for early 2021 will likely be rescheduled, too. You can reallocate that budget into marketing initiatives that will keep up your visibility. We’re actively working with our clients to help them do that, and we’d be glad to offer our strategic advice.
The key thing to keep in mind for marketing now is simple: don’t stop.
Your customers and prospects are looking to you to provide expert guidance in turbulent times. So, it’s critical to communicate with them through carefully planned and executed campaigns. Take this opportunity to re-examine your brand, innovate with new ideas and keep up your PR presence.
These are the kinds of challenges that can bring out the best in our companies and marketing efforts. With these initiatives, your updated 2020 PR planning will help you showcase that.