When planning ahead became the problem
Everyone has seen the memes this year where the humor of “what could possibly happen next?” in a year where uncertainty definitely became a reality. While intended to be humorous, this question of what could possibly happen next constantly lingers on as we approach the Fall of 2020.
At the beginning of the year, our marketing team like most, had a well thought out plan for the coming months and what the approach for customer acquisition, social media paid campaigns, email marketing, along with budgets, and we seemed pretty satisfied with our plan.
Coupled with primarily working in the sports industry, everything appeared to be set up for success. Around the middle of March 2020, sports came to a screeching halt, the country shut down, surrounded by so much uncertainty and all of the planning ahead basically went out the window, as the foreseeable future was unknown.
After the panic attacks
After we caught our breath from the mild panic attacks of what exactly we were going to do, our team got together and discussed our approach - knowing well enough that we could not execute like we had originally planned. Most of the country was now working from home, and our team was no different, facing an uncertain future on multiple accounts.
The key here was teamwork along with knowing and understanding our audiences. Again, I cannot emphasize both of these enough, knowing our audience and teamwork. Without which, we would not have been able to move forward and create a marketing plan for only a week ahead, at a maximum.
Utilizing several forms of engagement with our audience via surveys, social media and email helped us to cultivate an approach that would allow us to market to them in a sensitive and effective manner. At a time that, as we have heard so many times in 2020, to be considered “unprecedented times”, we had to make sure we thought about our audience, what they may be going through and overall what their goals and motivations were. Were they the same as they had been? We used several testing strategies on all of our mediums - social and email, like we always had in the past to confirm that our messaging and approach was impactful and successful. Once we figured out the messaging and the approach - we were back and ready to reach our audience, gaining leads and acquiring new customers. Actually, at a higher rate than we had in January 2020.
This didn’t mean that the work was done though and it was smooth sailing from here. Actually, not even close. No auto-pilot here! Constantly testing to confirm proper messaging and the approach was done weekly. In addition to a global pandemic, civil unrest across the country was looming as well during these “unprecedented times”. Working primarily the sports industry meant that our messaging and approach had to be sensitive, inclusive while deliberate, established only through MORE testing.
Constantly evolving planning and testing
The original marketing plan for 2020 never included needing to accommodate a global pandemic, a national shut down, the sports world coming to a halt or even civil unrest across the country. However, 2020 has taught us that we need to be constantly evolving and having a loose plan for even a short term coupled with testing of messaging does lead to success. Also something that did not change, teamwork and knowing your audience are key!
August 31, 2020
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