June 03, 2020
What marketing leaders do today will have a profound impact on their company’s future. Do nothing, and you risk losing everything. Do too many things at once, and you’ll waste precious time and resources. This is the moment that makes or breaks careers.
Oh, and the clock is ticking, as in a Mission Impossible movie, to win customers and their shrinking wallets.
The problem, of course, is that businesses everywhere are cratering. Some companies are in the crosshairs of the pandemic and have lost up to 90 percent of orders. Household brands, such as JC Penny, have already filed for bankruptcy. Travel companies are desperately clinging to hope for an end to this pandemic.
There will be fewer dollars in play. McKinsey Consulting estimates that consumers might cut back as much as 50 percent of discretionary spending. In B2B, nearly 50 percent of companies have already cut their short-term spending.
The race to capture dwindling dollars is on. Companies with the wherewithal—strategy, speed and agility—stand the best chance for success. Marketers closest to shifting market trends and erratic customer behavior are in the best position to help their companies win.
The time to act is now, before competitors get too far ahead. What kinds of actions can you take?
In South Korea, sports leagues resumed games without spectators. In Taiwan, opera visitors keep three seats empty between them. Hair salons have professional crews disinfecting stations between shifts. Companies are searching for ways to get back to business.
When COVID-19 steamrolled China, a large car-rental company saw business crater—a 95 percent free fall in orders in February. Many companies can’t survive such a massive spiral in demand. The moment called for decisive action.
And so the company invested in social listening.
This might not sound like conventional wisdom, but the company knew that the way forward was to find out how customers reacted to their new circumstance. Here’s what it heard: Tech companies in southern China were telling employees not to use public transportation, rather they needed to find other means for getting to the office.
A new market rose from the ashes of the pandemic, and the company saw an opportunity to rent cars to these tech workers. It launched targeted ad campaigns promoting a week-long rental with five days paid and two days free, giving workers a free car for the weekend.
Within seven weeks, the company recovered about 90 percent of its business, reported McKinsey & Company in an article entitled, “Rapid Revenue Recovery: A Road Map for Post-COVID-19 Growth.”
Along this theme of rapid response, the CMO Council is readying a slew of new thought leadership studies:
Tom Kaneshige is the Chief Content Officer at the CMO Council. He creates all forms of digital thought leadership content that helps growth and revenue officers, line of business leaders, and chief marketers succeed in their rapidly evolving roles. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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