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To market, or not to market? That is the question.

To Market or Not?

To market, or not to market? That is the question.

Can I keep marketing my business during the Coronavirus pandemic?

With an awful lot going on in everyone’s minds during these uncertain times, “is it wrong to continue to market and promote my services during COVID-19” – you might have asked yourself?

Most of us running businesses immediately switched to “batten down the hatches” mode as soon as it was apparent business operations could not continue in the same way. For every business that makes it through the coming days and weeks, there’s a mountain ahead to climb, regardless of sector. Undoubtedly the economy will take a massive hit, with some experts estimating equal-to or potentially worse than the banking crisis.

What have we noticed recently?

As soon as the media activity ramped up with news that COVID-19 began to spread in Europe and was likely to impact the UK, the minds of prospects that we’re engaging started to shift. Once the numbers started to climb in the UK, foreign travel ground to a halt and many city-based firms took the early decision to enforce home working; business survival mode took over across the country.

During the last two weeks, we recorded a steady decline in prospects engaging at all with marketing activity, dropping to less than 30% of the prospects we speak with being contactable whatsoever.

Now, the virus will always provide a good excuse to fob-off approaches from salespeople, “he’s working from home, so can’t take your call”… but I think in this scenario, whether they would take our call or not, their minds would be entirely elsewhere and our efforts made in vein.

Will this continue to be the case throughout the pandemic?
As time goes on, humans are remarkably good at ‘getting used to something’. The more we work from home, go without travel and some of our leisure & dining luxuries, the more we’ll just get used to it.

I think as the hysteria and the panic of getting used to the concept of a shutdown wains, the more brain capacity we’ll have to look at our business operations. It takes a considerable scenario of change (which is beyond our control) to prompt many of us running businesses to take stock – analyse our costs, vet our suppliers and restructure our operations.

I feel the time will soon come to step-up the marketing efforts of our businesses and get ahead of the recovery point of this crisis. Our prospects will soon start to have fewer commercial distractions and find a renewed sense and energy for evaluating the value provided by their suppliers & partners.

This provides ample opportunity to position your business as the go-to partner.

Where will there be the opportunities and what is the messaging?

There are several considerations around where the best opportunities will be, and some will differ depending on the type of business you are.

I have listed below some areas where we feel opportunity will likely exist for the different types of business sectors we support –

a. Managed Service Providers (MSPs)
Recent weeks have been a very testing time for all of those delivering IT Support services. Now more than ever, would a client using a good MSP realise the true value in their service. Where inevitably competitors have crumbled under the pressure, businesses use a ‘one man band’ without a strong support infrastructure or those firms that simply discover they have woefully underinvested in their IT; there is opportunity.

As you know, it takes some time and effort to warm a prospect to the concept of changing MSP. Get ahead of the game by proactively marketing & communicating with target prospects while they’ve suffered the pains of poor service or need to make digital transformations to enhance the efficiency and profitability of their business.

b. Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
Never has there been a greater demand for faster connectivity in all our homes. The strain of video conferencing, accessing docs from the cloud or trying to work over a VPN has put incredible pressure on domestic broadband.

Now is the time to strike.

For those of that provide services re-sold from the BT Wholesale infrastructure – up-sell customers to business connectivity and provide dedicated IP addresses. For those of you whom provide FTTP or FTTH (Fibre-to-the-Premises or Fibre-to-the-Home) services, you need to be rapidly engaging customers from a telemarketing perspective. Our experience of this sector has shown a wide-spread lack of education and understanding in what real fibre connectivity is – and how they’ll receive the service. Two key components that’ll block your net-new sales growth, without a human on the phone guiding them through to closing that sale.

c. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
For those businesses working from on-premise software or database applications, they’ll realise now simply how difficult and stressful it is trying to work remotely. Your model of providing flexible terms, pay monthly and work entirely from the browser – solves so many business challenges that people will now be facing.

Opportunity is only ever growing for SaaS services and the pandemic will be a key driver to push that growth even further.

Additionally, for any business…
If your business can compete on price and offer a model that works in a renewed commercial world; there could also be opportunity in the area of cost saving.

In Summary?
Use the next couple of weeks while the dust settles to get your campaign strategy, messaging & targeting right. Then hit the go button.
Get ahead of this virus to help & add value to the potential customers you’re targeting. Sales isn’t a “dirty” activity if you’re truly adding value and not ambulance chasing.

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