Is your current marketing plan out the window with the current market changes? Is your sales team wondering how to sell in the current environments? These are questions in every business today.
Perhaps yours is one of the companies that has developed a plan and is successfully fulfilling orders in support of customer-facing letters to explain COVID-19 response. Or, maybe you have developed a program to sell distance markers or to print needed personal protection equipment (PPE). If this is your company, congratulations—but you aren’t out of the woods. And if your company hasn’t found that market, you know you are in the woods. So, let’s consider some marketing strategies for the near term.
Your business, prior to the rise of the current business situation, had a plan for building business, serving customers, expanding into new areas. Based on that plan, the sales team identified which existing customers to upsell and cross-sell, and which prospects to engage. The marketing team developed talk tracks and collateral to support the products to be sold. And then the market faced something we haven’t had to deal with before. In many areas, working from home is a norm, retail shops are closed, and restaurants are closed or reduced to limited service. It’s time for a new plan!
Start by reviewing the plan you have, but then set it aside for a few moments to take a fresh swing. Times like these may call for starting anew, so let’s start with the basics:
- What can you do today? Is your shop running at full speed, or are you impacted by a smaller workforce, limited supplies, or other challenges? Be realistic. What can you produce today and what can you produce soon? How is your supply chain for paper and consumables? Are your delivery chains continuing to operate?
Identify your dependencies and map them to the products you can produce and at what levels. This is what you want to market and sell.
- What are your best marketing channels? If you have an existing web-to-print site that is consumer-facing or customer-facing, that is going to be an excellent channel. If you have not built a web-to-print portal and can do it, this would be a good time. (We’ll talk more about that next time.)
If you don’t have web-to-print capabilities, it’s time to get creative. Direct mail is an amazing option. In conversations during assessments and strategy sessions, very few printers say they are sending out direct mail marketing on their own behalf. This is a great time to show off what you can do and to get it out to your clients. Remember that their offices and storefronts may be closed, so check your client files to see if you can find home addresses for the principals you want to engage in addition to their normal business address.
The goal is to stay visible and to promote the products that you can produce most easily today. This isn’t the time for hard selling, but it is a time of opportunity. Come back next time for a bit more on that web-to-print portal and selling in the time of COVID-19.