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Marketing Strategy Planning for 2021 – The New Pandemic Marketing Model

Clearly, it’s been a unique and challenging year, no matter what product or service you sell. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world economy upside down, caused thousands of people to lose their jobs and forced companies to re-think their budgets. In the B2B world, even a vaccine will not reverse the effects of 2020 immediately. Wise marketing professionals are already planning for 2021 and how they can survive in the continuing pandemic environment.

Success Plan for 2020

The pandemic has made it more important than ever for marketers to use more dynamic marketing models as part of their marketing strategy. You need to have plans in place for a variety of “what-if” scenarios. What will another shutdown do to your current pipeline? Will your supply-chain affect orders in process? What if you can’t attend that big Spring conference? Traditional marketing models don’t include emergencies, once-in-a-lifetime situations like COVID-19 and market uncertainty. These models all assume a consistent market. To be prepared, you need to combine a traditional model with a new ICE model to make sure that your business is prepared for the unknowns that are still likely to occur in 2021.

Waiting to put your model in place until 2021 is probably too late – though you wouldn’t be alone in procrastinating. With all the drama that comprises the “new normal”, going through your pandemic marketing modeling today to make sure your company and your team is ready for the challenges of the new year.

Pandemic Marketing Modeling – Defined

For this and next year, we named it “Pandemic Marketing” but it should be standardized as an annual addition to your regular marketing plan. The first step is to start with traditional modeling, those models that would serve you well if these were “normal” times. There are plenty to choose from, and you’ll probably want to use a combination of several. Here are a few that you may already use…

  • Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning. As the name implies, this model looks at identifying customer groups, targeting your marketing to those segments, positioning your product or service to appeal to those customers and structuring your marketing plan to present unique offers to each segment.
  • Customer Lifetime Value Model. This model rates the “value” of each customer, essentially how much money that customer will spend with your company over time. This can be based on factors like their interaction with your company, purchase patterns and social media participation. This is useful in determining which channels your marketing budget will be best spent based on your attribution tracking.
  • Brand Positioning Map. This marketing model focuses on your company’s market position relative to your competition. It plots consumers’ perception of your brand in key ways: relevance, differentiation, and credibility.

These aren’t the only marketing models you can use, but they are some of the more popular ones.

Enter the Cynics

Hopefully you have your original 2020 plan to refer to, but if not you many need a little more work to get up your standard marketing model prepared. Pandemic or ICE Marketing Models add “what if scenarios” and the options for pivoting if/when your market situation changes. The best laid plans often go beyond marketing and encompass business modeling. Most of our strategy work starts with marketing and often brings up gaps in other areas of our client’s businesses that they need to be aware of or shore up before we can be fully effective. We commonly see gaps in marketing to sales handoffs, fulfillment processes, and website messaging.

This isn’t the time for a rosy philosophy. It better to channel your inner cynic or doomsayer! Doing so will likely bring up scenarios you’ve never considered, and having plans for these scenarios will make your company prepared. Anything that affects your business will require a marketing campaign pivot. Plan that out now – at least at a high level.

Commit to paper what your company would do if these extraordinary things happen. But, also think through the re-entry plan once a widely-distributed vaccine is available. Will you have new competitors or less supply? Were there regulatory changes in your industry from the pandemic that will be phased out? All of these affect your business planning and thus your marketing.

We saw a huge shift to digital marketing with the pandemic. From most surveys, most companies are not planning to fully shift back. If you adopted Pandemic Marketing online ad strategies, you best be monitoring all the metrics that go along with them or you could be spending more than you need. We have found a number of our clients dabbling with Facebook and Google Ads only to learn that they were paying way too much for clicks that were not converting leads.

Effective marketing changes faster every year. This isn’t something you should dabble with unless you have a huge budget and lots of time to study the strategy. Like in Vegas – the house always wins. Some of these digital strategies are the same. But, you don’t have to do alone. At Pollock Marketing Group, we help our clients build good plans that anticipate challenges before having to face them. If you need help planning, we’re here and happy to chat.