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Could you be marketing better right now?

Retailers haven’t stopped buying tech and they may need you more than ever, but you may need to change the way you get seen and noticed.

Are you in denial over marketing as COVID-19 continues to disrupt any concept of business as usual?

Here is a typical summary of how many tech companies are assessing the performance of their mid-pandemic marketing. “We are doing everything we can to keep our communications going, but the feedback has been mixed.” Frustrating thought this is, it’s worth taking some credit for effort when compared to those companies that just stopped marketing altogether.

We’ve had good feedback on virtual events with often very high attendance numbers. But I say, what are the conversions looking like?

LinkedIn has had a huge boost but again, what is your resulting inbound looking like?

You might have pushed out some lovely looking content, but who’s reading and who’s responding to your call to action?

And your blogs? Who’s reading? Are you getting comments? Are any of these turning into conversations?

And email? Are you just pushing them out and hoping for the best?

Time for a rethink

Our perspective, looking across the whole market, is that very few companies are trying to do anything new, creative or compelling. High performance can perhaps wait so now is a good time to experiment.

And you need to start. Whatever tech you are selling, it has probably fallen way down the new IT project pecking order and may even have dropped off the list altogether.

In short, retailers have a lot of shit to deal with without worrying about what you have to say. Sure, most have got plenty of people at home with the time to think of new ideas, but the key decision makers are probably as busy as ever.

Getting onto their agenda demands that you find several burning bridges that need rebuilding, or that the tech you are selling will give retailers a giant short cut to the digital first, on/off line balanced business they are all seeking.

That’s step one. If your solution doesn’t qualify, should you change your offer? Which leads to step two – is your big message actually clear, concise, compelling and capable of cutting through?

Plenty of companies obviously think their content is the tops, because they are pumping it out at quite a rate. Trouble is, most of it is no help at all. A lot of content simply wants to share what we already know – that some bad things happened and normal has gone away forever. We know this now. So what?

Others want to predict what retail will look like in 10 years based on what is happening now and this is occasionally interesting but it does not address retailers’ immediate concerns, and is unlikely to prompt any action from them.

And there are a flood of webinars that generally have a few nuggets of insight, but the subject matter tends to be too philosophical and future focused to be of any practical use.

In short, what I am saying is most companies are doing all the right things mechanically speaking, but their messaging and content is causing it all to either fail or perform very poorly.

Given all these shortcomings, here’s how we think this can be fixed.

  1. Hook – why now and why you? This takes some deep thinking because at first sight, the answer may be, now is not my time. But confront that now , rather than pretend that everything will be OK. It will be OK but it will be different and your current messaging may not be relevant.
  2. Value – In what ways will retailers be better off as a result of using your solution. Now more than ever, you need to focus on the value delivered. To quote Andy Bounds, what will your customer look like after you have delivered?
  3. Trust – Everyone wants to be a trusted advisor because increasingly, retailers and tech companies are going on a journey together, and they need to know that you are committed and capable of staying the course. This is why, if a retailer is buying a software licence, they need to be confident that they have a partner that can implement it well.
  4. Communications – You need to bang that drum and keep banging it until someone says, I think I hear drumming. If your message and content are strong, you should share widely and often, because you are dealing with a buyer who is more distracted than ever and more nervous than ever.
  5. Personal – Corporations generally lack personality, with a very few exceptions and this is a problem now that so many conversations are one to one via a Zoom call. Politics make it hard for companies to put one guy out front, but think hard about who you already have that can evangelise for you. If you need inspiration, just watch Joe Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris’ first speech.

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