In this Webinar, Ambrose Blowfield and Grant Difford discuss the importance and value of marketing and focused marketing strategies in uncertain times.

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Welcome to marketing strategies for the new normal. It is my utter privilege to guide you through this first part of a three-part series we’ve put together for you to help you with your marketing, in terms of marketing strategy your online marketing and your social media to help cope with the new business environment we find ourselves in.

Having a plan, certainly in times like these is important. It’s something that can guide you, something can stick to but at the same time it doesn’t have to be so rigid it has to be adaptable.

It has to be based on data, it has to be based on the things you can control what we often see is people either not having a plan or having a plan that’s too rigid that they can’t adapt. What I try and do is look at simple strategies that can move you quickly, and you can get results, and then that gives you momentum.

If you stop marketing, you essentially allow your competitors to take your position in the market. Same in the GFC I spoke to a major consumer and construction brand and they said we have not grown in the last year, they stopped the marketing to save money and they lost market share.

So, it’s very simple. Even if you have a few hundred dollars, make sure it’s going in the right spot. The second thing is marketing is becoming far more sophisticated but the thing at the heart of it is to remember you’re always marketing to a human being.

We’re not marketing to a website; we’re not marketing to a blog. We’re not marketing to robots well not yet. Remember the messages have to be human. They have to be relevant.

They have to be empathetic specifically right now. And they have to add value because the competition is easier and larger than ever. So, being very human about your message and the way you communicate, I think is right now and the future more than ever.

I think we’ve possibly passed all of the sympathetic and the look after each other, and the constant COVID 19 messaging which was all completely appropriate, but also it traps us in the mindset. So, what we’re seeing now and certainly New Zealand into week two, is pro-active value addition.

Right now, it’s about language it’s about empathy, it’s about adjusting your marketing campaign once again, not turning it off, just giving it a once over, make sure it’s relevant back off on a few things maybe come forward on a few things. But people are still consuming. They are still consuming but they’re doing it differently. And that’s where you need to adapt.

What does that look like for the future? If you’re not looking hard at your business or the way you market, then get into it quickly. I’m seeing people adapt, literally by the hour by the day, new services more innovation more scale, omissions, we’re going to stop doing this because this doesn’t work in context, and maybe it hasn’t ever worked.

The digital world is going to explode. It’s been growing at a phenomenal rate in the last few years. But the new normal won’t be good enough. Better is the requirement. Better systems better communications better services more value. And essentially, I think, to not only survive but grow is being far more adaptable. I think possibly when the good times are around, we get a bit sloppy we get a bit blah about what we’re doing, we possibly, don’t try the things we should be trying, and now people have been forced to.

Resilience is built through action, and it’s the only thing you can do and being brave and stepping into new spaces. It’s not about being reckless but it’s about accepting that growth comes on the other side of fear. And I think that’s what we’ve got to learn quickly, right now, and being brave, doesn’t mean big things. It means just moving forward, innovation comes mostly from improving something that already exists.

There are a million things you can do, but these I believe are the things you can either deal with now, actually get on with, possibly with limited resource or time or investment, but equally, they’re looking at how we help you into the future content strategy, you can start today you can start right now, but it might not play out for a few weeks or a few months.

But current customers, new service, you can generate a new opportunity very quickly communicate it very quickly and generate revenue. Right now, once again with the context and with compassion, but there’s no reason not to be creating value with your current customer base.

Things like mission and values, what we’re seeing more and more companies have been operating in business as usual. We know businesses grow significantly and become more stable with a really strong mission, and a set of values to operate around that can take a little longer to bed in, but that’s the payoff for the long term, and I think any business that doubles down on that right now, will benefit in 12, 18 months two years, five years down the line, ignore it at your peril.

Don’t try it all. Pick the ones that you have a path of least resistance, where you’re confident. Maybe it’s where you have the resource. But if it’s something you haven’t tried. Try it. There’s very little risk in many of these things. The only risk is not doing anything.

Content strategy – the biggest barrier we see, and I’ve suffered it myself, is when it comes down to putting yourself out there as a brand or as a person. There are so many platforms out there and there’s so much that can be done people often get paralyzed by, even the thought of it.

The tip here is to look at short and long. We can use lead magnets at scale, and it generates between 120 to 150 leads a month. Using paid traffic. That’s sharing high-value content upfront and giving it away. Now, the biggest challenge we have is people are scared to give away their IP. But remember, there’s very little that’s new. What’s different is the way you do it.

By giving a little away, leaving that breadcrumb trail, whether it’s through video content or guest blogging, you start to get into the leverage of audience, and you build thought leadership. I think the problem with a lot of content is people want a response or ROI straightaway.

Content strategy is a medium to long term strategy, but like planting a tree when’s the best time 20 years ago, when’s the next best time right now. And it can be very simple if you’re great at writing, if you’re great at the video, create a video and share it. It’s free to distribute. So, once again, even with a podcast use your phone recorder use something like SoundCloud distributed on your LinkedIn or Facebook wherever your audience is. It will get consumed and it may not be at scale, but it will get consumed build on each time and do more.

The definition of lead magnets, is traffic hits your website or landing page, give over their name and email address to receive something downloadable have particular value. And then you can manage them, and you said that the traffic that you’re driving through paid online advertising.

It can be as simple as a one-page checklist, or which we have we have accountability. We have 10/12 page strategy plans. The reason we want to give them away is that we want to show that we know what we’re doing.

And I think people are afraid that you should be paid before you tell. It’s an old model, you need to show value straightaway. We use a mix of LinkedIn and AdWords for our audience and we are probably getting between five and 10 leads a day in this current climate.

A lot of sales reps traditionally would give away face to face, but we don’t have sales reps face to face so we might as well give it away come one, come all and access a new market or retract the existing market now this I love because this is the ultimate around the whole cross-selling concept, you know, leveraging off the existing goodwill and relationships, you’ve got and gone after new things.

What do you mean by current customers, new services?

We have talked about adaptation and innovation right now. It’s certainly something that if you have a long-term approach to your client relationship which we particularly do. What we try and do is say, look at the markets, this will be appropriate to you now, versus what you did last week.

My Food Bag is a great one, they started with a, what I would say as a premium offering. Beautiful meals, etc. But their idea is essentially to create convenience through really good quality food in fast-paced world, but you’ll see there’s bargain box which is a budget option but remember, they’re still providing a core service, they’re providing food at convenience.

Good pricing relevant to your needs. So, whether you have a high disposable income or a slightly lower, they have adapted to both parts of the market which allows them to deliver that core service but in different customer demographics.

You can do this in many ways. We’re seeing a lot of gyms adapt, a friend of mine had a Yoga, studio within a week now she’s got, online classes. Once again, we are creating a new kind of convenience, what we’re doing by is we’re giving our customers and our clients time back in their lives because they don’t have to come to see us.

But what we’re doing these enabling us to do more business, better business, and less waste, fewer costs. It can be subscriptions; it can be e-commerce.

Personal branding has been around for a few years. There are some great examples here, Nadia Lam she came from MasterChef, she’s built an incredible personal brand in New Zealand, part of my food bag, books, and kids shows all sorts. It’s about realising that people do business with people they don’t do business with companies as Simon Sinek advises.

Simon developed the concept of why, people buy why you do what you do, not what you do. And that’s that relates to personal brands so when it comes to the times that we’re in the likes of LinkedIn, or any platform that hosts your community-building a personal profile in there is going to be so important and is already so important.

Other examples like GaryV, Seth Godin and Tony Robbins all have personal brands that they leverage into other areas of their non-core skills, speaking, books, shoes, wine… the list goes on. The consumers buy into the person, not the product they sell.

Be authentic and be yourself. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not the world is so transparent that you’ll be caught out.

Leverage and joint ventures. This is something dear to our hearts because we’ve essentially formed a joint venture around because we can leverage off the skills you and your passionate team have and the passion and knowledge that we’ve gained over many years ourselves. We see examples of Kiwi brands leverage each other’s brands and communities to grow their market share.

The greatest example we’ve got I believe in New Zealand because what you’re doing is and this is the backdrop in the ego, honestly, as Winnie the Pooh said to Piglet, life is more fun with two. And I think this is a time of collaboration, probably five years ago the word collaboration was used by marketers and businesspeople, whereas collaboration right now is the ability to move forward together.

Some people might not be able to move forward on their own. For several months we have been talking to each other we saw an opportunity where actually, we were better off working together than alone because we saw all this potential.

Whittaker’s have done a great job with the brand extension working with Lewis Road, Plunket and KBars. This is leveraging their communities, introducing new ones and also nostalgia marketing, introducing a younger generation to the things we once loved and are taking a second swing at.

If you’re not online, you’ve got to get online really quickly. Even if it’s just a brand to build awareness.

You don’t have to be online with e-commerce some businesses can’t do that. But awareness and the ability to be found is critical. We’ve got to stop thinking we can just do business in New Zealand you can do business anywhere in the world. So being online is important.

You’ve got to build a brand online nowadays as consumers want to know who they’re doing business with.

With being online, this creates the opportunity to use data to further understand demand and where your customers are, their behaviours and ultimately, how you can help them.

Driving business through mission and values. Firstly, have a mission, it’s pretty straightforward. Many companies have an arbitrary statement that they don’t follow, and many companies I went to Bernie brown in Sydney and there were 4000 people in the crowd said how many people have values, most people put their hands up. She asked another question which I couldn’t require remember, half the people put their hands down. She said, how many people operationalize your values and only 12 or so of us held our hands up.

Getting your mission and values dialled in right now is essential to create a great business for the future.

Keep it simple. Get Started. Don’t be afraid. It’s all a bit scary we work in it every single day and it changes every day so just start really simple and look very little in marketing is going to be a high risk unless you’re spending 10s of thousands of dollars on print, or something tangible.

It’s relatively low risk, and you can move quickly you can move, really, really quickly, and just have fun with it. If you’ve been in business for five or 10 years, you’ve got a lot of testimonials you’ve got a lot of experiences, just share them.

Remember, humans, love stories. They operate within the paradigm of stories to tell stories, and you’ll be sweet.

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