This came on fast, almost out of nowhere. It started as a distant threat, but almost overnight it was here and had wiped out critical parts of your business. Stunned, you had to make a lot of hard decisions, decisions you never thought you would consider.
With few options you had to cut, and not delicately. People lost their jobs. Projects and campaigns evaporated. Future plans disappeared. You slashed until you crossed the critical threshold to break even. When you were done, the remains of your company and the dreams it represented were barely recognizable. If you were lucky, you stabilized the situation. You survived.
So what now? How long can you remain this way? Where is the road back? Does it exist? Or is it a new path forward that you must find?
As the immediacy has faded, opportunities have emerged from the fog. This pandemic has created a void as it decimated many of your peers and completely wiped out some key channels and markets. But that void itself is also now a window of opportunity, as hard as that is to say or recognize. Every company should be clear-eyed while thinking on what past strategies must be abandoned, what niches and needs are now left unfilled, and what new opportunities must be pursued to grow their brand and market share coming out of this pandemic. It sounds harsh, but not thinking about it is tantamount to giving up. You need a plan. How can you pivot to slingshot out of your current situation and beyond even where you were before to thrive in this new environment?
Your greatest asset now is your brand and the story and values it represents. You may have once had a sizable sales force, but in most cases, they were the first to go. To rebuild the “boots on the ground” will take some time, as will the return to market conditions that they work best in. No—you need something faster—something that can be done across a wide area and from a safe distance—something that builds off of your brand strength.
Now is the time to invest in marketing and tried and true brand-building efforts. And if you do it wisely, you will maximize your ROI and help your business thrive once again.
There are a few key elements to smart marketing in times like this:
- Build onto and off of your brand story. You and your team poured your hearts into the company, and it represents a great story and set of values that not even a global pandemic can take away. People need inspiration right now. And you are not done. Tell them not only who you were, but also who you are becoming.
- Visibility—Don’t go dark. Let them know you survived. So many things are done from a distance now, and it is more important than ever that your fans and new customers can see you.
- ROI—Don’t over spend, and get the most for your money. Measure your visibility in terms of impressions, cost of impressions and quality/impact of impressions. More on this here.
- Order only what you need. Make sure you can right-size the expenditure and scale as you go without risky commitments. Learn more about right-sizing your orders here.
- Make sure that it matches the opportunity you are pursuing. Not all marketing is suited to all pursuits. A lot of the best opportunities are in specific channels (Off Prem, Delivery, etc) so make sure you customize your approach and assets to match those needs.
- Work with your distributors and retail partners to get buy in. You will need to work together.
The only way to move forward is to invest! Invest in your brand and its visibility, but do so by looking at ROI on your marketing spend. The cost per impression is the best way to evaluate your opportunity to ensure your company moves safely and swiftly into a more prosperous future.
ABOUT DARIN MCGREGOR
Darin McGregor is the VP of Sales and Marketing for Antigo Zeon. He joined the company after working in craft beer for more than 12 years following a successful career in journalism.
ABOUT ANTIGO ZEON
With production in Antigo, WI and an office in Louisville, CO, Antigo Zeon is the leading designer and manufacturer of point of sale signs and displays for the beer industry as well as others. They are also one of the only providers of large-scale domestic neon production in the United States, with history in the industry going back over 30 years.