An Agile Marketing Plan to Survive Business Downturns
Agile boosts companies’ flexibility, adaptability, and speed to recover from revenue losses during COVID-19.
How do you hit your marketing campaign target when suddenly people are using search so different? Prioritizing the best digital channels, revamping sensitive product messages, and adapt-and-execute with speedier processes are immediate needs. Our economic crisis is forcing the need for a shorter-term, agile marketing plan as both B2C and B2B marketing strategies pivot to reach audiences better. Today’s digital marketing landscape changes so rapidly that we need to be more adaptable than ever. Business upheaval on a global level is why agile marketing is so important. Nab the moment to improve your site attributes to provide great value.
Companies everywhere are experiencing a wake-up call to reshape in their digital business. Long-term resilience can be gained if businesses shift their workflows, technology capacity, marketing priorities, and content creations strategies. This refining will leave businesses leaner, meaner, and better in the long term. Let’s start from the beginning.
The amount of work that businesses face to recover from economic downturns requires agile teams, excellent project management, and a clear understanding of the principles of agile. It is a vital factor in the ability to reach new digital markets.
What is Agile Marketing?
Agile marketing is the focus on delivering value to customers quickly as their needs change. It involves organizational strategizing that includes refining internal processes, and finecross-functional teams dedicated to work in frequent iterations to improve marketing tactics. It strives to deliver business growth by maximizing team efforts to deliver more value to the end-customer. Agile Marketing was born from agile software developers that saw the need to change plans as new marketing needs emerge.
In times of uncertainty, having an agile marketing process that can adapt messaging and medium is a key way to demonstrate social responsibility, empathy, and consumer centricity. It means quickly aligning your brand positioning in a sensitive way. You can connect thoughtfully by providing digital responses that are needed most in-the-moment. This will help you stand out in search to gain a competitive edge.
The agility to transform your marketing plan is imperative for every business that wants to grow. From small businesses starting out in SEO to the well-established enterprise site, being flexible means survival. This point is made in every marketing study related to how businesses can sustain competitiveness and be relevant as the world becomes increasingly digital.
Agile Marketing puts decision making in the correct hands – that of digital marketers. They are best prepared to set and achieve strategic business objectives as well as benefit customers.
How does New Technology Affect Agile Marketing?
The impacts from advancing technology and consumer needs are felt by every online organization. From an organizational approach, technology affects your ability to collect and organize marketing data into useful datasets. Savvy use of new technology can help you reach consumers faster. It also informs your process of developing new types and formats of advertising assets.
As marketing reacts to this ever-shifting landscape, measurement strategies should be similarly agile. Adversity brings opportunity for businesses that take advantage of it. Being present in small precious moments by meeting consumer needs builds brand trust.
Our current pandemic and retail stresses create the steepest learning curve in all our professional lives. You can use downtimes strategically to meet new BERT algorithm requirements.
How rapidly can you transform when the business world is turned on its head and your team’s fundamental mission — growth — takes a back seat to survival? Your digital marketing team is tasked with driving responsible and sustainable growth; today it’s functioning under a new mantra of organizational agility. The demand to be flexible and make rapid changes has never been higher.
How do Agile Marketing Principles Impact Content Creation?
Make content marketing work a bit easier by learning and adopting the Agile Marketing Plan methodology.
Challenging times in maintaining business revenue can transform our collective capacity to discover imaginative ways to add value. You can structure your library of digital content better. You can make in-demand answers available now -right at consumer fingertips. Try to improve your capacity to provide personalized search experiences. Your business can take a lead by demonstrating the possibilities of extraordinary feats of advanced technology generosity and altruism.
Agile can transform your approach to project management. As, well, many companies are gaining a competitive edge by providing immediate answers in virtual settings using Artificial Intelligence conversational chatbot services.
“At the simplest level, the Internet expanded our already capacious, triangulated nervous system to touch the nerves and synapses of a changing and chaotic world.” – edge.org
Recognize New Marketing Realities and Know Where to Adapt
How do I have an agile digital marketing plan in the midst of business churn?
When faced with new marketing realities, a rapid change focus that helps you reprioritize can keep your company resilient. Understand paradigm shifts in consumer sentiment. Deliver helpful information and experiences that fit agile moments. Know when it is and is not the time for self-promotion or upselling. Your true guiding light is the intent to ensure that you’re addressing the needs of your users. Shift mobile advertising campaigns accordingly.
Detect, adapt and discover new opportunities for your business to thrive.
10 Ways to Revamp Your Marketing Strategy During Business Downturns
1. Create a collaborative spreadsheet of change suggestions
2. Identify where you can provide more Values-Based Marketing
3. Put your efforts where they matter most
4. Use data-backed insights to drive your marketing decisions
5. Know your marketing objectives
6. Assess and improve your owned media assets
7. Keep a personal, positive, and professional tone
8. See the Bigger Picture: build for long-term business value
9. Stay the course of delivering top-level customer experiences
10. Consider Google My Business as your new website
1. Create a Collaborative Spreadsheet of Change Suggestions
A priority chart of change suggestions can be helpful in planning who is responsible for which change implementations. Attach an estimate of the value to each proposed change and the level of effort needed to implement them.
This often includes adapting former processes for approvals, team deployments, and updating launch checklists to conform to new marketing strains. It may mean training, trusting and empowering the right people to take responsibility and get critical steps done faster. Involve as many people as possible and as quickly as possible to avoid unnecessary decision-making slowdowns. Being transparent, prepared, and concise helps.
Admitting when you don’t have the answers is an important part of building trust among employees and providing information. Invite conversations that embrace creating thinking.
2. Identify Where you can Provide More Values-Based Marketing
Find and fill answer gaps. Google announced new search tips on April 23, 2020, as it’s response when the query has no great matches. This new feature attempts to help the searcher rephrase their query when the search engine cannot find relevant results in it’s cataloged library of answers. Google began this roll-out in the U.S. with “a new message that lets you know when Google hasn’t been able to find anything that matches your search particularly well.”
“It looks like there aren’t any great matches for your search.”
If you can be nimble enough to make fast changes you can be the one to fill gaps like these. Pivoting to provide valuable unthought-of answers is an advantage that small businesses have over larger businesses. A competitive-based loss of rankings may be the hardest to recover from if your business isn’t differentiated enough from your competitors. Values-based marketing is the path to success. Even if it requires business-based changes, the effort will most likely pay off.
3. Put your Efforts Where they Matter Most
Avoid the trappings of relentless vanity blogging. Content creation should provide real value and not just be done for the sake of filling a routine. Advancing technology provides new ways to use voice-activated technology that makes the world more present to you. It also shapes and opens up new ways to become present to consumers.
4. Use Data-backed Insights to Drive your Marketing Decisions
How data is linked to your Google Knowledge Graph is rapidly changing. It is now more of an interoperable means of connecting entities as linked knowledge graphs with explicit semantics. This leads to better visibility in immediate Google SERPs.
Today, the importance placed on precision in marketing, which means reaching the right person in the right moment with the right message, is greater. Precision marketing can’t be accomplished with the agility needed by humans alone. Machine learning technology advancements enable smarter marketing by empowering marketers to drive customer personalization at scale. Once you know what customers want and respond quickly to their changing preferences in real-time, you can protect and grow business revenue. Advancing digital technologies, SEO techniques, and better data reports are making this possible.
Investing in data analysis can save you from poor decisions when tighter budgets make avoiding wrong turns a lifeline. Combine your data insights from Google Analytics, Search Console, Google Trends, and other SEO tools to glean new opportunities for your business! Following marketing influencers will also help you make the best marketing decisions.
5. Know your Marketing Objectives
Be clear on your CRM goals. Understand your existing mobile marketing strategy and how it is performing. The idea of marketing channels is outdated today. You need to reach customers at their key moments of intent, whether within Google Maps touchpoints, social channels, mobile or desktop.
Modern consumers are increasingly digital-savvy. They demand transparency, look for trust signals and see-through sales posturing. Social media marketing is a key means to culture and exposes consumer feedback and criticism. It can provide a direct line to brand growth strategies and discovering common questions that you may have missed answering.
Social channels can demonstrate trustworthiness online. Your brand messages need a consistent tone that encourages relationship building. New followers can find your new solutions faster and help maximize the potential of our agile selves and the digital graphs we build.
Businesses find value in doing social listening to identify what your audience may need the most. Be responsive to consumer reviews and social comments. A quick and positive reply expresses that you personally value their opinion. It can result in positive experiences for them and for you and help maintain alignment with your marketing objectives.
6. Assess and Improve your Owned Media Assets
Review how well your visual media assets are working. Our research of digital trends shows that people are relying on visual search more to find what they are searching for. If your product pages have correct schema and are well optimized, you have a better chance to show up in Search Product Carousels.
Your priorities of where to focus your digital transformation efforts may include a remote workforce, video conferencing, or hiring a photographer for strong visuals. Businesses must ask themselves to rethink how they deliver value to their customers in an evolving digital world.
7. Keep a Personal, Positive, and Professional Tone
Marketing automation should support search and personalization. Audit your search capacity to see how well your interactions flow and connect. Ease of use becomes an even greater differentiator during tough times. When people are stressed by hardship, a kind, personal approach can build stronger connections than possible during good times. Google Search Console Rich Results Reports help to determine how well you help your customer’s find answers. You can learn where they turn for information. Most consumers use search at every stage of the customer journey. Your site search needs to support your primary consumers’ needs.
People can feel if you are there for them when they need it most.
8. See the Bigger Picture: Build for Long-Term Business Value
The Bigger Picture is all about how your business can more efficiently deliver your complete value. Building a big picture mentality requires concerted effort and can involve setting aside the minutia for a time. The day-to-day bustle can lose sight of the bigger picture business professionals live or die by. Challenging times may create an astute awareness of a more impactful and successful long-term value proposition and strategy.
Include sourced fact-based content that is marked up with schema. Opinion is great, but facts drive trust and affirm that you know what you are talking about.
The coronavirus has so far produced an overall negative impact on retail. The good news is that some B2B businesses are experiencing more conversions and shortened buying cycles. They attribute it to a renewed focus on long-term business goals and reducing distractions. If your business sees stronger demand, maintaining your paid ad budgets may be as critical as ever.
9. Stay the Course of Delivering Top-Level Customer Experiences
Choosing to “hold”, “suspend”, or “leave consumers temporarily in the dark” will make for a harder comeback after the Stay-at-Home order lifts. Focus on your target audience’s immediate needs and get accurate and immediate answers available in search. Waiting for new budget allowances and the time it takes for adjusted digital marketing spends creates additional challenges for every industry. For healthcare sites open and offering emergency services need to prioritize updates to Google My Business Listings.
Key shifts in everyone’s online business presence include:
- Google Quality Rater Guidelines
- Consumer search and buying patterns
- Your competitive metrics
Delivering top-level customer experiences benefits all areas of a business. That may strat with lead generation that drives customer acquisition, improved client loyalty, up-selling, gaining more positive reviews, and cost reduction. It demands a broader review of the customer experience; it no longer can just be called a marketing responsibility. For CX and web design to be truly successful, the entire senior management team needs to be convinced about its positive impact on both business top and bottom lines.
10. Consider your Google My Business as your New Website
Google My Business has gained renown as lifeline for businesses during times of disruption, as well as a key source for daily search visibility and more.
The rising importance of Google My Business Profiles means:
- Optimize every aspect
- Gain inclusion in Google Maps local packs
- Increase Voice Search velocity for Local SEO
Prioritize Business Agility Over Business Growth
Be a leader in digital transformation by prioritizing your business’s agility over business growth.
Marketing upheaval is uncharted territory for businesses. Companies are challenged on various levels as consumers ask more questions. These are worth paying attention to even more than revenue streams. These may include questions about business advertising, what core values are, how they support their employees, and how they’re contributing to local communities. COVID-19 is forcing a digital marketing recalibration time. Monitor and tweak your content hubs by closely monitoring organic traffic stats and changes in consumer needs. Be careful not to add to a distracting presence in the midst of throngs of Internet communications that aren’t fact-based and meeting consumer-centric needs during rapid change.
Foundational eCommerce SEO is consistent. It consumer priorities and nuisances that continually change. SEO’s have the best chance of gleaning key consumer search pattern updates. Fresh marketing research will support your vital content marketing decisions with data vs fear-pressed actions. The ability for businesses to adapt quickly may mean staying alive in competitive markets.
How Important is Agility to New Business Growth?
Meeting searchers’ intent-filled moments is of critical importance in organic search.
It means providing accurate, immediate, and personalized answers. Knowledge Graphs are answering a lot of immediate questions. Relationships formed under stress often are the most sustained. We live in the time of voice search, assistants, and AI that uses natural language processing.
Why is the digital transformation demand so high now?
1. Computer are quickly learning our human language.
2. When learned more fully, these machines will provide trusted answers in a new way.
3. Then Natural Language Processing (NLP) and AI will be able to serve up our answers and fit knowledge graphs more accurately.
Google and Bing definitively live in Knowledge Graphs. BERT does a better job of analyzing synonyms, misspellings, choppy sentences, and gets to intent marketing faster. When you add the word “best” to a query, it looks for 4-5 star reports. When people come in, you can tell them about your promotions, inventory, new products, etc.; they can be announced on social media to gain followers. The voice-activated long-tail query is so powerful. It is so easy to ask a device and get an answer.
Digital marketing is going to be more important coming out of a downturn than it ever has been.
This is a good time for small business owners to revisit your marketing mix. Email is interruptive marketing and less effective today. Consider pulling money from things like direct mail marketing, if you’ve been putting dollars there, and invest instead into:
- Marketing research
- Search engine advertising
- SEO structured data implementation
- Content creation
- Social media marketing
It’s still important to sustain your Google rankings for your revenue-driving keywords. If they tumble, then you may find that your rankings hit a brick wall – and if that happens, it may be costly to recover when business returns to a new normal.
Content teams should establish durable processes to create valuable content on an ongoing basis. Going forward that content needs to be structured with schema for search engines to better understand and use it. Audit your schema implementation for new opportunities.
“The most digitally savvy marketing organizations, where one typically sees limited room for improvement, have experienced revenue uplift of 20 to 40 percent,” according to Steven Spittaels. The November 2016 Agile marketing: A step-by-step guide article covers what it takes to make agile marketing happen at scale.
“Many marketing organizations think they’re working in an agile way because they’ve adopted some agility principles, such as test and learn or reliance on cross-functional teams. But when you look below the surface, you quickly find they’re only partly agile, and they therefore only reap partial benefits. For example, marketing often doesn’t have the support of the legal department, IT, or finance, so approvals, back-end dependencies, or spend allocations are slow. Or their agency and technology partners aren’t aligned on the need for speed and can’t move quickly enough.” – McKinsey
What are the Main Agile Marketing Processes?
The most common types of agile transformation solutions for agile practices include:
- Daily business process that improve communication among marketing teams
- Business operation model for delivering value to customers
- The strength of internal collaboration for continuous marketing improvement
- The cultural approach to reach out in the digital space
- How fast new consumers’ questions can be answered in search results
COVID-19 is accelerating digital transformation and the pace of agile marketing demands. It is tumbling walls of long-standing resistance and silos to change. Today’s crisis is an opportunity to change mindsets around and connect with people better. It’s time to get a better audience point of view.
Despite the immediate and urgent economic crisis, we expect a new technological explosion in the form of marketing innovation. Improved IoT, AI, and machine learning are already rapidly evolving at a pace that we’ve never seen before.
An important lesson we are gaining from this pandemic is that every business must be digital. People are turning to the web for all sorts of answers, training, virtual meetings, entertainment, shopping needs, and digital connections. Another important lesson is that the gap between businesses that can compete and win is defined by who is agile. Delivering on speed, relevancy, value, and mass personalization at scale, is defining who wins versus losing businesses.
Are Agile Marketing Techniques the Absolute?
Some businesses applying agile techniques and tracking marketing results claim that they virtually eliminate the chances of absolute or total project failure. Agile means always having a working product that is being built incrementally right from the get-go, so that projects do not completely fail. Businesses that have a development process in place that can rapidly adjust, whatever the niche, have more new successful product launches.
These techniques work both for bringing new products to market and for effective content ideation and creation.
RebelDot is an example of how to use the agile methodology as a framework**. Every product can benefit from continual research on its consumer consumption and benefit from an iterative approach. Iterative marketing allows digital marketers and SEO’s to create and test ideas quickly. Those that show promise can be iterated rapidly until they reach sufficient benchmarks to merit a focus shift. Search strategies that fail to show promise can quickly be abandoned. It’s a cost-effective approach that places the user experience at the heart of the marketing process.
Which well-known brands are using agile methodology?
As of 2020, more and more large organizations are embracing agile working in small multidisciplinary teams. These team members focus on delivering better results in a fast, experimental, and rapidly evolving manner. Well-known companies that use Agile Methodology include Google, Apple, Coke, BMW, IBM, Microsoft, and Procter & Gamble. Many small to mid-size businesses are also well into agile adoption. Hill Web Marketing is!
How is Agile Marketing Revolutionizing Market Research?
Google processes never seen before questions every day. As new consumer patterns emerge faster, this increases the need for more market research. This empowers companies to provide thoughtful answers that offer more value based on the market research. Agile marketing affords companies more ability to connect and reach audiences through a variety of iterative inquiry methods, from multiple-choice and open-ended questions to forums, surveys, and focus groups.
Startup businesses and established companies of all sizes are quickly embracing the “innovate or die” philosophy. Whether we feel ready or not, the pandemic and market shifts are revolutionizing global business as well as traditional market research.
Digital marketers and data science insights professionals find themselves at the frontlines of reading business growth opportunities. They need methods and budgets that empower them to move fast in the face of ever-changing markets and niche industries. The days of commissioning a market research study and waiting weeks for its results are no longer effective. You need to change ahead of or at least as fast as the changes themselves are occurring.
So, let’s recap. What is at the core of this?
Customer Data is the Core of Marketing Adjustments
How do businesses attract evolving consumer needs with context?
Create context that supports the relationships you have with your contacts or prospects to create content that they value and convert on. Context marketing in today’s digital marketing environment may empower audiences by allowing them to feel in control of conversations and the messages that are directed towards them. Try the QansA and Keyword Tool to identify questions asked and topics to cover in your content. Healthcare sites are impacted by both YMYL and E-A-T algorithm updates. This creates a real need for a top search marketer at the helm.
“In 2020, 51% of executives are planning to increase spending in this area (with 45% keeping spending the same). That leaves only 4% that are planning to reduce their investment in customer experience” according to Alvaro Del Pozo, Chief Marketing Officer at Adobe EMEA & APAC. Released on Dec 6, 2019, the Adobe 2020 Digital Trends Report says a key priority for CX leaders is customer journey management.
Consumers have come to expect easy purchase decision making and shopping cart experiences. The modern shopper’s journey is complex and unpredictable in the best of times. During upheaval, it can only be understood and managed in-the-moment, putting customer data at the core of marketing adjustments.
Monitor sales and where they are dropping deepen your schema to boost e-Commerce visibility in search.
“Personalisation to the individual is the parallel priority, challenging marketers to evolve not only their ability to manage customer data but use it to deliver experiences in real-time that are matched to the consumer and their context. The infrastructure is in place at only 38% of the largest companies, and the strategy to take advantage at fewer still,” says Adobe
Google offers a template for ONE PAGE – STRATEGIC PLAN 2020 to help businesses manage their immediate efforts to come out strong. A key that we’ve found for getting into product carousels of various types is to implement schema with the required JSON-LD image size.
Every digital marketer has a fantastic opportunity to lead others to more agile processes.
Agility can only truly begin by once a business has a full and clear picture of its most important data. These critical insights point to the right actions and ultimately gaining better business results in the midst of a flux of website ranking changes. The tumultuous 2020 year, when customer behavior was rapidly and radically transformed by the pandemic, accelerated digital transformative shifts in how people search for answers, make purchases, and gain critical news.
“The good news is that every marketer has an opportunity to become more agile, allowing their brands to reap new benefits at every stage of the customer journey. We are seeing many businesses find growth, even among so much unforeseen disruption, by enhancing real-time understanding of consumers through unified data sources, and closing the distance between data, insights, and action. By leaning into transformation opportunities, businesses are capturing reach or revenue that may otherwise slip through the cracks.” – George Popstefanov on Think With Google
Once you have an Agile marketing plan to drive business growth, you can survive future digital transformations better.
Your path to digital success is how quickly your business can adapt to new consumer needs. Engage deep learning to align faster with adaptive search intent.
Jeannie Hill is a digital marketing specialist overseeing market research, digital strategy, data analysis, content, web design, and site architecture for large companies and local businesses. Focused on data-informed results, she has a passion for, researching user intent, technical SEO audits and finding opportunities to gain new revenue in competitive industries.
Hill Web Creations can lead your Local Search Marketing for Adaptive Market Reach.