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14 May 2020

Craig Kent is a CRM marketing consultant with over 20 years’ experience who has worked with us as a candidate in that time. In this guest blog he discusses the importance of marketing and planning strategy during this period to ensure that post-lockdown your business is positioned to move forward positively... 

 

The terms ‘lockdown’ & social distancing’ have suddenly become the most over-used words in the English language. Everyone is an expert in what it means to socially distance yourself from other people, but believe me, this is not the time to distance yourself from your post-lockdown marketing strategy. Your future success depends largely on how you plan for a new, uncertain future, so what are YOU doing right now to prepare?

 

As a famous soul singer once said; “We have all the time in the world”. Until March 2020 nobody really knew how this felt, but right now most of us do have more time than we know what to do with. We look to politicians, scientists and doctors to navigate a path through this, but the new normal will likely be nothing like the BAU we experienced up to now. You might well ask ‘how do I plan for something I know nothing about?’ In my opinion, that’s the beauty of the situation… what we do now as marketers will help define the ‘new normal’, not in terms of how society as a whole emerges from the pandemic, but you can determine now how you want your customers to interact and engage with you in the post-COVID-19 economy.

 

Lots of brands, big and small appear to have gone to ground in the last few weeks; furloughing, panicking, worrying – all negative words when what we need right now is hope. My late grandmother always used to tell me “where there’s life there’s hope”, and now I’m starting to see what she meant.

 

Now is not the time to furlough your marcomms & CRM planners. Now is the time to put them to work on devising a segmented, customer-driven communications strategy that not only looks to re-activate lost customers in 3 to 6 months from now but a strategy that starts today, aimed at engaging your customers via email so that you retain their interest and trust in your brand.

 

By ignoring your current prospects and active customers you are giving your competitors a chance to steal them, long before you even realise they are gone. You wouldn’t act like that in normal times, so don’t passively let them go now.

 

So, what’s the solution?

 

Simple really. You may not be able to sell to or engage with customers like you would have done pre-COVID, but you can talk to them about what you as a company are going through at a time when you are struggling to come to terms with the new normal, just as they are. If you used to email them weekly, why stop now? This is your brand we are talking about and no matter what you think, the world is still spinning and time has not physically stood still.

 

In fact, now is a great time to plan the next year’s comms. You may not be able to get the exact send dates or even your offers / messages right, but you can turn a blank sheet of paper into a top-line plan. You can even go further and add some meat to the bones – take a look at the health of your database today and compare it to a month ago. What are the numbers telling you? This is the starting point on which to build your new CRM strategy.

 

The worst thing you can do right now is nothing. Not just from a customer engagement perspective but from a technical standpoint too. If you suddenly stop your email marketing you will likely run into serious issues with ISP’s no longer recognising your sender reputation and spam traps ready to catch your emails when you hit the re-start button. Gmail, in particular, can be a real problem as chances are at least 40% of your customer base will have an associated email address and once you get flagged as a bad sender with them, you can have real trouble trying to restore your reputation.

 

You may have all the time in the world right now, but time has a funny habit of running away from you if you’re not prepared for what’s next. Plan now and prepare to profit in the longer term.

 

A bit about the author

 

I am Craig Kent; a CRM marketing professional consultant with over 20 years’ experience in creating data-driven, targeted customer communications across Email, SMS, Mobile & DM. I have worked across multiple sectors from travel, leisure, retail to gaming, telecoms, education and many more. Brands include Shell, PayPal, Ladbrokes, Three & Huel.

 

As a freelance Consultant, I can help you with your strategic planning, segmentation, email marketing from copywriting to processes, testing and reporting. Basically, I am a leading expert in customer conversion, retention and reactivation strategy and panning.

 

If you would like help or some free advice feel free to get in touch today…

ckms@craig-kent.co.uk

+44 (0)7813 589 830

 

If you would like to write a guest post for us, please contact our Marketing Manager Tom Johnson.

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