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Five Simple Tips for CRM Marketing with Covid-19 In Mind

Now more than ever is the time for empathy. It can also help reduce uncertainty. Here’s how

For the past couple of weeks, I wake up every morning, brush my teeth, meditate for 10 minutes, and change clothes. Routine.

Then, instead of taking a seat on the bus, I’m grabbing a chair in my kitchen.

Like so many of you, the escalation of COVID-19 changed both my personal and professional life. And so, I traded my commute for extra reading and concentrated efforts on how to adjust to this new professional and lifestyle reality.

As we are all getting used to this situation – CRM managers around the world included, of course – here are five tips I’ve gathered on how to rethink your marketing strategies.

1. Adjust for relationship marketing (and focus on human interactions)

Now more than ever before is the time to show empathy towards your customers. Many companies realized this and translated the need into mass messaging, with Gartner recently revealing that 63% of marketers surveyed have done so. Most sent customers a blast email or posted their commitments on social media. I’m sure you’ve been on the receiving end of a bunch.

However, mass messaging might not be the best way. You should instead create personal connections, not because it will benefit the business but because it is what your customers need.

Create segments of customers based on their relationship with your brand. For example, what their loyalty status is, those who have birthday’s this month, etc. Then, hand them over to your call centers for special treatment. That’s what relationship means.

2. Brace for changes in customer preferences (and dynamically adjust strategies)

The new normal is exactly that, new. And not only product preferences are rapidly changing. Perhaps more importantly, what your customers consider an acceptable tone-of-voice and creatives is also not what it used to be a mere month ago.

Retest your creatives, use A/B/n best practices to identify these changes by comparing existing messaging with new messages created for these difficult times. Not all customers will behave the same, and behavior might change week-to-week or even day-to-day, so don’t quickly jump to conclusions.

Ideally, the messaging platform you are using will allow you to run tests in a way that AI is autonomously determining the best creative for each customer and adapting as engagement fluctuates.

3. Redistribute budgets and prioritize ruthlessly (but focus on both short and long-term value)

We must be sincere with ourselves – we don’t know what will work in this new reality. No one does. But we can make educated guesses and keep our fingers on the pulse of our performance. We can’t afford otherwise, as, per a Gartner report, 65% of marketers expect to face moderate to severe budget cuts.

I encourage you to revisit your past performance by analyzing what sources drive the most value – and to focus on them. When redistributing budgets, don’t just look at immediate revenue, but look at long-term value with metrics such as survivability and customer lifetime value.

4. Aim for certainty (and lean into your customer base)

With customer behaviors and preferences changing and digital channel costs rising while budgets shrink, it probably isn’t the best time to try out new acquisition strategies. Similarly, it might be time to rethink whether to use intent-based audiences as a default.

One tip to create a maximum level of certainty is to focus on customers you know and leverage their unique characteristics to uncover new audiences. For example, create segments of your VIPs or longest standing customers and use them as lookalike audiences across advertising platforms. Refreshing your audiences weekly or daily will ensure that you control uncertainty as much as possible. (washing your hands might too)

5. Don’t panic! (and breath)

If I’ve learned anything by meditating, it’s to keep calm and breathe when the going gets tough. I encourage you to do the same.

Do not give in to the urge to reach into the depths of your database and reach out to every single customer. We’ve covered the impact of doing this on your email programs last week, but the same is true for your overall marketing strategy.

Be calm, make sound decisions, show empathy in how you plan, create, and execute your marketing strategies, and double down on the customers you know – there’s less uncertainty there.

We all are looking for some normalcy in these hectic times. Give that to your customers.

For more such ideas, best practices, analysis, and tips for #MarketingAmidCorona see:

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Rony Vexelman

Rony Vexelman is Optimove’s VP of Marketing. Rony leads Optimove’s marketing strategy across regions and industries. Previously, Rony was Optimove's Director of Product Marketing leading product releases, customer marketing efforts and analyst relations. Rony holds a BA in Business Administration and Sociology from Tel Aviv University and an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management.