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Wrestling with the PESTLE – Marketing Planning During a Pandemic

Jo Porritt from Crowd Media discusses supporting businesses through the COVID 19 crisis.

Mainly, how we’ve had to place more emphasis on certain services to support our clients through some of their most difficult periods.

All of us have had to adapt to a communications environment that has swung between fluctuating states of crises.

How could we have ever prepared our clients for this?

Planning and strategy are at the core of what we do. It is inherent in the Crowd DNA.

We’ve created tried and trusted techniques that have previously given our clients the opportunity to maximise exposure from marketing spend and gain competitive advantage.

But to be effective, the external analysis process that is part of planning, needs to be carried out on a regular and ongoing basis. Organisations that regularly and systematically conduct such analyses often spot trends before others.

When we started Crowd, we were successful because we took the time to analyse our marketplace, which meant we could identify significant gaps and then move quickly to provide successful solutions.

But that was 10 years ago – what about in 2020?

I found myself pondering how much simpler it was back then. Significantly less channels to consider and a more stable market. It was easier to conduct a PESTLE analysis when you didn’t need to factor in the impact of a sudden and insidious global pandemic.

Social media was in its infancy and we all knew what the marketing rules were; which pegs went in which holes and what the processes were – all learnt during our CIM training.

Today, we not only have to plan for the unprecedented speed of communications developments as a digital first society, but we have the very uncomfortable threat of a world that’s in and out of lockdown. We live with daily uncertainty and widespread anxiety, which shouts loudly at us from every device.

There are more unknowns, than knowns.

We not only need to consider the fundamental marketing goals of trust, advocacy and loyalty but we now have to understand how to quickly communicate a sense of safety through our brand messaging too.

We can only achieve this sense of safety (real or perceived), if we can adapt our marketing processes without causing any disruption to the customer relationship dynamic.

The only way to achieve this seamlessly is to create real time, malleable marketing plans.

So what’s the impact on the marketing planning process?

What Crowd learnt very quickly as our team turned our processes into effective practices for us all to work from home, is that now, more than ever, investing in planning activity is critical. Yet it is often the first thing that is overlooked, usually in the interest of cost-cutting and saving time.

But can any of us really afford to do this with any of our budgets right now, when we need to make every pound count?

Creating a meaningful plan encourages the process of external and strategic thinking and it forces a brand to anticipate future business threats and take action to avoid or minimise their impact.

It needs to live and breathe and be given a seat at the executive table. It should sit parallel to all of the other strategic business plans within the organisation, and be designed to be a missive that is current and competitive.

We’ve been prioritising week-to-week iterations to our own strategy processes at Crowd. Knowing how to make this work for us has allowed us to scale this up or down for our clients, to help them revisit their own plans and view them again, but now through the brutal, but necessary lens, of the ongoing COVID landscape.

We’ve always acted fast.

But 2020 has challenged us to act faster.

We understand the value in this “analyse-plan-strategise-analyse-repeat” process and how it has allowed us to adapt and remain resilient in the face of great external pressure.

The outcome?

Simple – clients that not only eek the greatest amount of strategic reach and engagement from every message and every pound spent, but that know, in a real time sense, how to respond appropriately with their audiences when the world is on fire.

Crowd are marketing partners that balance an understanding of the human psyche with forward thinking strategic marketing.

If we can help you find your place in an uncertain world email us here.

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