So far 2020 has been, as an understatement, an anomalous time for edge data centers and businesses in general. Pandemic policies rendered yearly marketing plans largely unusable, as marketing mixes, editorial calendars, and – especially – budgets were thrown into uncertainty. Out-of-home marketing is out of the question. All in-person conferences, lunches, visits, tours and demonstrations are now off the table. What to do now? The tendency in uncertain circumstances can be to pull back external outreach. For some companies, times like these means cutting, reallocating or suspending marketing budgets. Is this the best strategy?
Edge data center services are needed now, maybe more than ever. Clients and leads haven’t gone anywhere. In fact, they are probably working more. Your prospects and customers are just engaging in different ways. Rather than pulling back, now is the time to pivot marketing efforts. Try some new things. Be more creative. Continuing your outreach means that if things return to normal soon, you can resume business as usual because leads have been gained and nurtured the whole time. If, however, things take much longer to return to normal, you have already started to adapt your strategy toward a new normal. In pivoting, there are three key areas to pay particular attention to: virtual events, digital marketing and account-based marketing.
It’s true that occasions like conferences, trade shows and golf tournaments as we know them are unfeasible. However, that does not mean business events should be removed from your marketing plan entirely. Shift your strategy by turning planned live events into virtual ones. The key is to pinpoint your goals and devise a format that matches. If webinars seem tiresome, consider a virtual happy hour, town hall, fireside chat or lunch meeting (by utilizing a food delivery service to treat your guests). A well-constructed digital event can be just as effective as an in-person one.
With other channels unavailable, digital marketing provides an opportunity to continue communication with your audience. In fact, there may be more than just a small opportunity in this area. People are spending more time than ever online, so viewership is trending upward significantly. However, because of uncertainty, many large advertisers have suspended ad campaigns, and companies that are reluctant to shift to digital advertising are not filling this gap. Ad spending across the board continues to drop, and digital ad growth, in particular, has slowed to a crawl. Accordingly, digital advertising costs are lower than average, in some cases as much as 30% lower. Some early numbers suggest cost-per-click ranges for internet and telecom advertisers have gone down more than 20%. The potential audience is large, competition is scarce and costs are low – so now is a great time to increase (or launch) digital ad efforts. For edge data centers this should mean LinkedIn ads and Google ads, the most effective avenues for the market. In addition, because more people are searching online, search engine optimization (SEO) efforts should be tightened to ensure organic traffic can find you.
To people feeling distracted or frazzled in a difficult time, blanket messaging can seem insensitive or worse – exploitative. To avoid this, employ an account-based marketing (ABM) approach to identify individual prospects or customer companies and communicate directly with them based on their specific needs. Using an ABM approach and tailoring your messaging to a specific target audience means you are delivering the right content, to the right audience, at the right time. So, instead of the risk of seeming tone-deaf, the communication feels conscientious and helpful. Besides, traditional marketing approaches to a broad audience can get lost in the big news of the day (of which there is much these days), so a pinpointed ABM method means there is a greater chance that your communication will resonate with your audience.
Putting It All Together
In summary, you don’t need to back off your marketing efforts during a crisis such as this one. Instead, pivot. Turn your events virtual, experiment with digital advertising and take the opportunity to use account-based marketing tactics to reach your audience. Keep in mind that throughout your move to different marketing practices you can certainly view the situation as an opportunity, however, never be opportunistic. After all, your audience is currently looking for empathy. Forget being disruptive for now. Being customer-focused throughout your marketing efforts means taking a helpful, thoughtful and personable tone. Remember, we’re all in this together. Weave thoughtfulness into the core of your messaging and you’ll be successful in building relationships with your audience – not only as leads and customers but as people.
About the author
Jaymie Scotto Cutaia is CEO and founder of Jaymie Scotto & Associates (JSA). JSA is a provider of public relations, marketing and event services to companies in the telecom, data center and tech sectors.
DISCLAIMER: Guest posts are submitted content. The views expressed in this blog are that of the author, and don’t necessarily reflect the views of Edge Industry Review (EdgeIR.com).
business strategy | edge computing | edge data center | Jaymie Scotto & Associates | marketing