Digital Marketing is NOT Your Crisis Strategy

COVID mask on a laptop screen

Nope.

While digital marketing could be your savior in tough times, here’s why you shouldn’t look at it as (just) your crisis strategy.


Digital during COVID, why?

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  1. Whether it is a true revelation or a reluctant admittance, finally some of us turn to digital particularly for its short term cost efficiencies compared to traditional mediums.
  2. With WFH arrangements and spikes in online traffic, it is just natural to go where your audiences go.
  3. For some industries, e-commerce is forced upon your world with COVID, so having a choice or not, digital is now yours truly.

Sure I do it now. But why am I so bad at it?

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📙 You have no histories to speak of.

Whether it is content marketing or advertising or CRM, it takes time to write your own history so you can learn from it. A lot of aspects in the digital realm take more than just an on/off switch to properly operate. If you have only recently turned to digital, success might come randomly as luck, and failure might come often as certainty.

🏗️ You have no infrastructures to speak of.

The overused buzzword “Digital Transformation” comes to mind. While startups & SaaS are of plenty, it doesn’t mean they are built to socket with all your existing (or “heritage”) data points. Rarely a plug-n-play solution would tackle your pain as you’d want them to, without some heavy tweaks & personalizations.

🎓 You have no expertise to speak of.

No, I’m not talking about that one generalist marketer or junior digital specialist or that VP who has worked 3-4 decades in your executive ranks who is on struggle street for Facebook. If you still think digital is something any marketer can take on as a sub-function, it might be a good idea to Google a few bedtime reads. As HBR professor Sunil Gupta said in the piece to understand digital strategies — “Find the pain points and don’t do a Band-Aid solution.”, I’d argue the same logic should apply with the COVID pain where digital should not be seen as your band-aid, and as with any proper long term solutions, expertise is the only key that turns the lock. It’s never too late to up-skill your ranks & hire right.


5 strategy pillars to path your company’s digital future out of COVID.

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🧠 Mindset

Digital should be a staple 24/7 piece for your lifecycle marketing & CRM & user experience, and it should be a long term commitment, not just tapping it to ride the COVID wave. So go brainwash your ranks from top to bottom and start to digital-transform some minds. Go set up internal communications to get the message across consistently, have alignment standups, build teams with growth mindsets, test and learn, etc.

🔢 Data+

Datapoints, trackings, feedback loops, & optimizations. We all have GA and a bunch of numbers from our systems, CRM, POS, whatever, but the “+” comes in to remind you that there’s always more than just data. After you have the right data collected, go get profiles built, triggers invoked, and take insights into optimizing A/B/MV testing, and rinse & repeat. Data is just raw ingredients that cannot be consumed on the table. Your A5 wagyu beef (or IMPOSSIBLE patty) doesn’t cook itself, your feedback loop, optimization flow, review mechanisms, etc are the tools to make it something Michelin worthy.

♻ Automation

Get a good CRM platform with marketing tools. You can be bootstrappy with Mailchimp and friends, or put some money into HubSpot or Freshworks suites, or SalesForce or Adobe. Whichever route you go, you will want to automate part of your process slowly and readily. While it is not magic like the word might suggest (yes it does require manual work, a lot of them), automation will come into fruition into things like performance improvement and increased marketing capacity.

📈 Advertising & Attribution

Content marketing, PPC, affiliate, KOLs, lifecycle marketing, [insert fancy buzzwords]…… Do all that. But make use of your data to evaluate, and attribute against your company / industry / audience / channels. This is one of the shortest paragraphs but packs the biggest basket of stuff. That’s why #5 below comes in handy.

💁 Talent development

Whether it is building your own team or finding external help like consultants & agencies, you will need someone internal to lead the charge. Never forget to upskill your own people, train your executives, perform knowledge transfer initiatives inter-rank / inter-department, so that no one is left behind.


Digital marketing has been around for quite some time now and it is not going anywhere. Whether you have hopped onto the train now or then, there is no bad time to pause and review, to pick up any missing pieces so you can continue to thrive into the ever-foggier unknown.


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