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5 Key Questions to Consider Before Changing Your Marketing Strategy

April 13, 2020
Maria Simeone

Where do I start?!

It’s an overwhelming time for all of us, and especially challenging for those struggling to modify plans with so many variables. Consider developing two plans - an immediate short-term planning for the current paradigm, as well as long-term plans that fit into what will be somewhat of a new normal long-term in terms of how people feel, think and act. 

Spend time on the day to day and executing on the fundamentals.  

  • Your weekly activities should ultimately deliver the results you need to achieve at the end of the month or quarter. Starting backwards can sometimes be helpful so that everything ladders up to the business outcome. 
  • Don’t try to boil the ocean. Make a checklist of weekly activities to help you maintain focus, and KPIs that will measure whether you’ve been successful. 
  • Pro tip: make sure your goals are “S.M.A.R.T.” (specific, measurable, actionable, reasonable, and timely).

We’re still in the early stages of understanding the business and societal impact Covid-19 will have on our world, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start thinking about your long term strategy. 

  • Consider the different variables that could impact your business, and change your industry.
  • Prepare a SWOT analysis for each scenario and work closely with your CFO to understand the different forecasting scenarios your business is planning for. Your long term marketing strategy should stem from this.
  • Identify areas of strength, skill gaps, investment and document a way forward.
  • Review and modify regularly, and remember that flexibility and focus will be key. 

Should I be reducing my budgets?

While many verticals are cutting their marketing budgets, healthcare marketing must go on. Unlike expendable goods or luxuries, healthcare budgets tend to be mostly immune to economic setbacks because healthcare is a necessity. Before cutting your budget, consider the short term and long term impact and what makes most sense for your business. Remember, long term profitability is not sales volume. If your brand marketing receives inadequate support, both sales and margins will erode in the long term because you’ll lose exposure in market.  

  • Balance short term focus on cash flow and long term. A budget overhaul today, will impact long term success and outcomes. Give yourself time by cutting non-essential costs as much as possible before completely throwing our your playbook for the year.
  • Consider programmatic media tactics to optimize campaigns in the most sophisticated and financially responsible ways. You can shift expensive sponsorships, events and time-bound media like print to digital media, maintaining your presence where it’s most relevant and still reduce budget. 

Should I reevaluate my tactics? 

Your marketing tactics should always stem from your strategy. Once you’ve identified what you need to achieve, you can identify the tactics that make most sense. 

Think about what you’d need to change to make your new goals happen. This isn’t just about business as usual. For each goal you choose, identify the metrics you’ll track. 

Prioritize the most important tactics by objective: 

  • Building awareness
  • Educating buyers
  • Moving leads along the purchase path
  • Engaging with KOLs
  • Serving existing customers
  • Generating new sales leads
  • Establishing your expertise 

Evaluate your marketing mix. Determine which tactics are most likely to perform best for your business needs. 

  • How have different marketing channels historically performed?
  • What types of interactions provide the best outcomes?
  • Which assets were the most effective at engaging your audience? 

Now consider how Covid-19 has changed the marketing landscape and audience behavior. Do these tactics still hold up? 

Maintain investments in the tactics you can measure most, like digital, and shift a greater share of budget to those tactics from ones that may no longer be relevant. Digital ads are more targetable, and more efficient spending. Your budget should map back to where your audience is spending their time.

Leverage programmatic for a real time solution to distribute relevant messaging and content that will engage and inform DTC and HCP audiences in an ever changing environment.

How can I maintain visibility with my audiences? 

With people spending more time at home, some brands have responded by shifting spend from offline media to online. On the flip side, many healthcare professionals are unavailable, as they are on the front lines of treating individuals and managing the spread of Covid-19. Your marketing strategy and business objectives should help to inform whether to maintain market presence. 

Either way, your message, tone, timing and the context of the environment you deliver it will be key during a crisis like Covid-19.  

  • Put people first
  • Become a trusted voice
  • Connect with your audiences on their terms 

How can we reach and motivate patients about a treatment? 

Brands must be sensitive and responsive to avoid reputational damage. Programmatic is an always on way for health marketers to continue to ensure that your work remains relevant and significant during these unprecedented times. Tactics like content marketing, native advertising, and programmatic technologies are all useful tools for the health marketer.

  • Content should reflect the changing times and consumer sentiment. 
  • You can increase engagement with Native & Social Distribution, which offers optimal user experience.
  • Consider whether your technology partners offer Dynamic Creative Optimization to change creatives with a regional focus due to the virus. 

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