Monday, October 19, 2020

Handling the Unexpected

When’s the last time something went exactly how you’d imagined it? It’s probably been a while. This is especially true for marketers. We can plan and strategize all we want, but at the end of the day, we will inevitably be surprised by the results.

Take 2020 for example. When you were making your New Year’s resolutions on January 1st, could you predict any of the events that happened this year? You probably didn’t even know what murder hornets were before this year, and now they seem to come up once a week. A real marketer is taught to handle the unexpected, which is exactly what Stephanie Cox, VP of Sales and Marketing at Lumavate, discussed when she was a guest on the Alignment Virtual Series. Let’s take a look at how to actually do this.

Panic Mode

Google has all of the answers, right? It’s usually my first stop when I have a question. But when we were all feeling lost at the beginning of the pandemic, we couldn’t just search ‘How to do marketing in a pandemic’. There’s no guide to this situation. We had entered the unknown. How do we do marketing in the middle of a global crisis? Does marketing even have a seat at the table during a global crisis? What should our plan be?

The unknown is scary for marketers. We like to know exactly what we are getting ourselves into; it’s why we obsess over our ideal customer profile, chart any possible scenario in a SWOT analysis, perfect every detail in our campaigns, and so much more. You could say marketers are a little Type-A 🤷‍♀️ . So when things don’t go our way, we enter full-on panic mode.  But with the right tools and an open mind, you might handle the unexpected much better than you’d think.

Don’t Forget Your Bear Spray

When you go hiking, you don’t just bring water and some trail mix – you prepare for a few different scenarios. You pack a rain jacket in case the weather doesn’t cooperate, a flashlight for if it gets dark, and sometimes bear spray just for precaution. Marketing is like camping. You are going to have a much better outcome if you plan strategically. 2020 proved that if you don’t pack your bear spray (in our case, it’s MarTech), you might be in trouble.

So what do I mean when I say, “Don’t forget your bear spray”? Like camping, marketers need to have a tool to get you out of a sticky situation; which in this example happens to be mobile marketing technology. We’ve been saying for years that marketers need to have a mobile-first approach. In a recent survey, 50 percent of marketers admitted they were less agile than their competitors because they had not previously invested in digital tools. Those marketers that had invested in digital tools (like low-code platforms) were able to pivot fast to consumers’ rapidly changing behavior.

Turn Lemons into Lemonade

Let’s stick with our hiking analogy. You can spend all the time in the world mapping out your path, but sometimes the universe has other plans. Use this forced change of course to your advantage. Take whatever scenario you’re thrown into (like a global crisis) as a learning opportunity – you may finally have an excuse to test out a new mobile marketing channel that you’ve always had your eye on.

And maybe this new path will take you to your destination quicker than your original one. Look at Lumavate, for example. We had always planned on switching towards a product-lead growth model, but 2020 accelerated our plans (more to come on this later 👀  ). Understand that just because your original path is no longer an option, your new route may take you to a better destination.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right? No one likes to be surprised (unless it’s a surprise birthday party, but even those are hit or miss). Look at the unexpected as a way for you to grow, both in your career and personal life.