By Jorge Abrego
Acres U.S.A. Advertising Director
Most marketers are great at creating plans. We study and know every feature of our buyer personas. We know how to create communication strategies that will appear at each step that a prospect takes in their journey. We know how to plan within predictable circumstances.
But what happens when something outside our control changes our plans? Are we as confident in our abilities to adapt and adjust our strategies so we can overcome those challenges?
These are questions all companies are facing this year as the trajectory of the coronavirus pandemic becomes less predictable. Some are excelling at meeting the moment while others are struggling. But one thing has become certain — marketers can’t just sit tight and wait for things to get better.
The key to being able to adapt is having resilience built into your marketing strategy. Resilience helps you rise to the occasion and learn so that your company can grow stronger and thrive in the future. Fundamentally, Resilience Marketing is about building community with your customers and the communities they serve, and lasting partnerships vital to helping all farmers, especially those most in need and historically underserved, to thrive.
Resilience marketing is agile and responds authentically and effectively to fast-changing circumstances. Brands that offer support, words of hope, and resources during the uncertain swings of the pandemic can ensure their organization stays top-of-mind while reinforcing relationships with audiences.
The idea behind resilience is the ability to bounce back from challenges stronger. It’s more than surviving; it’s about using your experiences to develop skills and tools to thrive. Researchers have found that people can be taught resilience. We aren’t born with it; we can continually learn and refine our resilience.
But what does this mean for ag marketers? Here, we’ll discuss three keys to building resilience into your marketing. These lessons offer a framework to follow as you face challenges to your strategies.
1. Flex and adapt
There will always be challenges to executing your strategy. And there may be times, like this year, where so many circumstances outside of your control completely upend or even nullify your original plans. How your team responds is crucial for flexibility and adaptability.
Rather than focusing on what you can’t change, reframe the conversation about what you can do or change. You’ll likely be impacted, but what can you do to ensure the impact won’t inflict serious, long-term harm to your team and company? Talk about the actions you can take so you experience a smaller impact.
- Do you need to rethink your product offerings or positioning in the market?
- How can you help customers by reducing prices, extending payments, offering discounts or moving to shorter contract terms?
- Should you explore new or different buyers? Channels? Tactics?
- What skills and features do you have that no one else can offer right now?
These conversations will help you create an action plan to meet challenges on your own terms. Make them a natural element of your team’s MO, being flexible and adaptable is a learned skill that you develop and get better at as you go.
2. Failures as learning opportunities
As your marketing team tries new things to learn what works, you’re going to experience some failures. The challenge is to not kick yourself or your teammates while you’re down. Instead of dwelling on the misstep, focus on what you can take away from those experiences and how you can use that knowledge moving forward.
- Should you shift your focus to other channels?
- Might this be an opportunity to expand your target markets?
- Should you move to different tactical approaches?
- Do you need to focus on different buyers who still have a budget to spend?
This is an opportunity for your team to practice the ideas behind positive social orientation. Find a way to take positive lessons from these situations as the best successes come as a result of experiencing failure.
3. Anticipate and prepare
The future isn’t set yet, which means you still have time to change things. Consider what your team can do now to anticipate and prepare for potential challenges.
- Doing a SWOT analysis or best-case/worst-case exercise can help refine plans.
- Think about which teams or functions should collaborate as you prepare.
- Determine which customers you should speak with so you can learn what’s on their mind and address their concerns.
- What actions can you take now to ensure you’re ready for future demand?
- How can you ensure your communications strategy is helping you build trust with your audiences?
Something will challenge our best-laid plans. The key to being a resilient marketer is to focus on what you can control in the present. By building resilience into your strategy, your team will be ready to face whatever obstacles come —and come out stronger than you were before.
Jorge Abrego is the Advertising Director for Acres U.S.A. and has 26 years of advertising agency and B2B media experience in the agriculture, energy and technology sectors. Connect with Jorge and Acres U.S.A. advertising here.