See Chief Marketing Officer Rich Taylor’s full video discussing this dental clients’ pivot during the pandemic: Full Video Here
Plumbers and trade professionals regularly purchase the supplies they need, such as pipe, fittings,
faucets, sinks, toilets, water heaters and more from a supply center each day before a job. When these
jobs are residential, consumers like to see, touch and try products in a showroom prior to their builder
or contractor completing construction or remodel. The shutdown of foot traffic to all store locations left the company with some big obstacles that needed to be overcome. First was that the company had no e-commerce capability or infrastructure. So, selling online was not an option anytime soon. Second, the company had no centralized customer database. And third, staff and employees were anxious and unsure what to do.
Our solution was to recommend a pivot to direct and targeted marketing for the company to continue
engaging customers in a personal and relevant way. To accomplish this goal, we put together a
framework and implementation plan that involved four (4) key steps.
1. Establish a Single Customer Database. Data from multiple systems was compiled and sent to a vendor for processing. This included de-duplicating records, appending data and consolidating the file into a singular list of customer data that included names, company, address, phone and email information. The process took about two weeks and the customer list has become a valuable asset to enable staff and employees to reach out to customers directly.
2. Create a Crisis Communication Plan. Working with the company’s leadership team our Fractional CMO built a step-by-step plan to help the company communicate with employees, customers and vendor partners during this time of uncertainty. Emphasis was put on finding a way to communicate with employees in real time when many were now working from home and most did not need or have a company email. We needed to tell customers that we were open for business and able to take orders by phone and email for delivery or curbside pickup. Sales and operations staff also needed to dialogue with vendor partners to make sure supplies were on hand.
3. Re-Focus and Shift Brand Messaging. Regular messaging included quarterly sales promotions and a focus on boosting product and item sales. In a time of crisis, “selling” is not the right messaging approach and sticking with it could have given the impression that the company was tone-deaf to the world around them. Our Fractional CMO guided the company to re-align and re-focus messaging on “service and support.” Letting employees, customers and vendors know how the company is taking action to serve and support them responsibly in a time of crisis has had a calming and re-assuring effect on people.
4. Select the Right Channels and Media to Engage Each Audience. For employees, we helped the company find and select a text (SMS) platform that would allow them to communicate with all staff in real-time regardless of their location or access to a computer. To reach customers we recommended using phone calls, email and mail to deliver personalized messaging. These media gave sales and support staff an easy and efficient way to dialogue with customers. Additionally, we recommended using video conferencing to conduct virtual consultations with consumers who were unable to visit company showrooms. Lastly, we utilized social media and the company websites to share news and important updates on changes to service.
While many businesses that depend on foot traffic for sales have had catastrophic losses in revenue during this crisis, our client had been able to greatly minimize the disruption to their business by pivoting in a smart and practical way. To date sales and revenue are down only slightly (10-15%), which is far less than feared. With new capabilities in place to continue targeted and direct marketing the company recognizes that knowing who their customers are, and being able to engage them in a relevant and personal way, will serve them well both in getting through this crisis and recovering and restoring growth after it. Best of all, these efforts to be responsive to the needs of employees, customers and partners have strengthened the company’s already strong reputation earning them increased trust and loyalty.
At yorCMO, our Fractional CMO’s partner with you to offer leadership, advice and a proven process to ensure marketing fulfills important customer and sales goals . We work with B2B and B2C companies regardless of size or industry. yorCMO is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, with a distributed team of highly experienced fractional CMOs serving clients throughout the United States and worldwide.
For more information about yorCMO’s affordable, effective fractional marketing planning process – or to speak with Rich Taylor about his approach to building brand authenticity – call 773-368-5135 or send an email to rich@yorCMO.com.
About the Author:
Rich is one our fractional CMO’s and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s held leadership roles at top agencies, directed marketing for a Fortune 100 company and been CMO at a leading regional retail chain. He’s also worked successfully in a number of start-ups and fast growth venture capital backed firms. Rich is an expert in integrated marketing, including analysis, strategic planning and campaign management, He is also co-author of “Authenticity: Building a Brand in an Insincere Age” which is available from Praeger Press in Jan 2020.
Rich is based in the Greater Chicagoland Area and has strong experience working with clients in Retail, Grocery, Food & Beverages and Consumer Goods.