We hear the phrase “the new normal” all the time – but in actuality, there is no such thing as an original normal or an old normal. Nothing is normal in marketing, ever. It’s either a good economy, a bad economy, a wartime economy, a recovering economy, and now, a Covid economy. So how is your advertising agency faring? Are they pulling it together and making things happen? Generating ideas daily? Communicating regularly? Know the mindset of your audience? Here’s a few things you should be getting out of your agency so your brand stays ahead of the competition and your company remains a player. Or better yet, stays in business.
Know who is on your agency team
It should be the A team – the team who pitched your business. Better yet, if you haven’t seen those folks in awhile make sure they’re still on your business and have not been replaced by a C team of kids just pulled out of school. You might not have a say if you’ve negotiated a certain fee as most agency’s staff based upon fees and margins. Even then it’s your money so make sure you’re getting the best and who are showering you with unconditional, constant attention.
Do not go dark
Hopefully, your agency is not as panicked as you might be. Hopefully they convinced you to not go dark and to keep spending to either outlast the competition or at least hold course right with them. This is the time to protect your earned share of the audience and perhaps, when the economy starts jamming again you’ll convert people away from competitors that have gone dark. In the end, your audience will have appreciated the support you had shown them.
Not a time to rely only on data
Data can tell you that you have ants – a lot of ants – and they’re active at night and eating away your house. What data can’t tell you though is how to get rid of ants. Stop data mining and start getting out into the streets. Listen, watch and learn about your audiences and experience their attitudes and behaviors. People are in survival mode and their mindsets shift daily. No lazy data-driven agency will prepare you and provide solutions for this.
Adjust media accordingly
Your agency should know where your audience has moved to receive information. Everybody is home with their eyes glued to the TV or on their phones and computers. Adjust media spend accordingly – it’s a good time to hammer digital and social.
Emphasize lower priced products or services
A good agency is looking hard at your products and services and connecting them with what people are looking for. People still want a widget, but a low priced widget, not the super premium widget.
Create new lower priced products or services
A good agency will ask you to create products and services over-night to meet audience expectations and desires. Do it if you can. Your audience will appreciate it and stay with your brand.
Adjust your messaging
Your agency should be keeping your audience engaged. They should be communicating with messages that lets them know your brand is on their side and that you have solutions. Messaging should be less “sell” and more “We got your back, Jack.” With that said, stop the “We’re in this together stuff,” unless you can prove it. People don’t believe brands have their best interests now. They know you want to make a buck. So, prove anything you say by doing.
Increase customer service
Your agency should be emphasizing your brand’s customer support. People need you now. Turn off the automated multi-menu phone service and put a human on the line.
Get aggressive with your ideas
Your agency should be coming up with unbelievably engaging work to reach your audiences to keep them inspired. Since competition may go dark, ramp up efforts to steal their audience looking for solutions. This is a great time to be the hero. But only amazing work will turn heads. Demand the best.
Create value-added promotions
This goes with getting good ideas from your agency. We don’t mean discounts – we mean value-added approaches. “Buy one, get one” type of offers work well. But do so sparingly – when the economy recovers and these offers go away, your audience will notice and they won’t be too happy.
Don’t panic during this Covid economy. Get your agency fired up and willing to work hard for you. Remember why you’re in business, your purpose, and your promise to your audience. Get your thinking caps on, get aggressive, plan, keep your spend up, and serve your audience to keep them inspired! And if your agency can’t handle the world and is hiding in its safe place, get a new agency.