Ahem… some advice. My last post was on marketing for all organizations and this time, it’s the marketers who I am giving advice to. And as in that post, the ‘now‘ in the headline (‘Four activities that marketers should take up now’) refers to the current pandemic times we now live it.
Here is the advice.
- Develop your organization’s under served brands and the corporate brand
I wrote about this in the previous post. That article listed 10 actions that organizations need to take during today’s pandemic times. You should be talking within your own organization about doing these.
2. Help develop your organization’s online capabilities
Most marketers have not had a chance to develop their digital or online skills.
Very few will have worked in the Internet sector, by which I mean companies like Google or Yahoo or Amazon. Here, and I speak from personal experience, one really gets to understand the online medium. Nor do most organizations have an e-commerce business and even if they do have one, it is a small part of the whole. Therefore, few executives, marketers included, have had hands-on online experience.
In case your organization has an e-commerce business, I suggest you ask to be assigned to it, even temporarily or part-time. The value you will get: a richer understanding of the market. You will get to listen to consumers, sometimes one on one via their social reactions and sometimes via the data. You will also be able to test responses to alternate communication and to pricing changes. The consumers comments will be most revealing.
Online consumers are most well-informed, and given the choices online, most demanding. By learning how to appeal to such customers, you will benefit overall. Online may be where you should soft launch and test year 2022’s product launches.
If your organization is a B2C business but is not in e-commerce, see if you can take the lead in starting one. Get an e-commerce website created. If this look difficult, see if the company’s products are listed on Amazon and other marketplaces and offer to help manage this channel. And if your products are not listed on these marketplaces, take the lead in getting this done. Selling on Amazon is ultra-competitive: you will learn about your products and the market.
If yours is a B2B business that cannot use e-commerce, see how you can take improve the ‘digitization’ of the business. Here are some ideas. If the home market (say India) is dull (due to the pandemic), see if you can give a push to your international marketing. Ask your website agency or team for help in getting more international traffic. Or help improve the online presence of your channel partners. E.g., if you are selling steel or appliances or cement, can you create a dedicated page on your company website for each of these partners?
I have more examples to share here but will save these for later.
3. Build your own professional skills
Yes, this is stating the obvious, it is a motherhood statement, but I find few professionals, marketers included, investing time in doing this. Yet now, when business pressures are possibly less and one is working from home, there can be no excuse.
There are two situations. The first type of skill needs are common to many junior marketers that I encounter today. This is a weakness in what I call core business skills – oral and written communication, analytical capabilities and awareness of the world around them. These skills are vital for marketers.
There is no one fix. Extensive reading helps improve some English skills and general knowledge. Coursera has a specialization on data analysis and presentation skills and the other learning portals like EdX and LinkedIn Learning may have similar useful courses too. There are many apps and videos that can help improve vocabulary and speaking skills. The British Council in India offers well-regarded English courses.
Can you use your professional talents for some voluntary work? Given that there are just a few marketers out there (e.g. just about 1% of the people on LinkedIn are marketers, as per my quick research), your contribution is sure to be valued. If you are already doing this, great. For most, it will be the first step, so start small.
The second situation: most marketers will do well to keep abreast of new developments in marketing and in digital marketing. I subscribe to the daily newsletter of the American Marketing Association. It mails a curated selection of about 7 or 8 marketing items – articles, blog posts and news items – everyday. You may also like to check out Interskale’s Internet marketing resources page.
4. Give back
The best example of starting small is perhaps my own. I recently used my understanding of colours (which marketers have) to get my apartment complex repainted right, in attractive shades that go well with the walls, the lighting and the ambience. And I informally advise a company that sells eco-friendly products on their branding.
Just two small examples. Hope you get the idea.
This blog post originally appeared on June 3rd, 2021 as an article in LinkedIn. Minor changes have been made vis-a-vis the LinkedIn article.