In a matter of a few weeks, the innovative marketers in the U.S. found many key pillars of their marketing stack turned sideways.
- Conferences for the spring were canceled, some have been tentatively rescheduled, and others have gone virtual. For some industries, these events remain strategically important venues for building the pipeline.
- Demand gen, a tool leveraged by most innovative companies, just got adopted in a massive shift across industries that never used it prior. While it’s not going anywhere, the great adoption may make it less predictable, which could put a dent in outcomes related to pipeline building.
- Paid content plays have been less productive for years, but today people are especially transfixed on the fast-evolving news environment surrounding the pandemic. Business decision makers are also closely following the pivots within their own markets and industries as they assess how best to respond.
Repositioning or augmenting products. Many leading innovation and professional services companies have rapidly retooled, repositioned, added functionality or launched a new solution based on their core capabilities to help their clients respond to conditions resulting from the pandemic
PR strategy: These companies are seeking rapid-fire PR campaigns to position their advanced response capabilities to the pandemic. The focus is on getting in front of the market as definitively and strategically as possible. Interestingly, these companies have been remarkably forward-looking in response to the changing landscape and are aggressive on the PR front.
Shined light on an existing product. Some companies have found a new spotlight shed on their existing advanced product offerings as a result of the pandemic, and have found that COVID-19 drove more rapid adoption. In some cases, their products already offered a solution for managing this type of infectious disease, assisted with social distancing or an alternative process better suited for the new realities of their market.
PR strategy: Marketers are instantly recognizing what products offer next-level value in the context of the pandemic and have raced to put resources behind them, including PR, to grow market share and awareness of their differentiators. As we’ve seen, many technologies are increasing in adoption because of their inherent abilities to enable markets to function or advance during this time. From a PR perspective, these campaigns often feature a significant focus on vertical or market trends. The thought leadership often positions the platform as a strategic solution to surmount obstacles.
Perennial value. Another category of companies are those who have not deviated from their current product set, but instead are focused on building brand, relevancy and providing insights to a specific market throughout the pandemic. In these cases, the product offering is generally of high perennial value. The company, then, leverages its expertise to assist markets with managing issues specific to this time.
PR strategy: From a PR perspective, companies are using their thought leadership engine to help their customers and markets navigate the current terrain. With new regulations and parameters placed on vertical industries of all kinds, these companies benefit by dramatically raising their awareness while offering critical insights needed to adjust to the present circumstances.
We continue to note a significant increase in earned media outcomes for companies that a) have new products b) have a product made more relevant during this time c) companies with perennial value able to provide leadership. In all cases, we’re seeing metrics average at least 2-3x of those pre-pandemic.
Not only do innovation companies in these categories have a unique opportunity, but the return on their efforts can also assist them with surmounting the many unknowns and potential gaps within their pipeline development tactics.