What kind of marketer do you want to be post-COVID?
Who do you want to be, and how to you want to remember this time when it’s over? As the pendulum swings from emboldened to edgy on an hourly basis, my colleague Amberly Dressler caught me in a period of positivity as we swapped family stories. My children were in an edgy mood, complaining about nothing to do. In annoying dad-fashion, I tried explaining that they have some choice in how it ends.
When you are asked, what did you do during the quarantine, do you want to remember being bored? Or do you want to get better at something? Maybe master the leftie pass in lacrosse, beat your words-per-minute typing or read an entire book series. As usual, advice I give them is a disguise for advice I need to hear, and am faced with eating my words.
Who do I want to be as a marketer when I look back? What skill or attribute should I be honing so when I recall the crisis from a professional lens, I can feel like I made the most of the time?
Empathy is the ability to understand and share
This is a time when communication is highlighted more than ever. Many of us have different strategies for putting an audience first such as outside-in thinking, customer-centricity and design thinking. The common element is empathy. We need to be urgent about what is helpful for customers. Ungate our gated content, push more content from our experts in the product teams and learn what works. Figure out which content you do have that should be promoted, and which content you are missing that needs to be created. Our product team has made the content diagnostic tool freely available to any marketer that wants to find out.
People will remember brands that were respectful, decent and generous. They will also remember brands that were tone-deaf, stumbled or failed to humanize themselves for their customers. Challenging yourself to identify what your customers purely find valuable about you and your content is worth the effort, and is rewarding.
Learn to automate where possible
We’ve heard the buzz, and likely seen compelling videos but now is the time to learn the benefits of automation. Good news, this skill is far easier than I thought. Why automation? Back to empathy, people are looking for more to read, and are spending more time behind screens than ever. Keep them satiated with more content that perks their interest. One way of doing this, is by connecting topics or content together.
More good news, often times you have journeys that are popular, but you didn’t realize it. By automating the task of connecting content, products and topics your customers show passion about provides a double benefit. First, you are freed from the repetitive and thorough process of relating or linking content or catalogues together. Until now, we’ve had to manage this by hand and with search after search. Just by letting automation that is aware of customer patterns establish connections, you are now firing shots with your non-dominant hand.
I wasn’t aware how smart the connections could be until I saw them. Second, these connections were better than what I was setting up myself. Often times I’m linking to content that is popular or current, but that may be my view of things rather than a customer-centric one. By embracing automation to categorize experiences and deliver journeys, I’ve learned to focus more on the content and topics that customers tell us they want.
Looking back at professional pursuits
This is a serious situation. In between caring for yourself, neighbors and loved ones, having a couple of small professional pursuits can be productive, interesting and keep us occupied. When we start to emerge from the threat, we can look back and say, “I became a modern master of artificial intelligence”, and that sounds darned cool. We can reflect internally that we’ve improved by trying to understand and share the feelings of others, and doing it personally and professionally will give you fond memories.
Before that pendulum swings back, go give someone you love a pep talk and see what great advice you meant to give yourself.