Marketing for the recovery

with Tracy Weller-McCormack

How has Marketing shifted after Covid for small businesses?

Marketing tactics have shifted and marketing expert Tracy Weller-McCormack, we explains how small businesses can adapt. cha

Tracy talks about the opportunities that lay ahead for small business in a post-COVID world. And how effective marketing strategies and tactics can give one business an edge over its’ competition.

Tray Weller-McCormack marketing expert

Tracy guides us on the practical tips for your marketing, along with avoiding some common mistakes that can cost you time and money.

These tips apply to both new or existing businesses.

Introducing Tracy Weller-McCormack

Tracy Weller-McCormack, is the founder of C4MG, a tactical strategy and marketing company.

Tracy built an impressive agency in Canada called C4 and has a resume that has seen her in marketing leadership roles for numerous global brands. 

Since late 2018 Tracy has focused on building C4MG based in Sydney. Tracy shared her wealth of knowledge and experience in this interview on how to market in the COVID recovery.

What is the key message in the interview?

Good marketing is effective, and the key now in the pandemic-recovery phase is practical implementation, not theory.

At C4MG, we are successful because we focus on making a strategy happen through a tactical plan.

What primary marketing choice does a business owner have? Essentially, you have only two choices:

  1. Resign yourself to fate
  2. Roll up your sleeves, rethink, and adjust your business for growth 

Weak businesses will not survive, but that also means more opportunities for those that do survive.

New opportunities will emerge because of how the pandemic will shape our world, so adapting quickly to the market is key.

Why use an agency and not DIY?

Focus your time on what you are good at to generate the most value from your effort.

Unless you are competent in marketing, you will probably get faster results if an expert helps you. 

” Guessing is expensive, and it will eat your valuable time.”

Many agencies emphasise marketing strategy – what do they mean?

A good strategy works out the best ways (channels) to reach your customer and establish your brand and products for long-term organic growth.

Organic growth means growth that does not require spending on direct advertising.

A strategy is a long term plan to achieve your aims.

What do you mean by a tactical marketing plan?

A tactical plan from C4MG, for example, includes the practical steps needed in Month 1, 2, 3 and so on.

We detail 60/90/120 day objectives.

The plan also describes daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly activities that need to happen.

What is the benefit of a tactical marketing plan?

The mains benefits are:

  1. Our client knows what is happening and when
  2. They have a realistic understanding of how long things take 
  3. How much they need to budget.

Is a website necessary or just a social media presence?

This depends a lot on the type of business, but I would say 80% of businesses should start with a website as their customers expect to check them out. 

Credibility checking is one reason customers use websites.

A website should be functional to make conducting your business easier while actively communicating with customers or potential customers.

An important point to note is that you do not own your customers on social platforms because you do not own the platform.

Also, personalized customer communication is not possible via social platforms.

What is the difference between paid and organic?

Both cost money, in time and design, planning etc. 

Paid means you pay for advertising campaigns to find customers.

Organic means customers will find you without the need for advertising payment, for example, through Google search ranking or email campaigns.

Organic is not free because it requires assets, time and content production to be effective.

What should a business owner do now for the recovery?

  • Understand precisely the problem that you are solving and for whom you are solving it.
  • Make sure this is a real problem that needs solving.
  • Find out what impact COVID has made on what your customer needs.
  • Will your current offering be relevant, and if not, how does it need to change?

What seven common mistakes do you see?

  • Waiting for perfection and not launching minimal viable products.
  • Not clear about the problem that you are solving.
  • Not clear about who the customer is, therefore, trying to be all things to all people.
  • Doing insufficient research about prices, competitors etc.
  • Using too many channels and probably some wrong ones.
  • DIY marketing that costs more in the long run.
  • You are an expert in your business, but it doesn’t mean you are an expert in everything – surround yourself with good people.

What are your top marketing tips?

  • Value a customer relationship like it is a family relationship.

The relationship deserves a high level of respect. 

  • Authentic communications

Your communications must align with your brand, your people and who you are. 

  • Understand your customer and how to reach them.

Most businesses go directly to digital marketing to reduce cost, but is that the best way? 

  • Get as digital as you can afford to be.

The C-19 pandemic has seen people move online like never before, and I think that level will be part of the “new now”. 

If you have not marketed online, now is the time.

  • Stay creative; customers do not want to go back.

Creativity shows you value your customers; you think about their needs and want to engage with them.  

  • Listen to what customers want.

Listen, learn & adapt; people evolve, and your business needs to as well.

Pandemic forced creativity on some businesses

We have seen some businesses forced to use creativity as a result of COVID-19. This has been fantastic to see and ideally will continue well and truly after this is over. We have seen how fast we can come together, remove red tape, adjust what we manufacture, and adapt. Now that we know we can get there, why would we want to go back?

The sooner we accept that things have changed and will never be the same, the quicker we can move forward.

I think all size companies have learned a huge lesson on the importance of having your marketing ready as it is the key to surviving.  

What is Your Marketing Key Points summary?

  • Do not try to be all things to all people, be all things to your customers.
  • Pick your channels; you cannot manage all of them, so be smart and focus hard and win on those you pick.
  • Mix up the way you communicate; a lot is going on globally, be unique, and change things up – but with a plan.
  • If you re-invented your business to battle your way through C-19, do not shut that down; keep it as an additional service to your core business.
  • You are only as good as the people around you.

Which Sectors may struggle or gain?

There will be industries that struggle more than others coming out of the C-19 shutdown. With the right strategy and plan, you do not have to be one of them. I think industries such as commercial real estate and fitness may be two that have to work harder than most. Commercial Realestate because of the realization the working from home does work; therefore, office space demand will reduce. Fitness because so many people have set up for home fitness now with access to free training options. We are going into winter here in Australia when people tend to ” hibernate.”

Areas that I believe will thrive are pubs, cafes, restaurants, social activities – however, the parameters for social distancing will change. People are social animals, and we miss socializing. Local and Regional tourism, I think, will also grow due to our inability to travel internationally. 

Ideally, manufacturing will take off. Hopefully, the state and federal governments will see that we need to bring some manufacturing capabilities back home!

How to choose the right marketing agency?

Your overall goal is to build loyalty with your customers for a long-term sustainable business.

If a marketing agency cannot give you a SIMPLE detailed breakdown, then find someone else.

Make sure they have the capability and experience to help you.

While you need a strategy, the goal to survive COVID-19 and get ready for recovery is more about tactics and not a strategy.

At C4MG, we focus on making things happen, not just a smart strategy.

We know our approach works because we have years of experience behind us.

Thank you, Tracy Weller-McCormack, for sharing your experience and wisdom with us.

In other episodes Tracy explains what makes a great website compared to an ordinary one and 5 Golden Rules for talking to customer through any media.

Our Entrepreneur Personality Quiz also has great information for budding business owners.

Check out C4MG here

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