Rethinking your marketing strategy in the age of COVID-19
Date: February 2021
By: Sharon Slaughter, marketing operations manager, Tarsus On Demand
Like elsewhere across the world, South Africa imposed a strict national lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, followed by a phased reopening of the economy. During this period, many companies had to change their overall business strategies and realign their marketing strategies accordingly.
Many businesses were already on a path to digital transformation, but the pandemic has served as a wake-up call to accelerate the timeline. Some firms have been forced to do it in a matter of months as opposed to years, and they have had no choice but to review their strategies to overcome the crisis.
How does digital transformation affect marketing?
At Tarsus On Demand, we have had to find alternative ways to communicate the same messages, maintain trust and grow the relationships we have always had with our channel partners and customers. Digital marketing has never been more important for a business, and regardless of which digital platform you choose, it is important to ensure that you don’t lose customers because you are no longer seeing them face-to-face.
Bigger companies have also had to deal with the reality that many of the smaller businesses they supplied have closed their doors as the economy has slowed. This has highlighted the importance of relationship management and a rethinking of what customer care means. Customer experiences and service must meet new needs with empathy, and care must be taken to identify ways to assist and reassure them. This is the time to learn more about your customers and the strengths and weaknesses of their processes and their operations, as well as your own.
Providing a personal touch
Early on, our executive team reached out personally to many of our partners to find what they needed from Tarsus On Demand to help them continue with their business and work through this tough time. We were able to evaluate how to tweak our marketing strategy and create offerings that would enable partners to derive alternate revenue from sources they might not have considered before the pandemic.
Adding greater value
Traditional partners that had only recently begun to do business in the cloud were provided with new skills so that their salespeople could better assist their customers in their transformation journey.
We also set out on a certification drive, offering partners the opportunity to improve their skills and backing that up with digital training and various boot camps to assist them with examination preparation.
We continue to empower our channel partners to create their marketing materials. By helping them to develop targeted collateral, we are making it easier for them to connect on a personal level with their customers. For example, when we communicate a piece of information to our partner base, we also create an additional piece of content that they can add their branding to and send on to their customers. We develop everything from sales pitch decks to white-labeled mailers. It is all about making business just a little easier for them, particularly when it comes to information on the cloud and Azure.
The demand generation approach
From our point of view, Tarsus On Demand has been digitally focused from long before the pandemic. We take a demand generation approach to marketing, getting people interested in what we have to sell (creating demand in the market), which benefits our partners as we pass on qualified leads.
We are more focused on creating digital product awareness than we were before because face-to-face meetings are no longer the norm. The reality is that online meetings have lost much of their allure for people, so we are creating more content that can be viewed and downloaded at leisure.
We are careful not to spam our partner base with information and we have segmented it into three main groups that receive information and personalized messaging relevant specifically to them: traditional channel partners (TCPs), managed services partners (MSPs), and independent software vendors (ISVs).
Each segment includes several sub-segments related to the partner’s focus of the business.
It is important to know your customer. The more in-depth that knowledge is, the more you understand their needs, and the easier you make the buyer journey, the more you will retain their trust and loyalty in these difficult times.