How Digital Marketing Collapsed Under Covid-19

When lockdown started, back in March in the UK, my car was booked in for a service. The garage called me saying they would shut for 3 weeks and we would all be back to normal. Here we are in October and the scientists that advise the UK Government have admitted we are going to be in and out of lock down for another 6 months at least.

There is talk about a "second wave" across Europe and the UK.

What impact is that making on business?

The sane amongst us have switched all our efforts and budget to pipeline generation.

Pipeline - What can we do to maximize pipeline?

This requires us all to do what we can across the business to be in the pipeline building business. 

We also have to be totally honest with ourselves here. "What got us here, won't get us there". We all know that business has changed due to the Pandemic and we have to change our sales and marketing models or run out of cash, without the right pipeline. Research from Hubspot shows that "the number of deals created dropped 11% the week of April 6." I'm writing this in October 2020, do we really think that the deals created has picked up?

This diagram is of the deal drop in the US up to the 4th June 2020. (The research also had figures for Europe and Asia.)

Let's look at two of the most traditional ways of marketing before the pandemic, digital advertising and email marketing.

Digital Advertising

Yesterday I had a fascinating conversation with a Martin Lucas for an up and coming #TimTalk(my podcast) and the following figures are engagement rates for digital advertising.

1.61% Facebook

1.91% Google

0.35% Programmatic (this is where ads follow you around when you browse)

That means that digital advertising has a 98.81% failure rate and based on the amount of money that is spent on digital advertising, that means that $265 Billion is wasted on digital advertising every year

This is an example of one area where before the pandemic it was seen as OK to make spend like this, now it's flushing dollars down the toilet. It's time to stop the spend, here is an article on why Coca Cola stopped their advertising spend.

Another example is email marketing.

Email Marketing

According to Hubspot, the response rate to emails fell to a record low of 2.1% in April 2020. Said differently, 98% of our efforts to reach new prospects failed.

Hubspot say in the report "Sales teams are sending about 50% more email to prospects than they were pre-COVID, but responses continue to drop. Last week, sales response rates hit an all-time low for 2020 at 2.1%, a lower response rate than Christmas week 2019."

Diagram from Hubspot showing the number of emails being sent going up and the response reducing. 

Hubspot also said "These trends tell an important story. Email prospecting, to put it bluntly, is out of control. It's easy to send thousands of emails with just a few clicks, and in a chaotic time, we understand why sales teams are sending so many. But volume and quality is a tradeoff — the time a team saves by sending out email blasts is wasted if that outreach isn't personalized, relevant, and helpful. These gaps are clear in the data."

There Will Be No Face-to-Face Conferences in 2021

We know that there will be no face-to-face conferences this year and probably none in 2021, so that method of demand generation is out. 

You are probably aware of the a meeting of Biogen, Inc. employees held in a Boston hotel in February was a ‘superspreader’ event, ultimately responsible for passing on COVID-19 infection to tens of thousands of people, research has confirmed.

We also know that companies are not going to allow our salespeople visit. All it needs is one of your salespeople to be tested positive and the whole of the face-to-face sales business collapses. Not just for you (and the negative publicity) but the whole world. 

What This Means for Businesses

Targeted prospecting matters more than ever.

Advertising and Email Marketing are just not fit for purpose in the Covid19 world, and you need to switch spending in these areas to create pipeline.

To quote Hubspot "As buyers have moved their purchasing online out of necessity, businesses with an established digital presence have reaped the rewards."

How about we move our marketing to content marketing?

Content is Great

To quote a recent article from Michael Brenner

That’s why B2B businesses need to take advantage of the online digital "space" through content marketing. The top three content marketing priorities identified by B2B marketers, according to the Content Marketing Institute are:

creating more engaging content (72%)

gaining a better understanding of what content is effective (65%)

finding better ways to repurpose content (57%)

And we know "Content Marketing ROI is 7 times greater than paid ads."

So Where Do We Go Wrong With Content?

Based on our research we have found that content works to this pyramid.

The problem is that "corporate content" so anything about the brand, sits at the bottom of the pyramid. Why? Because it's all the same and nobody is interested.

I know you are interested in your company and brand, because it puts food on the table, but nobody else is. 

The other issue that brands face is they still deliver content in the ways of the past, through interruption. Traditional marketing has always been about, interruption and broadcast. You interrupt me with an advert, email or cold call and then broadcast a message. The message will be "buy my product because it's great" and nobody is interested and we all get pissed off because of the interruptions. Which actually does your brand damage.

In this social world, it also makes your company look desperate, because we are all aware this sort of marketing is old fashioned.

Let's Empower The People!

In this interview with Danielle Guzman of Mercer and you cannot get more of a "brand" than Mercer, she talks about how using people to deliver the message has a 4 times ROI over the brand, talking about ....... the brand.

It delivers the content and it gets ROI, how cool is that.

Let's Up The game and Get a Real ROI With Content

But we want ROI with content and the problem is we don't have enough content. Here are three examples, where employees have been empowered to create their own content. They have also been given a methodology behind that content creation so they can "harvest" that engagement. 

Vimal Rai is one of the team here at DLA Ignite (based in Singapore) and he wrote a post on Linkedin.

Here is some context. He used to work at Jet Airways, they are selling the crockery. Anyway it got picked up by the press. Which is some nice "free advertising" for Vimal and DLA Ignite. I explain more in a bit.

Vimal says

"A bit of background: I used to work for Jet Airways back in 2008. They went belly up last year. I saw a random listing for an auction of their crockery and did a post on it. I shared my story about having worked on the design.

I’ve had more than a few messages from aviation folk, ex-Jet staff of course, but also loads of other airlines execs. And then this journalist (and her editor and chief of bureau in Mumbai, India, who checked out my profile and connected). My profile views are up about 145% week on week. I’ve just came off a call where I was introduced as the “person who wrote the LinkedIn algorithm” and am (therefore) being asked to guide the comms folk at design agency Priestman Goode (!!!) on how to promote their events."

This is great, but there are no real leads. I'm sure Vimal (or Vim as we call him) will get some leads and deals off the back of this, but you are reading this to get leads. Let's look at another example.

Here is Another Example

James Stirk, another of the team here at DLA Ignite he did this post

It has 77 likes and 23 comments. That's 100 opportunities to have a conversation. 

(Conversations lead to proposals and deals, right?)

From a Marketing perspective the average person on Linkedin has 930 connections. When you like or comment on an article that means that the network of the person who likes or shares can see that post. That means 100,700 people could have seen this content.

Think of that as an email database of 100,700. Pretty nifty. 

That is also a "shed load" of people who will look at your profile, if you have a great profile, not a CV, not I'm a quota killing sales people as nobody likes that. But a profile that shows who you are as a person. Then all of those profile views are like "free" cold calls. But warm calls.

After all as cold call is where you ring someone up and tell them about your product and service. A profile view is where somebody, (without interrupting them) checks you out. It's the same thing, but better.

This is where our social selling methodology is different. You will see cold callers saying that social selling doesn't work, it's about posting content and hoping. We all know hope isn't a strategy.

This is very old thinking. What we do is give you a methodology and take all of those likes and comments and have conversations with the people. We all know that conversations, turn into proposals and proposals turn into deals. 

Here's Another Example

Eric Doyle, he's a partner of ours. He posted a piece of content, it currently has 165 likes and 37 comments and has been viewed 18,292 times.

It's created for him 124 leads.

28 outbound connections.

13 new inbound connections.

6 meetings C-Level meetings (1 CEO, 1 COO, 2 MDs, 2 FDs)

1 Proposal

All from 10 minutes of work.

Lack of Content isn't an Excuse

There is no excuse to have a lack of content and content that is focuses on the network of your employees, why? Because your employees will know what their network wants.

Your single most unique selling point (USP) is your employees and their experiences, so why not get them to share their experiences, but in an authentic way?

As a marketing team, you might want to suggest "keywords" to add to that content, but employees won't create it unless you empower them. And employees might make mistakes, which is why you need to train them. 

Lack Of Content ROI is Not An Excuse

You need to train them as to what a great profile looks like, how to connect with people in your target accounts and how to create content that engages. You then need to train them how to monitarise that engagement.

Where Do We Go From Here?

For those unsure of what to do, DLA Ignite will complete a review of your current social / digital / virtual / remote selling capability. For free. 

We will take your team (up top 10) and perform a complete root and branch Social Media Performance Assessment.

Sales, Marketing, Management, Technical, HR. Procurement ....whoever you want to include.

This will include: Profiles, connections, followers, inbound and outbound activity, content, engagement, follow up, results.

(Happy to provide the list of deliverables).

We will map your business against the DLA Ignite baseline and present back to you our findings. We will show you where improvements can be made and what results should be expected. No hard sell, just present back to you a road map. 

You entered lock down analogue, this is your chance to leave this pandemic, digital.

Please contact me here or one of the DLA Ignite team here, so please pick one of our industry experts or one of our experts in your geographical locality. Our website is here.

Related: Stop Guessing on LinkedIn and Accelerate Your Pipeline Creation