If your company is experiencing a “black swan” moment of the positive variety, resulting in a huge opportunity for selling more products or services, this article is for you.
It explores exactly how your business can get in front of new and existing customers through the use of rapid, dynamic, and efficient digital marketing. This will benefit not only your staff and company, but also the many consumers who need your products and services.
Don’t miss the demand wave, read on!
Please note, this article is not for companies who have products or services that are in high demand that don’t require any marketing. If you are in this boat, go forth and prosper!
A “black swan” is a large, rare, and unpredictable event whose results have been severe and widely felt. With many negatively impacted, for some, immense opportunity to thrive presents itself.
Table of Contents
Objectives Of This Guide
This article will help you understand:
- surge marketing and how you can use it to your advantage
- how some businesses adapted quickly to not only survive, but thrive in times of adversity or changing marketplaces
- the power of effective digital marketing in a rapidly changing marketplace.
By the end of this article you will know how to:
- use scalable, dynamic marketing to seize the moment while the opportunity is there
- benefit from surges in demand by giving customers what they want or need at the right time
- identify and measure trends so you can introduce new timely and relevant strategies to the market in times of crisis or change.
What’s The Problem?
“Black swan” events can drive massive opportunity. But if you take longer than your competitors to go from the war room to the battlefield, you run the risk of lost market share.
Trying to rapidly scale marketing often results in wasted resources. You may be spending your marketing budget in the wrong areas, including offline channels that don’t provide real time data. It can take too long to analyse results and adapt quickly for success.
Without the right analytics in place to assess conversion rates and performance, your marketing team may be working to vanity metrics. They may not be able to see what is and isn’t working, and what this means to the business in terms of return on investment (ROI).
When a “black swan” event occurs, businesses often don’t have the right skills or resources in place to set things up quickly, and websites are often underprepared for facilitating direct online sales in times of exceptional demand. For example, food wholesalers and distributors can read about how to exploit new market opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic in our previous guide.
This Means War!
You may notice this article is scattered with war references. Surviving the fiercely competitive commercial landscape can be compared with a battle. The adapt or die sentiment is ever present during “black swan” events. Newly established market opportunities mean businesses have to pivot and adapt in order to survive the threat to their very existence.
Why Does This Matter?
“Black swan” events create once-in-a-generation opportunities. Change creates problems, problems need solutions. This is where your business can step in to help people in their time of need.
While these events come with tremendous advantages, they also come with hardship, which we will explore deeper into this article.
The key is to look at ways of navigating these uncertain waters to thrive within the face of adversity. Fortunes can be made during turbulent times. And as we know, fortune favours the brave.
“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”
― Sun-Tzu, The Art of War
Who Are The Survivors?
The businesses who survive throughout times of economic uncertainty and fluctuating markets are the ones who have remained relevant, present, and top of mind. They have introduced timely products and services tailored to the exact needs and pain points of existing, or new, customers.
Businesses who adapt quickly are able to tap into current market trends and make the most of these relatively unchartered waters. During the recent outbreak of COVID-19, Australian businesses were forced to swivel their offering in light of the changing landscape, showing the true Aussie battler spirit with timely innovation and adaptation.
Detmold pivoted from food and drink packaging to a new focus on manufacturing respiratory masks instead, helping them to keep their business thriving.
Stagekings moved from live performance music equipment to helping people set up home offices – shelves, desks, stalls – as well as selling household items such as wine racks.
Yulli’s Brews Distillery added another revenue stream instantly to their online store by introducing hand sanitisers to their product mix.
FoodByUs switched from B2B to B2C, opening up its platform to help access food service suppliers at wholesale prices.
“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”
― Lewis Carroll
What’s The Solution?
Businesses that remain nimble and dynamic throughout fluctuating markets are often the ones who thrive in the face of adversity. With this in mind, the solution is to tackle the enemy head on with an adaptive, timely, and swift deployment of surge marketing strategies.
This style of fast, highly responsive marketing helps your business introduce services or products specifically designed to satisfy the needs of consumers who are going through an extraordinary time.
The challenge, however, is seizing the moment and getting the word out quickly and efficiently before your competitors catch wind of your new offering. You need to be able to rapidly adapt and scale as the market changes.
The following steps will help you set up your surge marketing strategy.
1. Identify Emerging Trends and pain points
We all wish we had a crystal ball or a flying Delorean to give us an advantage on the battlefield in times of uncertainty. While this form of technology doesn’t quite exist, we do have tools to help identify emerging online trends and behaviours within your industry. The good news is, most of these are free!
Google Trends and Google Search Console are both free online resources that let you measure and forecast the volume and popularity of keywords or search queries in defined markets. These insights help you identify growing trends in online search behaviour while exposing early markers for emerging opportunities.
As the saying goes, the early bird catches the worm.
Answer The Public is another free resource that allows you to input a topic of interest that is then paired with search volumes to identify the style of questions being asked around that topic. You can access further data to show variances in prepositions and comparisons to help you identify pain points and opportunities in your market. It’s the perfect crystal ball for a well-positioned service or product.
Free and paid social media monitoring services also offer handy tools for planning future strategy. They work by monitoring keywords and showing how they are mentioned.
Sentiment analysis is an extremely handy tool for identifying key pain points in your market. Customer frustrations can often be cues for new opportunities. Being able to identify these signs early gives your business a strategic advantage. It puts you ahead of the demand curve that is soon to follow.
2. Connect with your database
While the tools above all provide useful insight and digital analysis to form the basis for strategic initiatives, another way to find out what your customers want is simply by asking.
There is nothing quite like a phone call or email to connect with your existing database. You can ask your customers directly what they want or how you can be of service to their current needs.
If you ask in the right way, you may be pleasantly surprised at some great suggestions you get. After all, the customer is always right!
3. Perfect your battle plan
Scaling up your marketing rapidly to tap into demand comes with a minefield of challenges and risks to navigate and overcome. Your battle plan needs to be rock solid before you step on to the field.
The first, and most critical, step is confirming your product or service is something your customers want.
Once you have confirmed this, the next steps are to look into ensuring you have the right systems, resources, and pricing in place to give you maximum market penetration and ability to rapidly scale up.
Some good early questions to ask yourself include:
- Am I confident that my customers will want my offering?
- Will my customers be able to receive my offering within a timely manner of ordering? If not, then when?
- Are my supply chains and dispatchment organised with the ability to expand?
- Am I ready to go NOW, or do I need to make quick decisions and adjustments to get me to where I need to be?
Due to the speed at which you need to move, rapid marketing deployment often comes with risks. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of your objectives and what you want to achieve before setting out to do anything at all.
Be bold and dream big.
It’s a good idea to put in place a three-point estimating process to establish target metrics. This will help you identify key performance indicators throughout your campaign.
You need to constantly monitor your results to ensure your ad spend is being efficiently spent. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are crucial to measuring if you’re on track or veering dangerously off course. Quantify in financial terms what it will mean to the business if you reach these goals and ask yourself some key questions:
- How much revenue will I generate?
- What will my profit margin be?
- How much profit will I earn?
- At what point would I consider the idea to be not financially viable?
Establish a budget for your surge marketing deployment. Make sure it is realistic, in proportion to your objectives, and considers the financial benefit you plan to generate.
4. Launch your first wave assault
Wholesale changes or disruption in the business, or broader, environment creates opportunities for businesses that can react with extraordinary speed to the trends that unfold.
Since time is money, it’s best to take a lean start-up approach to get things moving as quickly as possible. Focus your attention on targeting the bottom of your sales funnel first as these opportunities have a higher chance of converting. This can help drive an initial revenue-boost ahead of any further expansion.
Once this is done, you can layer on new marketing channels and start expanding your campaigns incrementally. For businesses going after a new market, it’s always a good idea to adopt a staged approach to test the waters gradually. This allows you to scale efficiently or to identify early issues.
“War does not determine who is right – only who is left.”
― Bertrand Russell
5. Test, measure, optimise, repeat
When adopting surge marketing deployment strategies, aim to avoid rigid strategies and instead stay fluid. You need to test, measure, and adapt your strategy depending on what the market is doing.
Minimise your risk by implementing data checkpoints or markers for success and failure. Continually refine the campaign through analytics as it progresses. Obsess over your data and increasingly accelerate your experiments to generate bulk levels of insight early in the campaign. Really understand your metrics to leverage the most out of your financial and human resources.
If things aren’t working as well as expected straight off the bat, pivot quickly and decisively with several options including:
- adjusting your marketing channels
- changing your messaging
- adapting your offer
- refining your product or service
- asking the market what it wants and then giving it to them.
6. Attack, attack, attack!
Once you’ve found a winning formula, trust your data and go all-in for a front-on attack. Scramble the jets, secure the target, and get boots on the ground to go after that market with all weapons blazing!
If you can start to see your growth machine manufacturing profit, the following actions can help you scale up quickly for greater profits or market penetration:
- Run your campaigns at maximum capacity
- Increase your budgets and advertising spend
- Launch more campaigns to your market
- Hire more support staff and resources.
Thinking long term will ensure that everything you’re doing now will continue to drive benefit for your business beyond tomorrow. Use this opportunity to develop assets for your business that have ongoing benefit. You don’t want to be left flat-footed when the world returns to normal.
Before you jump into action, a word of warning – new market opportunities can be fleeting. Trust your gut, don’t hesitate, and move quickly while there is still time to actively thrive.
“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night,
and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
7. Support the troops with reinforcements
While your business may have marketing staff, teams, or departments to support ongoing strategies, you may need to occasionally bring in reinforcements to support your troops.
Engaging an experienced digital marketing agency gives you access to a turnkey solution from a team with the skills, expertise, and capacity to implement strategies quickly and efficiently. However, you don’t want to align yourself with just anyone. To be successful, you’ll need to find an agency that can deliver every aspect of your campaign from concept through to implementation and beyond.
This includes, but it not limited to:
- developing the digital marketing strategy to scale up and go after new markets
- designing and developing your website to support an influx of future sales
- building and launching numerous tailored digital marketing campaigns
- analysing the data to constantly optimise for the best results and efficiency
- providing continuous strategic guidance based on regular check points.
Aligning yourself with the right digital partner will give you the luxury of that specialist organisation’s experience in scalable marketing campaigns to drive the ship and take the initiative. This, in turn, should boost campaign progress and success. You will be free to focus on keeping the business running and managing your staff and resources, leaving the heavy lifting to your digital gurus.
Make sure to choose an agency with experience – it can’t be their first time in the big league! They need to have an established team of senior digital marketing practitioners with proven experience running enterprise level digital marketing campaigns. They should treat your business and marketing budget as if it were their own, with full accountability and transparency.
What Are The Benefits?
If done well, digital marketing campaigns give your business the ability to reach a massive scale of deployment with extraordinary speed.
Introducing new revenue streams can take the pressure off in times of market uncertainty. They can drive a higher profit than otherwise would’ve been achieved. Remaining nimble with the ability to rapidly scale to survive provides continuity for your business while your competitors may be struggling.
This core competency can drive tremendous enterprise value while giving you confidence in long-term sustainability. Aside from securing your profits and revenue, other important benefits of business continuity include retaining your staff and keeping employees happy in the knowledge that their roles are secure.
“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him,
but because he loves what is behind him.”
― G.K. Chesterton
What Should You Do?
If you are wanting to scale rapidly to meet a demand curve in your industry, you need to act fast.
Contact our team to find out how we can help you go after a new market opportunity, or to introduce additional campaigns to support your ongoing sales funnel. Our tactical digital marketing experts can give you a marketing strategy tailored towards maximum market penetration.
All we need is access to your website and various marketing channels and we’ll then be ready to go to war for you.
How quickly could I launch a new surge marketing campaign from start to finish?
If you have a solid understand of the digital marketing landscape, setting up a surge marketing campaign can be done in minimal time. As explored earlier in the article, a staged approach is often the fastest way to get a campaign live before adding future elements. This will allow you to focus on getting something out to your customers as quickly as possible. From there, you can then refine and expand these as resources allow it.
Time can fluctuate depending on what you wish to do, but most campaigns can be live in a matter of weeks, even days.
Which campaign metrics give me the most valuable insights?
It can be easy to become overwhelmed with data when launching a new digital campaign. Different metrics apply to different goals, so it isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ process with analysing your campaigns. Some of the most popular campaign metrics to focus on traditionally include website traffic, click-through rate, number of conversions, total goals, and bounce rate, however revenue-based metrics such as cost per click, cost per form submission, and cost per acquisition are also ones to focus on when looking to optimise your campaigns.
Try to ignore vanity metrics such as impressions (the number of people who saw your ad) and focus more on the metrics that paint the picture of your engagement, sales, and conversion activity.
How can I determine if my current marketing efforts are operating as efficiently as they could be?
Most businesses will already have active marketing campaigns in place across several channels, so you are likely to already have some data available to measure your ongoing activity.
Web based programs such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Ahrefs are valuable resources to measure your efficiency. It is also a great idea, however, to conduct a digital marketing audit to help ascertain exactly where you need to adjust your efforts to get the most out of your campaigns.
What if my budget can’t compete with my competitors in this space?
You don’t need to take the enemy head on with the same kind of budgets and strategies they are employing. A solid marketing strategy, a suitable product or service offering, and working smarter through measurable digital marketing channels, can achieve the same kind of market penetration without the big budget.
Sun Tzu, renowned Chinese general and military strategist, summed this up well by explaining, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”