“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War
By Dan Kahn
Welcome to the new world order. While business for most of us has been booming for years, the marketing side of things has been undergoing aggressive change for a while. First, most of the automotive enthusiast print magazines folded, followed more recently by men’s lifestyle hallmarks like Men’s Journal and Playboy. Consumers are shifting towards digital in droves, they want to buy direct and they expect perks ingrained in them by Amazon like fast free shipping and no-questions-asked return policies. Brands that embraced the new order of things and adopted a digital first policy have prospered, those that ignored it have been lost in the woods. Then … everything changed with COVID-19.
This is not one of those newsletters where I tell you about how we are open for business and working remote (we are), nor is it the message where I pour my heart out with thoughts and prayers. I’m a straight shooter so I’ll be blunt – the changes that were already happening have been accelerated by this global pandemic. Mobile usage is up nearly 50% around the world, streaming video services are booming, online sales for consumer goods are booming and web traffic exploded (including a near 75% increase in gaming) as people adapted to a new “social distancing” lifestyle. Regarding consumer behavior, the fires of change were already burning – this pandemic dumped a barrel of nitro on it. That poses a short term challenge, and some major long term opportunities for those that rise to the occasion.
When I founded Kahn Media at the bottom of the Great Recession in 2008, I spoke a lot about “PR 2.0,” the shift away from traditional PR and marketing to empower brands to communicate directly with customers through the web and social media, using exciting content. Our mantra was that if brands “entertain, inform and engage” audiences, they won’t just make a sale, they’ll convert a customer for life. Those principals have served us and our clients well, building booming powerhouses in the wake of the recession. Today, as we look down the barrel at a serious global economic challenge, we have shifted into the next phase that applies those same ideas to an all-encompassing, cutting edge, measurable digital-first strategy. We call it Media 3.0.
What does that mean? We have an opportunity to capitalize on new consumer behavior and a rush to digital entertainment right now. All major motorsports are canceled for the time being, same with car shows, trade shows and sporting events. People are stuck at home, working from home, bored, and rapidly beginning to suffer from news fatigue. That means they will be turning to online content to stay entertained and distracted, and eventually wandering into the garage looking for a distraction. Be that distraction.
By touching those consumers with inbound marketing (email), earned media (articles on blogs and sites), content marketing (videos and how-to stories), engaging branded social content, influencer stories and funnel-based sales initiatives (search engine marketing, remarketing, paid social), there has never been a bigger target audience looking for your content. Brands that engage consumers right now with killer content will gain long term fans, and eventually direct (high margin) sales.
With cashflow tight and workers trying to grind things out at home, most company leaders are worried to the point of paralysis right now. Those that see this as an opportunity to pivot will be rewarded, and when the pandemic is over, they will not only be leaner from operational changes forced on them by this situation, their sales funnel will be robust and highly profitable.
In simple terms, the old way of doing things – buy a few ads, attend a few events, send some press releases and wait for results – is like a fire hose that you hope will fill up with sales. The new, post COVID-19 path to success is a dozen garden hoses all in one bucket. It will still fill up with sales, and it takes a little more work and maintenance, but the redundancy means your business and path to sales growth is actually more reliable with better margins.
The challenge, of course, is building this marketing infrastructure. Content creation is time consuming and managing the distribution of that content across a wide variety of platforms – Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitch, Mixer, email marketing, blogs and more – takes skill and manpower. Factor in paid funnel-based digital marketing programs like search engine marketing, paid social advertising and remarketing (where people who leave your site are shown product ads until they return), and it takes an army. Plus you need to track it all and translate it into meaningful data and results. In our world (cars, trucks and luxury goods) the people creating the content also need to speak the language to be authentic.
This is not the time to significantly bulk up your payroll with new hires – and is exactly the time you want to consider a cutting-edge digital marketing and public relations agency. A good integrated marketing agency already has the staff, skill set and resources to turn things on quickly with no learning curve, for less than the cost of one skilled new internal hire.
Marketing isn’t just a blanket advertising spend and hoping someone sees an ad and buys something. It’s doing the legwork to find out exactly who your customer is, where they spend their time and tailoring interesting content directly to them in an engaging and meaningful way. The content you create needs to be multi-purposed, whether it’s used as an organic feed story post on social, a pre-roll ad on YouTube or a display ad on websites across the net.
Here’s the good news – the award winning staff at Kahn Media has been doing this very thing for 12 years and counting. We can help you learn how to take advantage of this new world order. Our staff of two dozen marketers, writers, designers and digital strategists know how to turn things on fast. We are working at full speed, and we’re ready to help. We were born for this challenge and there is no learning curve, for the technology or the message. We’re gearheads and we know how to tell your story. Every brand needs to get in the driver’s seat and control its own message. We’re here to help.
P.S. During this time of crisis we are offering free marketing consultations on how brands can improve their digital presence, survive the pandemic and take advantage of Media 3.0. Please email Help@KahnMedia.com and someone will contact you within 24 hours.