Lessons From a Pandemic: Using 2020 to Improve Your Marketing Strategy for the New Year


The ability to quickly pivot your marketing strategy is one of the takeaways from a chaotic 2020.

You’ve learned a few things in 2020. You realized you could rank your sweatpants, and immediately identify your fanciest, Zoom-worthy pair. You’ve mastered talents you never knew you needed, like sneezing inside a mask and making an elbow bump look cool. Okay, both of those things are impossible, but it’s something you can shoot for.

Maybe you found out your skills are exactly matched to organizing a drive-by birthday parade.

You may also have learned a few and new useful lessons that can be applied to your marketing strategy. Here are four you should consider as we discovered a new normal this year:

More Than Ever, Think Value: You want conversions that lead to revenue growth. But designing your content strategy to deliver conversions may be a mistake in this unusual moment. Instead, you should think about what will add value, whether that’s through information or simply discussing a relevant topic and including some insights.

Adding value in the form of a blog that offers clear how-to instructions, an infographic that explains key differences between product types or a video that demonstrates a little-known use for your product provides your audience with insights helpful to them. In turn, that helps you develop a trusted relationship with your contacts, which means they’ll turn to you first when it’s time to buy.

Collaborate in Unexpected Ways: Teaming up with a competitor to benefit your community or run a friendly contest is a great way to get the attention of your audience. During the pandemic, it was a way of saying, “When we say we’re all in this together, we really mean it.”

When there’s not a pandemic happening, it’s still a poignant way to draw attention to a cause both of your companies care about and get a lot of people involved in a fundraiser or push for volunteers.

You can also utilize this approach for good, old-fashioned revenue growth, teaming up with a competitor for a dueling Instagram contest or a social media-based razzing contest. Get creative! Whether you strategize with your competitor or simply tag them in a taunting post, you’ll get the attention of both of your audiences.

Be Flexible: In 2020, 39% of social media users said they were spending even more time on social media. It’s no surprise, given that much of the country was spending more time at home and less time with friends and family. Social media was an obvious way to keep up.

For those companies already focusing part of their marketing strategy on social media, this was a small adjustment in how they spent their budget and time. For some companies, this represented a major sink-or-swim moment. Those that were able to pivot quickly and jump into digital marketing were ready to adjust to the marketing demands of the year.

Some pivots were bigger than simply changing how you budget for marketing. Maybe you’re in an industry that required a major change to adapt an in-person service to a virtual experience, or perhaps in a bid to survive the shutdown, you turned your walk-in business into a curbside business.

It’s hard to predict what could be coming in the future, but you can infuse your company with a culture that embraces flexibility, agility and optimism.

Be Ready to Invest: When COVID-19 hit, it came with a multi-edged sword, a weapon terrifyingly sharp in all its angles: not only was everyone afraid for their health, but the fear of economic collapse, a failure in the education system and the loss of social contacts that keep life’s challenges bearable made it all scary.

As a result, many companies gave in to the natural impulse to pull back. They froze spending and cut budgets. Specifically, they cut marketing budgets. There are two major areas where smart companies are bucking this trend to thrive, even after months of pandemic-related challenges:

  1. Investing in overall marketing to get an edge on competitors and claim more market voice. This is a tried-and-true strategy for coming out ahead when your competitors are pulling back. When the pandemic is over, your company will emerge as an industry leader, while those that have pulled back will be trying to remind everyone who they are.
  2. Investing in skills related to SEO, data analytics and social media. Rather than stumbling through digital marketing, many companies are investing in skills that will help them cut through the noise on social media, improve rankings on search pages and better understand what their audiences want to see. Seventy-six percent of small and mid-size businesses say they have invested in these areas as a result of the pandemic.

You’re ready to begin 2021, but not without some lessons learned from this unusual year. To find out how to make the most of your marketing strategy, contact us at SJC Marketing. You can find us, in our fanciest sweatpants, heading into the New Year and ready to help your business shine!

We’d love to learn more about you.