The pivot. A familiar term for many businesses as we navigate our way through the unprecedented waters of COVID-19. Changing tact, direction or embracing change has become, for many, crucial for staying afloat in these uncertain times. In the majority of cases, this doesn’t mean scrapping everything and starting again, quite the opposite in fact. It’s more about exploring what’s possible and how existing processes can be adapted to suit the current environment.
Many successful entrepreneurs have credited a pivot as the move that turned a not so successful idea into the likes of YouTube, Twitter and PayPal. But what does a pivot look like? Let’s take Twitter as an example. Originally known as Odeo, the platform was a place to find and subscribe to podcasts. But, as iTunes rose through the ranks, it was clear they needed a more unique angle: “After giving the employees two weeks to come up with new ideas, the company decided to make a drastic change and run with the idea of a status-updating micro-blogging platform.” Unsurprisingly they never looked back.
Times have changed of course and the crisis facing businesses in this current moment outweighs a little competition between online platforms. When faced with a global pandemic, an incomparable situation that none of us have seen in our lifetimes, pivoting takes on a slightly different meaning. Take distilleries for example. With the pubs closed, distilleries around the country have been putting their talents to new use, brewing up hand sanitizer to support the NHS. Pivoting has always been about the bigger picture, and in the current climate everyone is having to adapt in ways they never thought possible.
This is evident in the B2B marketing world, where businesses are bringing all those ‘ideas in the pipeline’ to the forefront, accelerating the use of digital technologies to keep engagement high and replicating functions and events with an online equivalent. Clients and customers are also calling for more support, collateral to help them communicate their position in the crisis – challenging marketing partners with a new way of writing, talking and advertising; all to reach customers in a more direct way. And with HubSpot reporting a rise in opened emails and interaction with web content, email marketing and online customer support are making a surprising comeback – “Between February and March, this online behaviour resulted in average monthly website traffic increasing by 13%.”
What are some tips for a successful pivot? Budget reprioritisation is a good place to start. With no physical events taking place, businesses are taking budget and redeploying it to digital tactics. For B2B, this can mean creating virtual events – taking your customers on a journey and giving them a memorable (be it online) experience. Focusing on key and measurable tactics comes next; online resources and social media are a great way to reach your audience and keep them engaged.
“Overall, companies are spending less time and money on audience growth, while investing more in boosting the customer experience, providing value […], and empathizing with clients and prospects that might be making incredibly difficult decisions.”
It’s a time for businesses to pivot in a new way; COVID-19 presents many challenges, but by thinking outside the box and adapting to new ways of working, we can come out of this with a more robust offering and a renewed passion for what we do.