The Top Marketing Challenges Amid COVID-19, and How to Overcome Them

By Andy Coghlan - Wipro


The COVID-19 pandemic has made it imperative for business leadership to adapt strategies that enable business continuity, customer stability and revenue growth during an unpredictable and unprecedented moment in history. COVID-19 has changed the way the economy will function for the foreseeable future. Key challenges for CMOs and CXOs are becoming clearer with each passing day, including:


  • Significantly reduced budgets: Marketing isn’t often viewed as a mission-critical function, so in times of cash preservation, it can be the first department whose budgets are cut. CMOs are challenged to drive continued customer acquisition and revenue growth under much tighter budget constraints.


  • Rapidly changing marketing mix and messaging: The pandemic has introduced new complexities to, and constraints upon, the marketing mix. Cautious customer sentiment and a digital landscape flooded with an onslaught of news make it difficult to break through the online clutter. As buyers stay at home, out-of-home marketing becomes obsolete, and key events are postponed or pushed into a virtual environment, having a strong digital strategy in place is critical. In addition, marketers must be sensitive to the current economic environment and adjust their marketing messages to ensure they consider the broader context of COVID-19.


  • Heightened focus on brand perception: People are paying close attention to how brands are responding to and acting during the COVID-19 crisis. Listening, reporting, and quickly adapting to customer concerns are paramount to protecting brand sentiment and perception. In addition, customers no longer have easy access to their own networks or support ecosystems, leading to overwhelmed call centers that risk not keeping up with demand. Digitally managing customer relationships with tact, empathy and mindfulness through social media, forums, chat and in-product tools can help manage brand reputation during these isolation periods.


  • Increased need to understand and apply technology: The need for businesses to shift to a virtual customer experience model reinforces the need for marketing leaders to continue to embrace technology. Successfully applying technology that drives a cohesive digital-purchasing experience will be the differentiating factor between marketing organizations that thrive and those that are constantly in triage. Additionally, the ability to track and report analytics across customer touchpoints will become critical to showcasing marketing success during a time of churn.

Wipro and Rational help CMOs and CXOs address these and other marketing challenges amid COVID-19, with core solutions that support their efforts to:

  • Bolster customer support: The Customer Signal Hub, an always-on solution, enables companies to actively monitor and respond to customers across multiple digital channels. This can augment call centers cost-effectively and in real time, helping to drive 1:1 engagement through channels customers prefer. These customer engagements can then be synthesized and shared across departments, providing insights that can help optimize the customer experience. In addition, Rational’s crisis- and escalation-management programs enable brands to swiftly and effectively detect and address negative customer incidents, with a team of experts who perform root-cause analyses and distribute/publish stakeholder communications 24 x 7 x 365.


  • Manage brand and reputation: Using advanced listening tools and custom social-listening dashboards, companies can scan the digital landscape for brand and keyword mentions. This in turn provides insights and recommendations about brand sentiment and reputation management, including opportunities and potential areas of risk.


  • Efficiently acquire new customers: As potential customers navigate their online buying journey, the Global Demand Center (GDC) builds a bridge between marketing and sales in a fully measurable way across the digital ecosystem. GDC spans go-to-market strategy, demand generation, campaign management, and customer acquisition and nurture. This comprehensive offering provides everything from marcom strategy and marketing-automation implementation to content strategy/production and media buying/management. The solution is also extensible to a vast network of systems integrator partners, allowing the brand and partners to jointly go-to-market in a way that generates trackable co-selling opportunities.


  • Enable and optimize remote teams: Using Rapid Delivery Labs, organizations can not only keep the lights on, but maintain their productivity and drive business forward. The Labs enable companies to collaborate in workshop-like environments that support rapid ideation, iteration and prototyping. Business can currently use the Labs for the following five remote services: 1. Driving Online Engagement and Sales, 2. Accelerating Time to Market for Campaigns, 3. Tools and Services for Internal Collaboration, 4. Optimization of Workflows, and 5. Content Management (make less, use more, convert more).

Embedding new and more-flexible operating models and toolkits are key to business continuity in disruptive times. From understanding shifting moods and motivations to managing high-risk interactions with ease, CMOs and CXOs face new and evolving marketing challenges amid COVID-19. Technology can help address these challenges while empowering companies to reinforce their customer centricity, be more adaptable and improve their responsiveness. Using solutions like the above, enterprises can more quickly transition to faster, more cost-effective business services and more-flexible working environments, positioning the enterprise for success in a socially distanced, virtual world.


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