Planning for a Strong Recovery: Here’s Your Six-Step Roadmap

July 24, 2020

Six steps to drive growth and boost ROI

You know that old saying about the best laid plans of mice and men? It’s really landing in a different way here in 2020, where so much has gone awry.

It is likely that many of the plans your organization set at the beginning of the year have been reshaped or postponed due to the disruption of COVID-19. In this unprecedented situation, business leaders are being challenged to adapt on the fly and draw up new roadmaps. The prerogative: navigate the path to recovery, and return to a point where you can recenter on those growth goals and lofty ambitions you’d been laying out before all this hit.

To help you on this journey, we gathered the latest trends, tools, and market research into a handy guide: Planning for a Strong Recovery: Best Practices for Driving Growth and ROI. Within, you’ll find a six-step planning framework. In this post we’ll provide an overview of each step.

Planning for a Strong Recovery in 6 Steps

1. Know Your Role

In many organizations, the marketer has become a ‘jack of all trades,’ tasked with helping on a number of different fronts: Customer Experience, Customer Acquisition, Product Planning, Brand, Media Spend, Technology Transformation, etc. At the end of the day, however, we’re still accountable for business results. 

Right now, it’s important to get a firm grasp on your role within the company -- every aspect of it -- and how to show your value. 

Research shows that -- perhaps counterintuitively -- recessions do not equate to lower marketing ROI, or diminishing returns, or reduced impact of media. Quite the contrary. The marketer’s job is as important as ever during these tough times.

Source: Analytic Partners

A few things to keep in mind as you clearly define your role in the recovery plan:

  • Sales cycles were already long before the pandemic, and now are extending as purchase decisions are frequently delayed and scrutinized amid financial difficulties. Measuring ROI too quickly will produce inaccurate results that understate your impact. 
  • Brand building, strategic planning, change management, media planning, and message planning are critical functions that can all fall into a marketer's purview right now. You'll find extensive insight around each in our guide.
  • Be very careful about messaging and tone in all of your creative. Emphasize authenticity, empathy, and helpfulness. Avoid actions that could be perceived as opportunistic. 

2. Current State Assessment

There are many free tools available -- Conversion Tracking and Website Demographics via LinkedIn, Analytics and Page Speed Insights via Google, etc. -- to help you assess your organization’s digital state, and learn how your target audience (or its needs) may have shifted in recent months.

While understanding that our customers’ budget constraints may have changed, many of us are facing our own reductions. Some have had budgets eliminated entirely. Others have been fortunate enough to maintain. In our guide, you’ll find specific recommendations for each of these three scenarios, along with tips for getting the most out of LinkedIn according to your situation.

3. Take Stock

The decline in face-to-face contact has of course coincided with a dramatic increase in face-to-screen contact. People everywhere are turning to digital channels for entertainment, information, and connection. 

On LinkedIn, we saw a 55% year-over-year increase in conversations among connections from March 2019 to March 2020. We also saw a 60% year-over-year increase in content creation on our platform. Consumption is up across almost every content platform. 

Source: Nielsen

While budgets may be down for many, the currency of attention is plentiful. Keep this dynamic top-of-mind as you formulate short-term plans and consider which investments will be most fruitful.

4. Optimize Your Measurement Strategy with LinkedIn

Of course, no one would advise blindly throwing content out into the void. Marketers need to be strategic about where they’re showing up and where they can make a demonstrable impact. (It probably is not on Netflix or Disney+, as much as we’d all like to associate our brands with Baby Yoda.)

LinkedIn delivers proven long-term ROI and short-term sales lift across an array of verticals, thanks to its trusted and contextually relevant environment. We are partnering with numerous third-party providers to continually bolster the measurement capabilities on LinkedIn, making it easy for marketers to see and share the results of their efforts on the platform.

Source: Analytic Partners

5. Activate Platform Best Practices

Those results will be all the better if you build your plan around what’s working. Our Success Hub is a great place to start, featuring all sorts of instructions, examples, and tips. Additionally, if you have a LinkedIn account rep, reach out and they’ll be happy to help tailor a plan for your:

  • Media Planning (Rank/volume of content, topic ownership, share of voice, etc.)
  • Content & Creative Strategy (Popular hashtags, performance trends, etc.)
  • Campaign Strategy (Bidding best practices, interactive ads, audience expansion, etc.)

6. Align on Goals

We’re ready to embark on the road to recovery alongside you. Whichever phase of the process you’re in, we can play a part in moving you forward. This is a partnership in which we can mutually contribute, hold each other accountable, and ultimately succeed.

Our new guide, Planning for a Strong Recovery: Best Practices for Driving Growth and ROI, illustrates the roadmap across various budget scenarios. 

Even if things sometimes go uncontrollably awry, we should never stop endeavoring to lay the best plans possible.