Brian Gibson, Head of Digital Strategy & Partnerships, Digivizer
As the Coronavirus (COVID-19), now a pandemic, spreads across the world, is your business prepared and already starting to act?
Unfortunately, human behaviour and how people react to unprecedented global phenomena like the Coronavirus outbreak is difficult to predict, but here are the questions many businesses are now asking, and the answers that will ensure you’re well placed to survive these uncertain times – and then thrive.
1. Do you have tools and processes in place for remote working and online meetings?
Every business with an office will need to consider remote modes of operation at some point, potentially even have these forced upon them.
Put tools in place like Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype or Blue Jeans that will allow “face-to-face” meetings to continue between staff and your clients, wherever they are.
Use tools like Google G-Suite (Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides), Dropbox or Office365 to allow collaboration and file sharing to continue.*
Do your employees have access to significant bandwidth away from the office? How fast is their home Internet connection? Will their mobile data plan allow them to work from home without incurring additional costs – that you might be asked to reimburse them for?
2. Do you keep your staff well-informed on the strategy and policies of the business?
During uncertain times your business needs to be on the front foot when it comes to transparency and keeping your team informed. What is the policy and plan if someone in your team becomes a confirmed Coronavirus patient? What is your policy for domestic or overseas travel? Make a measured decision early and communicate it to your staff.
If the business strategy has changed or is about to change, keep them in the loop. Be open with them about your concerns and risks – they may well have solutions to the problem.
3. Can you adapt and move quickly? Will your resources be ready for the change?
Are your systems and processes robust enough while being flexible enough to adapt to change? Consider an agile working environment using tactics like stand-ups, sprints, and setting objectives with key results (OKRs). Who in your business is best-placed to make executive decisions as the need arises? What if cash flow issues mean you have to let staff go? What is your plan for restructuring or operating in a lean environment?
4. If your business is in retail, what we in digital call an offline storefront, do you have Ecommerce (online shopping) enabled on your website, with distribution channels ready to go?
This was already a trend long before Coronavirus arrived and many businesses are yet to adapt. If this is you, you should already be thinking about switching on Ecommerce and alternative distribution channels. Consider Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce and other tools that enable online marketing and sales.
If you already have Ecommerce, make sure your site is tagged for Enhanced Ecommerce and you have Enhanced Ecommerce switched on within your Google Analytics.
5. Have you done a risk analysis? What is your competitive advantage in the current economic situation? Which of your competitors are at risk and is there an opportunity there?
What is the real risk of Coronavirus to your business? Does it relate to resources or the way you work? Is there financial risk? Is there a compatible risk? Determine this and then work out where you must focus your efforts.
6. Are you investing your marketing dollars on the right strategy for now and into the future? Is your strategy different from yesterday, last week or last month?
Where are you investing your marketing dollars at the moment? What’s working for you? Is your brand awareness great but sales decreasing at the moment? Is now the time you need new customers over existing customers, or vice versa? Does the messaging you are putting out into market need to change? Have your competitors increased their budgets to spend on campaigns, meaning you are being outbid on Google Search (SEM) campaigns? Has your organic content started not performing because your customers are interested in other things right now? These are all things you need to be considering so that you don’t get left behind.
7. Do you have full visibility over what is happening within your digital ecosystem to be able to make quick decisions and pivot as necessary?
Maybe you don’t have visibility over the right data analytics and insights to be able to make correct decisions in relation to your digital strategy. Is the number of people visiting your website declining? Is your typical user switching from desktop to mobile? Are people talking negatively about your brand on social media? Is your cost per conversion/transaction increasing? How is your conversion funnel performing? Has one platform started performing better than other platforms? To be able to make informed decisions about your digital strategy and optimise within and across platforms you need to be across this information.
*Technology proof point: This blog was written while on the train with limited internet and other remote team mates were able to make comments as it was written in real-time using Google Docs on my phone. The article was completed in my car driving using voice to text on my phone while it was still in Google Docs.