Nothing was normal in 2020, and, as you’ll see from these responses, that held true in the marketing realm as well. Read on to learn about some of the unusual ways that marketers were affected last year.
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All about COVID-19
We are primarily an HR SaaS company, and remote proctored assessments were used in that context only. Even in my wildest dreams, I had never imagined that we would have to use the name and image of a disease in our website banner and landing page messaging.
At first, we thought only one blog on how educational institutions can leverage remote-proctored assessments would be enough until A to Z on our website and marketing collaterals became about COVID-19, and from corporates, we were suddenly targeting educational institutions.
It was such a quick overhauling of the website, and [the fact] that we did it in such a short time is still unbelievable to me. Reversing the messaging once everything is normalized is still a far-fetched and distant reality.
Hiring a freelance online
The craziest marketing moment for me was when I failed miserably in hiring a freelance graphic designer online. With the shift to remote working, we needed more freelancers on our marketing team.
Having HR experience in the past, I thought the hiring experience [was] going to be easy. The portfolio submitted to me was pretty good, so I didn’t ask for a sample – and this was my mistake. I immediately onboarded the freelancer for some urgent marketing projects, and it turns out that his outputs weren’t close to the portfolio.
So, when hiring online, I suggest asking for a sample instead of taking the portfolio at face value. It’s better to pay for the sample the first time rather than pay for work that doesn’t meet your expectations.
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Things work out despite all the not-so-good-news out there
We’re focused on planting trees for companies to help them become more sustainable and more profitable. Historically we’ve been growing in the tourism industry, since that is my home turf and where I am best connected.
This year we strongly focused on expanding to the gastronomy sector. Most of the time it takes us about 3 emails and 1-2 phone calls to get potential new partners excited, then another 1-3 phone calls to get them all set up and ready to rock.
However, in June I sent an email out to a new restaurant in Freiburg, Germany, that we wanted to work with. Within minutes the owner replied with a simple “Yes, we’re in” —and that was that.
I couldn’t believe my eyes, hence I called her up to confirm she understood the idea. And yes, she did. She told me, “You already explained everything in your outreach email, and I love your approach. I’m in. We already started putting things into practice.”
I was amazed—and even more so when seeing that, indeed, a few days later the cooperation was up and running and being heavily promoted on their website and social channels.
What’s more, they just reported their sales stats for the past months—and their business grew by a whopping 150% within the past 3 months! All thanks to this new cooperation and their enthusiasm for putting it into practice.
So cool to see things work out and to have this amazing success story to tell—despite all the not-so-good-news out there.
An uncooperative, difficult client
After 3 hours’ worth of phone calls and Zoom meetings and submitting a written proposal, a business agreed to engage our services this past spring. I noticed during a Zoom meeting the company owner and his staff were in their conference room without windows and no mask-wearing. Upon verbally agreeing to use our services, the client asked if we could meet in person to finalize. I suggested an outdoor location near their office at which point he said we were not a good fit if unwilling to meet in person at their office.
Nothing about the marketing services we were offering required any work to be done at the client’s office. I honestly think this was purely rooted in politics. Clearly, they liked our offerings, but couldn’t focus on what was important, which was unfortunate for them. I am certain we dodged a bullet by them pulling the plug! It gave the impression they would have been an uncooperative, difficult client.
Figuring out the budget
My craziest memory in marketing in 2020 was figuring out the budget. With the pandemic, consumers changed how they interacted with brands. They were more receptive to digital experiences. Ideally, this would have caused most businesses to increase their marketing budget to capture the new crop of consumers, [but] it was not possible because the pandemic also necessitated that companies cut their budget to survive.
Walking that fine line between cutting costs and maintaining an effective marketing campaign provided for some crazy moments.
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