The times we are living through currently are strange ones, but marketing will be needed when it's safe to try and kickstart the economy. Those using this time to make small, but forward, progress, will be in a better position to reap the benefits going forward.
The disruption that Covid-19 has caused has sent shockwaves through the entire globe. Yesterday saw the merest easing of the lockdown and, probably, the first official, although minor, confirmation that the economy will not have a quick fix; that we will be seeing similar issues that showed themselves during the credit crunch that defined the noughties, but on an even larger scale.
To add to the uncertainty around jobs, marketers are having to adjust to a new way or working and a fresh challenge in how we communicate as a team. Brand survival has taken the place of long-term strategy for companies who may not be able to see over the horizon right now, and survival can be a demotivating process for employees who were previously thinking of moving on, moving up and advancing their careers; for those who have been furloughed or have lost their jobs in the time since, motivation is even harder to come by.
For those of you who have never worked at home before, it's worth learning established WFH veterans. There is a lot of advice available right now, but CIM's content hub Exchange has two articles that get to the practical heart of the matter, both in the early stages of the new normal and for now that we have been doing it a while. Keeping your personal productivity might sound cold but it is vital, and you can draw on any advice that suits you; though, always remember to take anything your company can offer. Keeping productivity high means that you can earn the goodwill to make long-term changes later on. Though, these will vary from team to team.
For instance, the Content team has increasing importance right now as more and more marketers devour content articles. For them, short-term success could lead to a long-term goal of continuing the importance of the content team across the wider business. For an Events department, it is a harder time, but making the change to encourage more virtual sessions is a similar vital goal. If done right, both teams will have extra options once we return to something like normality.
Still, we are all at the mercy of our company's finances, and some will already have more free time on their hands. Here is what marketers could, maybe should, be doing with it:
1. Establish your own goals
CIM members can listen to a webinar by Course Director David Hare on maintaining resilience in uncertain times, where he told us about some excellent techniques to keep moving forward. What's clear is that everyone has their own problems, commitments and responsibilities that can impact on their time and finances. This much is known and accepted, but very rarely do we apply this to our goals as well.
Many people set goals that are unrealistic for their skills and, even desires. How many people have started trying to learn a new language just because they thought that they should, only to find motivation flag as soon as the work sets in? Now, more than ever, we need to establish what we want to do and then carve out the time to do it. Stephen King famously wrote Carrie whilst eeking out time washing his clothes, because it was his only free time, and it stands to reason that our goals need to have the motivation behind them and suddenly finding time is not so difficult.
So, set yourself achievable goals and celebrate your achievements along the way. This could mean more career development, but make sure that you have the motivation to continue; it's the most powerful tool.
2. Stay up to date
Technology has long since moved on to become an overwhelming feature of our lives. In the same way we can watch the tv and play on our mobile phones at the same time, we can do work and listen to a podcast. If you're suddenly free from office banter - though we'd never recommend removing it entirely - then maybe you can have a podcast on in the background. Entertaining ones are nice, but try one that will keep you up to date with the marketing environment. You can even try one that will give you tips for learning and development. The options are endless.
What's important, with any sector but particularly marketing, is to be aware of what it can offer and where it is going. You can do that in a number of ways designed to suit you.
3. Take the leap and train
There are many out there for whom survival has taken over strategy; the need to earn money giving way to the need to have a career. Many workers who have been laid off from office careers have had to take jobs in areas that are suddenly booming - home delivery - and there may not be an immediate desire to do any more than that right now.
That's more than fine, every situation is different after all, but for those who want to jump back should the situation improve, now is the time to train. More and more companies are offering that virtual element, and there are more opportunities to upskill. Even if survival is key, the strategy required to think beyond is still needed and should not be neglected.