So, we didn’t plan for this…

The months that followed was a very hard reminder that progress relies heavily on our ability to plan and implement, survival is dependent on our willingness to react quickly and adapt to new situations, and that success is tied to our ability to plan for the unexpected.

So, we didn’t plan for this. We didn’t plan for our 2020 plans to be steamrolled by a viral pandemic that started slowly, accelerated more quickly than many of us expected, and continues to hang around and challenge efforts to return to normal.

An adult woman in a face mask is flipping the open sign at her retail storefront

How do you plan for that? Well, in bits and pieces, and by relying on your marketing team.

For many organizations, marketing is the engine that fuels revenue generation and growth. I can’t think of many priorities that are more important, especially when recovery and getting ready for what comes next could impact the livelihood of your business, your people, and your customers.

We know that an agile approach offers some best practices for managing marketing tasks and activities in sprints – very focused and concentrated bursts of defined activities with very tight timelines. While running organizations in 24-hour cycles may not be feasible, marketing is in a position to tighten up planning processes and create milestones that are closer together. This helps ensure that we never get too far down the road with any strategy, initiative, campaign or longer-term investment without a deliberate check and balance milestone where we can revise, adjust or pivot based on what’s happened since we started, and what we anticipate may happen before we’re supposed to finish.

We may not have planned for the pandemic, but it happened, and we now need to recover and adapt. Those disruptions to our business models we were forced to accept in Spring 2020 are now what we need to institutionalize for Fall 2020. We can’t stop planning because we’re not sure what’s going to happen next. What we do, instead, is plan with some flexibility, recognizing that there will be something else that will happen.  

Organizations coming out of this first phase in a good position are the ones that leaned into the disruption, invested in new processes and changes to existing business models, and planned for a return to business not-as-usual.

Marketing will lead this effort by leveraging customer and market insights and using creative design thinking to solve the new challenges facing distribution, acquisition, and retention.

So, wrap your arms around your marketing team and show them some love, because they know how to get through this, and they’ll show you the way if you give them a chance.

Article by Dave Cliche, President & CEO at TMD