How marketing can help the recovery of businesses in East Anglia

By Marie Lake, CIM East of England chair 

From home deliveries to priority trading, virtual events to takeaways, businesses across the East of England have had to change the way they function in response to COVID-19.

A core part of a marketer’s role is to understand the needs of their customers and the market their business operates in. This insight is vital at times of crisis. Marketers have a fundamental role to play in helping businesses drive value and stay relevant in these unprecedented times. While there might be a temptation to simply pick up where you left off pre pandemic, this is not necessarily the best way forward.

Both consumer and business priorities have changed, and fresh strategies must be applied to address these changes accordingly. This may mean a greater focus on content marketing or re-evaluating your long-term messages. It’s essential to communicate clearly what your business does, where you stand in the current market and the value you can give your customers. Be sympathetic to your customer’s situations and adjust your tone accordingly, through honesty and transparency in your messaging.  

Consider putting socially responsible marketing front and centre stage, with consumers increasingly opting to purchase from companies that value purpose as well as profit, it can be an effective awareness tool.

There are so many great examples of this from our region, from charities sending care packages to fishermen, to a firm making birthday cards for NHS fundraising hero Captain Tom, businesses and charities across East Anglia have shone the spotlight on worthy organisations like the NHS and those in need.

Key to achieving all this will be ensuring marketing staff, particularly those who have been furloughed, are equipped with the skills to meet these challenges.

With traditional classroom-based learning impractical for now, businesses should consider online learning to develop the skillsets of their employees before they return to the office.

At the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), we have seen a huge increase in demand from marketers looking to expand their digital marketing capabilities through courses in digital marketing, PPC, SEO, paid social and copywriting.

Marketers are in a prime position to both support local businesses and communities, provided they are prepared, proactive and above all, flexible in their approach.