How SA Marketing Agencies Can Remain Relevant to Clients in The Time of COVID-19

In the wake of the state-mandated COVID-19 lockdown, businesses across industries face their future with trepidation. With company continuity in crisis management mode and a rapid decline in the necessity for a large range of non-essential goods and services, businesses are rethinking their strategies and tightening their purse strings – with marketing budgets being some of the first to go. In a time of business unusual, how do marketing agencies remain relevant to their clients?

According to Lauren Crooks, Lead Strategist of Coalition Communications, marketers must diversify their offerings to align with the imminent shift in the client’s objectives. “The landscape is changing day by day – hour by hour – in these uncertain times. Agencies must be agile enough to pivot in order to survive. Right now, it’s all about finding other avenues in which you can add value to your clients. Consider yourselves as consultants to your clients, and aid them in exploring business avenues that they haven’t considered previously.”

Further to this, the quick shall inherit the earth. In the same way that consumers are altering the way they shop and consume information, so too must companies rethink the way they communicate with their clients. “Companies must be agile in how they engage with their consumers. Their messaging strategies and tactics must shift, and quickly – and their agencies should drive this process through dynamic thinking and a willingness to step outside the box,” says Crooks.

Now, more than ever, Crooks stresses that agencies must become indispensable to their clients. “Our approach during this state of lockdown is to be as high-touch as possible with our clients. Distributed workforces mean that clients are more accessible online, which presents the opportunity for us to collaborate with them more closely. Zoom, WhatsApp, Google Sheets, Basecamps – keep in touch on multiple platforms. This is not necessarily to push for work, but rather to engage in an advisory capacity; sharing knowledge as much as possible and stand with them in solidarity.”

Crooks concludes that rather than fearing the changes that COVID-19 brings across industries, it should be embraced as an opportunity. “This lockdown is pushing us to communicate in unprecedented ways: live-streaming launch events, curating content that consumers have an appetite for while in quarantine, thinking critically about how brand’s relevance and resonance is changing and being brave enough to rise to the occasion.”

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