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6 ways retail tech brands can shake off the invisibility cloak

Chris Field
Chris Field

We are blessed with technology clients that have embraced the coronavirus crisis with compassion and pragmatism, but the same cannot be said for many companies in the wider industry. It is clear that when money gets together with innovation in a rising market, all will be well because, as we have seen, there is always enough cash to give the innovators the space they need to invent the future.

The shutters come down

But in the current crisis, the shutters come down hard and fast; innovation is pushed aside by the money men led by the CFO who generally divides spend into two halves, essential and discretionary. Now, I’m not going to kid myself that in a whole lifetime I am ever going to persuade a CFO of the importance of marketing. Even if she agrees with me, marketing has always sat on the discretionary side of the balance sheet. And probably always will.

Reflect on your sins

But consider this. The market before coronavirus was already cut throat and crowded with tech that promised marginal benefits at best, and at worst, were simply a more expensive and fancy way to do what could be done by an existing product, or simply did not really need to be done at all. So for some companies, the crisis will be a time for reflection to consider whether the sales difficulties they were experiencing before, will simply continue afterwards.

Don’t lose nerve

But there is no reason for owners of essential and transformative technology to entirely lose their nerve. I think that to turn off all communications is to simply hand the baton over to a competitor. Users will be using the crisis to review their own priorities and hope for a simple, more accessible software landscape for the future, so if you are not present, there is the danger that you will not be a part of it.

6 actions you can take now

Clearly, you cannot sell right now, but that leaves many other choices that will keep you out there.

  1. You can round up some clients and some techies, and get them talking about the crisis and beyond.
  2. Similar to the above but a one-to-one between you and a customer or analyst.
  3. Rich media performs well on social media and at the same time, enables you to show sides of your business that you would probably not have done before.
  4. Social posting. Try to keep it useful, informative and even actionable; yours should stand out give that most people ignore this advice.
  5. Pick up the phone. Life goes on and it can’t all be about Zoom calls. You will have war stories to share with your clients and engaged prospects. It’s not like they are going anywhere. I guarantee you will both learn something and make new relationships.
  6. Bomb your own communications because now is the time to see where the holes are and fix them, for instance, I bet most of your inbound goes to the pages you don’t really want them to go to. Why do they go there? Is there something useful there you could develop and surface.
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