Dear valued partners,
The marketing world just got different. The last 72 hours has shifted the way in which we account for and create success. There is a not a blueprint or a road map of how to navigate this nor a sure path forward for when life will turn back to normal. All we can do is coordinate, evaluate what habits the consumer will be doing during this difficult time period, and also leverage the fact that when people feel comfortable to come out to shop they will have been on their furniture for a lot longer period than normal. This might make them ready to buy (potentially).
A benefit R&A has over most traditional companies is that we have been virtual since 2009. This virtual move has set us up to be able to handle the significant amounts of communication, collaboration and distracted environments that are about to plague most service businesses that have been asked to stay home. Although there is nothing normal about these times, how we are getting our work done is remaining normal.
Internally, in reaction to this pandemic we are taking the following steps:
1. We are suspending all inbound travel to work at the R&A collaboration space and also any outbound travel to visit you.
2. We have recently switched to a new operating software that allows more ease of entry and fluidity which is going to be paramount in this time period.
3. Although we meet as a company very frequently, we are moving to a required meeting by all staff members once per week so all members of our team can study trends and identify sales opportunities. Anyone can have an idea that might help us move forward.
Obviously, our most important goal is to evaluate our approach to advertising messaging and spending during this period. This is what we are paid to do for you day in and day out, but in the wake of recent events we have gone through numerous plans and paths forward. We have refined and revised marketing strategies in response to the daily changes the country is experiencing.
Detailed below is what our truths need to be during this time period to help move your business forward.
Keep Media Spend Consistent
Our philosophy is to keep our foot on the gas with our current projected media spend for the 2nd and 3rd quarter. We believe that you need to stay top of mind within your marketplace to take advantage of increased media consumption during social distancing (people will be home) and then once our economy moves on the upswing we can benefit from that top of mind. While our net of potential customers is shrinking, we need to make sure we are hitting Ms. Jones with our offers as many times as possible. This decision, based on our normally conservative approach to advertising spending, could potentially increase our cost of advertising by 2-3% when we are back to business as normal, but hopefully will drop back down to normal levels once we understand what the new normal is.
Cut Back on Direct Mail
Our team is set to cut back on any planned direct mail from now until June 1st. We believe that in times of less disposable income within a market, we need to use our media dollars to reach as many people possible with the most amount of frequency. Leveraging direct mail would only limit our strategies to reach a set number of potential customers while reaching the masses with fewer impressions. We need to maximize our number of impressions with our media spend to generate more door swings.
Once we have a pulse on the timing of pandemic restrictions, our strategy team will be presenting promotions that will continuously change up offers to generate excitement and give Ms. Jones something fresh every two to three weeks. Along with experimenting with different offer structures, we will be pushing out products with aggressive price points via all digital platforms. We need to show Ms. Jones how far her dollars will stretch.
Giving Great Offers While Still Making Money
Our team will make sure that each new offer structure will fit within your current discount structure. We advise against moving to an offer that cuts too deep within the margin. While maintaining top-line sales is nice, our team will focus on maintaining your bottom-line profits. If traffic continues on a downward trend, we need to make the most out of each ticket.
Focus on Creating Great Organic Content
While R&A Marketing is constantly testing content and pushing the envelope with digital advertising, we realize that there is a huge opportunity for social media growth in the coming weeks. We live in a world where Facebook is our one true mass media. Ms. Jones is going to Facebook as a way to absorb her news. To complement our paid digital efforts, we are asking our clients to create more in-store organic content. Our Content Director, Elizabeth Berg, will send out a follow-up email with tips and content topics for your team to leverage. We can also set one-on-one calls with each client to brainstorm a specific in-store organic strategy.
I know this is a tough time for retail. Your Marketing Director will be reaching out to set up video meetings for next week to dig deep into each plan. Joining this call will be our Director of Accounts and Media, Content Director and a member of our senior leadership team.