As you pursue and plan the marketing of your business, ask yourself this question: is your business marketing prepared for a disaster?
In this weeks video podcast, the week of Hurricane Harvey gives all business owners pause to play “what if” scenarios and how their business will respond to customers.
John Verlin discusses why this is so important with a case study of a financial institution facing a venting customer due to a systems upgrade fiasco.
Prevention and planning are the best medicine for keeping your prospects and customers aware and engaged.
It underscores the need to provide regular updated content, monitoring and engagement.
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Marketing Your Company; Is Your Business Marketing Prepared For A Disaster? Podcast #30
Host: John D. Verlin
Good afternoon, John Verlin with On Demand Advertising Solutions with another Digital Marketing Update, this is our thirtieth podcast.
And today I wanted to talk about, is your business marketing prepared for a disaster? Now I know that that is a pretty dismal subject, I touched on this idea about a month ago in another digital podcast.
Preparing for crisis and things like that. Today is the Friday before Labor Day. And last week, Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. Massive flooding, massive loss.
So I thought I would address this a little bit because several things I experienced this past week reiterate the importance of it.
I talked about in my last podcast about when Voyager I and Voyager II were sent out by the Jet Propulsion lab in Pasedena—they had to come up with a lot of “what if” scenarios in planning before they sent them out.
And this is part of planning. Every business as far as I’m concerned has to have some sort of plan. An evergency plan. OK, what do I do if such and such happens? Such as a flood, or a tornado? Or a natural disaster? Political uncertainty? Whatever.
This is important as you’ve got to have some sort of plan with your marketing. How are you going to respond? What’s going to happen if your database or customer accounts are breached? How do you respond to that?
A whole scenario of things could happen. But it’s good to have some basic rules to live by so to speak as far as how you’re going to respond in your marketing.
Now case in point, one of my clients, financial institution had an upgrade to their systems. They didn’t send out any heads up so to speak.
And unexpectedly I guess there was a two or three day delay and their online banking was down. While they’re an online bank and naturally customers were concerned because they couldn’t access their accounts.
Now this possibly could have been prevented with a little forsight in communicating with their customer base and prospects through not only with secure messaging, but emails and social media posts. But it was done after the fact.
And there were several negative comments on their Facebook page which were correctedly answered by their social media person and compliance person.
But one comment is all it takes indicating that this is unacceptable. And suddenly, you have people they are trying to get as customers by spending money, read that and form an impression and an opinion.
But that’s just one example of one issue that came up which wasn’t really planned for. Well now they have a complaint scenario when they get issues upfront that they may suspect might cause problems.
They can go ahead and make posts on social media, on their website, on their online banking, in secure messaging, through emails to their customer base. And pre-plan this in case something might happen.
Now, why do you need social media? And this is kind of what it’s coming back to. Because that’s real time communication. And you can get on it right away to get to your customers and prospects with updates. Now you may think, well millennials use a lot of social media.
When the Houston flood hit, my 73 year old cousin went on Facebook, thanked everyone he’s connected with about their concern for him. And he said “my back yard hasn’t flooded yet, but it doesn’t hold water well, but it could. And I’ll keep you updated.”
Perfect example of staying in touch, putting an update on social media in real time. And this is why businesses needs to be engaged now, before an issue arises that you have to do something.
See what I’m saying? And this is why I’m advocating for all small businesses to start a social media program, whether you see tangible results right now or on down the road. But you should.
Well, you might say—and I did get an email from a listener last week—and I’ll just call him George. George, I want to respond to your email.
He had asked me as a small business that he didn’t have money to spend even part-time to do his social media, etc. And that’s fine. If you have a referral base where you’re getting customers and doing well—there’s no point in changing anything unless you need to in making an investment.
But know that—and this was the point I was trying to make in several podcasts recently—it’s moving in this direction with smartphone techologies. More and more people are doing social media and responding to it.
It would behoove you to not put it off basically. And this hurricane situation is probably a really good example. A lot of people stayed in touch on social media. Letting relatives know how they were doing, asking for help. A lot of things like that.
So, it’s probably a good idea George to go ahead and make some investment, whether it’s your time, a family member just to get something going on whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. to have a presence.
Now, you may not have a website—and you can maybe do that ok for a while. But this is where kind of the rubber meets the road. And you have to make that decision.
Do I need to go there yet and start a program with social media? Or should I wait until something does happen? It’s kind of up to you.
I understand the investment issue and all of that. But this is a good example of what can happen—and there are businesses that have had damage done because they couldn’t respond quick enough to customer complaints on Facebook or perhaps Twitter.
That’s the point.Is to engage your customers and prospects prior to any issue happening.
And the moral of the story is that you’re going to build your business. That’s the whole point of it. To build your business by engaging consistantly with them.
Because we’ve never had this capability before without doing some sort of customer survey, phone calls or a party…or something to get in front of our customers.
Well now we can do it through social media.
So this whole idea of changes going on that could reflect your relationship with your customer. Whether you’re advertising in print right now, or radio, TV, direct mail. Great, keep doing it. This is all part of your marketing program.
It’s just one more element that you can access quickly. And change quickly if you have a person in-house handling your social media and content—or you’re doing it yourself or you freelance it or hire an agency of some sort. This can turn on a dime and that’s why it’s so important.
Because not only can you engage people on a regular basis, but when you really need it—and upgrade happens and you didn’t warn them and you get complaints. You can pre-empt this. A little planning, a little forethought and you continue to build your business without facing any damages so to speak.
So, that’s kind of the story I wanted to talk about today and that is the idea that preparing your business, your marketing or issues such as a disaster that come out of the blue.
Now once that passes, if you have an engaged platform—a marketing platform that I refer to—you can get back in touch with your customers, thank them for their business and I’m sure they will respond.
Glad to know your opening again soon. Felt terrible about the tornado that hit your area…thanking you for keeping in touch, that kind of thing.
That’s worth a lot. Because you’re still engaging your customers. You’re also staying ahead of the competition by letting your prospects and customers know through your social media platform that you’re still in business.
Because your competition can jump on this and say, we’re still open! And they can wreak some havoc if you’re not in touch with your prospects and customers.
So my point is, it’s just a good, common sense business decision. And from my perspective George, in answering your question, I know costs are involved, but pre-planning your marketing should be involved too.
And whether this is involved or you’re doing direct mail or whatever your planning is, I’m sure you’ve thought through that and made investments and budgets. Well, this is a great example that this probably should be included fairly soon.
Particularly as more and more people are moving to these smartphone devices to access websites, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. More and more people are doing this. So, probably a good idea to do that.
We’ll talk to you next week!
All podcasts are recorded by Verlin Studios / Gardner, Kansas
Copyright, John D. Verlin 2017