Reinventing marketing and sales to respond to COVID-19 business challenges through digital transformation
The Michigan SBDC (Small Business Development Center) provides consulting, training and research to assist small business to launch, grow, transition and innovate. With nearly 1,000 centers across the nation, the SBDCs are funded in part by the United States Congress through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Michigan SBDC is committed to foster and sustain a culture of inclusion through equitable outreach and service to Michigan’s diverse business community.
As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic continues to evolve, small businesses and the economy have been significantly impacted, creating a pressing need for organizations to rethink and reconfigure their businesses. To grow, they need to reinvent marketing and sales to embrace customer-focused strategies and impactful omnichannel approaches by implementing digital transformation of marketing and sales.
Blended Collective was selected as a marketing consulting service provider for the Michigan SBDC, to stabilize impacted businesses and address their needs in the new environment. This particular program is a management and technical assistance delivery program of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), funded by the U.S. SBA CARES Act.
In working with ten small businesses to provide business and marketing ownership with marketing solutions, we structured all projects to include: an audit of the current brand and business state pre- and during COVID-19, identification of business objectives, and the development of strategy and recommendations on next steps, including three action items for immediate deployment. Marketing strategies and recommendations were tailored to the type of small businesses such as food and beverage, healthcare, IT, manufacturing, mobile app development, and retail. The following small business challenges were identified as the most pressing ones by Blended Collective during the pandemic, and served as the key focus in working with all ten small businesses to provide the best solutions:
- Adopting marketing plans and strategies to adapt to changes in priorities or budgets
- Adjusting the business continuity of operations
- Improving the overall digital customer experience, including website and social media
- Adjusting brand messaging and content strategy to be more relevant, authentic and on-tone, given the crisis
- Innovating new and existing offers to meet rapidly shifting consumer needs
Blended Collective positioned small businesses to emphasize their strong customer-centric mindset to keep customer-centricity firmly at their core. The new marketing KPIs (key performance indicators), metrics and purposeful strategies deployed are boosting brand awareness, consumer engagement and powering more digitally savvy brands – also to upskill the full marketing function of each small business. Blended Collective will continue its journey with some of the businesses with ongoing marketing support.