What’s gone well, what didn’t, and what we can learn from the pandemic
It’s safe to say that the past two years were like no other and that 2022 will undoubtedly not return to business as usual. So, as marketers at Benefit Resource (BRI), we’re full steam ahead in open enrollment season while soaking in the holiday spirit. We’d like to reflect on the pandemic, what’s gone well, what didn’t, and what to take away from these years.
Here are our Top 5 Lessons Learned:
1. Remote work comes with its challenges for employees and the clients we serve.
Being creative with employee perks can go a long way. It doesn’t have to be expensive; it just has to demonstrate that you’ve thought about making your employees’ personal or professional lives a little better. Creative options can include extra IT equipment for the home office, offering a specialty account, encouraging participation in fun remote activities, and more!
2. At first, we viewed this as a devastating hit to our annually planned content strategy. However, when you’re forced to re-focus, use it as an opportunity to build a plan that can endure uncertainty. Everyone wins, right?
The pandemic brought a lot of upheavals, but with the changes comes innovation. As marketers, our challenge is to focus on a sustained communication blend of art and science. Use data as the fuel, while respecting the craft of storytelling to drive meaningful connections. There is a fine line between brand marketing and performance marketing. We must understand what should be centralized and what should be bespoke, identify where consistency helps and where it hinders.
3. There is a vast difference between remote and in-person conferences and events.
As far as acquiring leads and meeting new prospects, there is no replacement for the value of face-to-face events and meetings. We think it’s safe to say that most businesses did not have a virtual event strategy in place before the pandemic. Conferences, trade shows, and professional meetings were always in-person affairs. Now webinars and virtual tradeshows have become commonplace for events. BRI has adapted to these and has even seen significant increases in our webinar attendance throughout the pandemic.
4. Find different ways to communicate with your audiences and provide valuable resources.
Communication is vital, and that has remained consistent throughout the pandemic. We have found over-communicating is a big plus. Everyone wants to know they are still part of a caring company that is doing everything to nurture and protect them through the pandemic. The same thing goes for clients. Your audience needs to know that you are still in business, are also keeping them and your employees safe, and providing the same high-level service.
BRI has adapted to remote communication by updating our Resource Center, enhancing our BRIWEB Live Chat functionality, optimizing website navigation, pushing more content to social media, etc. Finding ways to keep everyone connected and part of a team can be challenging, but creative solutions are possible.
5. Be flexible and learn to do more with less.
The pandemic forced us to reach out and listen to our community in different ways. We also learned to do more with less in times of uncertainty. Moving away from the heavy in-person event focus and shifting to digital while we tightened budgets were necessary to weather whatever the pandemic would bring. It reinforced the value of our adaptable team and flexibility in how we speak to our employees and audience.
Perhaps one of the best lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is a renewed commitment to resiliency. We will get through this together!