What Happens When a Marketing Strategy Must Pivot Quickly?

    Authored By

    CMO Times

    What Happens When a Marketing Strategy Must Pivot Quickly?

    In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, adaptability is key. We've gathered insights from marketing managers and company presidents on how to pivot strategies effectively. From a quick shift for payroll compliance demand to differentiating a product with unique features, explore seven real-life scenarios and their outcomes.

    • Pivoted for Payroll Compliance Demand
    • Shifted to SEO for Organic Growth
    • Adapted to Remote Work Challenges
    • Focused on Software Ease of Use
    • Switched to Influencer Marketing Strategy
    • Transitioned to Content-Driven SaaS Marketing
    • Differentiated Product with Unique Features

    Pivoted for Payroll Compliance Demand

    A significant pivot in our marketing strategy occurred when changes to payroll legislation in Australia, specifically the introduction of Single Touch Payroll (STP) compliance, took effect. This legislative change required all businesses to report salaries, wages, tax withholdings, and superannuations to the Australian Tax Office after each payroll process, instead of annually. This created a sudden and urgent need for compliant payroll systems among businesses of all sizes, particularly those that had not yet automated their payroll processes.

    Recognizing the urgency of the situation and the potential market demand, we quickly shifted our marketing strategy to focus almost exclusively on customer acquisition, particularly targeting businesses that were scrambling to become compliant with the new STP requirements. We redirected our marketing budget toward educational campaigns, webinars, and targeted ads that highlighted the features of our payroll software that ensured STP compliance effortlessly.

    Blake Smith
    Blake SmithMarketing Manager, ClockOn Rostering, Attendance & Payroll

    Shifted to SEO for Organic Growth

    In my most recent CMO role, I was tasked with the urgent overhaul of our marketing strategy, all within a tight timeframe of 14 days. This drastic pivot was caused by significant hurdles we encountered as a startup attempting to secure our Series A funding.

    As our funding outlook as a startup soured in early 2023, we needed to shift quickly from a marketing plan focused on in-person events and online advertising to a focus purely on organic growth tactics and search engine optimization (SEO).

    The shift in focus to organic growth was a blessing in disguise. By doubling down on creating SEO-optimized content, we saw a 22-fold increase in website visits within the first 12 months, resulting in a fivefold increase in relevant meetings with sales. I wouldn't advise other CMOs to go for such a dramatic pivot in marketing strategy, but the shift to organic growth can help cash-strapped startups navigate through difficult times.

    Lari Numminen
    Lari NumminenGrowth Advisor, Generate More

    Adapted to Remote Work Challenges

    When COVID happened, I was working in-house as a marketing leader at The Predictive Index. In an instant, most companies were on a hiring freeze, and our 'Use the PI Behavioral Assessment to hire better candidates' message no longer fit. Suddenly, many of our clients and prospects were forced to figure out remote work for the first time.

    To help them—and to stay relevant—we focused on teaching our audience to manage remote employees using behavioral people data. We surveyed our customer base and wrote a research report titled 'The Impact of Behavioral Drives in a Remote Workplace.' It explained how behavioral drives impact employee remote work perceptions and gave leaders tips for keeping their remote employees engaged. The report campaign contributed to more than $680k in revenue.

    Erin Balsa
    Erin BalsaFounder & Chief Picky Editor, Haus of Bold

    Focused on Software Ease of Use

    For one of my clients who launched a new software tool, initial user feedback revealed that the tool was perceived as too complex. We rapidly adjusted our marketing approach, shifting focus from the software's advanced features to its ease of use and the support available. We incorporated quick tutorial videos and customer testimonials emphasizing the tool's straightforward integration. This strategic pivot helped improve user adoption rates and reduced churn by 20%, significantly enhancing customer satisfaction and retention.

    Marco Genaro Palma
    Marco Genaro PalmaFreelance CMO and SEO Consultant, GenaroPalma.com

    Switched to Influencer Marketing Strategy

    We were launching a new fitness product, and our initial marketing plan was heavily focused on social media ads. But after a few weeks, the results were underwhelming, to say the least. Sales were stagnant, and our engagement metrics were not where we wanted them to be. So, I decided to switch gears. Instead of pouring more money into social media ads, we shifted our focus to influencer marketing. We reached out to fitness influencers with a strong following and aligned values, and we sent them our product to try out.

    The response was phenomenal. Once they started posting about our product, their followers took notice. We saw a significant spike in website traffic, and our sales numbers started climbing. This experience taught me the importance of being flexible with marketing strategies. Sometimes, what looks great on paper doesn't work out in reality. But by staying agile and open to change, we were able to turn a potential flop into a success story.

    Jason Vaught
    Jason VaughtPresident, Houston SEO Company

    Transitioned to Content-Driven SaaS Marketing

    In the dynamic world of SaaS, agility isn’t just an asset—it’s a necessity. At OnCourseCRM.com, we encountered a pivotal moment that tested our adaptability and ultimately refined our approach to marketing. Here’s a closer look at this transformative experience and the outcomes it spurred.

    Our original marketing strategy was heavily focused on direct outreach and traditional digital advertising. This approach had yielded consistent results, but as the market landscape began to shift—marked by increased competition and changing customer preferences—we noticed a gradual decline in engagement and conversions.

    Recognizing the need for change, we quickly pivoted to a content-driven marketing strategy. This shift was predicated on the belief that providing value upfront would not only attract more leads but also build stronger relationships with potential customers.

    We ramped up our production of high-quality, informative content tailored to our target audience’s needs. This included in-depth blog posts, instructional videos, and interactive webinars, all designed to address common challenges faced by our prospects and position OnCourseCRM as a thought leader in the CRM space.

    The pivot to a content-driven approach marked a significant uptick in website traffic and engagement. Our educational content resonated with our target audience, drawing more visitors to our site and encouraging deeper interaction with our brand.

    More importantly, this strategy led to an improvement in lead quality and a noticeable increase in conversion rates. Prospects who engaged with our content were more informed and better aligned with our product offering, resulting in higher conversion rates from lead to customer.

    Beyond immediate metrics, this strategic pivot helped solidify OnCourseCRM’s position as an authority in the CRM space. The valuable content we provided fostered trust and credibility, establishing a stronger brand presence in a competitive market.

    Daniel Merrill
    Daniel MerrillFounder - Sales and Marketing, Oncourse CRM

    Differentiated Product with Unique Features

    A noteworthy example of swiftly adjusting our marketing approach occurred when a rival released a comparable product shortly before our planned release date. Rather than engaging in direct competition, we set ourselves apart by highlighting our product's special qualities and advantages through focused content marketing. We quickly changed our message in email marketing, blogs, and social media to emphasize our unique selling points.

    We were able to draw a specific audience to our unique value proposition, which increased engagement rates and resulted in more conversions than anticipated. I learned from this experience how important it is to be flexible in marketing and how making calculated turns can transform unforeseen obstacles into opportunities for success.

    Fahad Khan
    Fahad KhanDigital Marketing Manager, Ubuy India