The COVID-19 pandemic has left no part of our lives unchanged. We caught up with Courtney Hastings, Field Marketing Manager at Qlik to see how the pandemic has changed her job and the role of the field marketer. As well as acquiring some new co-workers in her home office, Courtney explained that the pandemic has changed her role almost completely. After all, when your job is to be in the field connecting with customers and prospects and generating demand and you can no longer be ‘in the field’ because of travel and meeting restrictions, you have to get creative.
Read on to learn how Courtney Hastings has responded to these changes and excelled at connecting engagement to demand.
Modern Marketing Today (MMT): How has your job as Field Marketing Manager at Qlik changed this year?
Courtney Hastings (CH): Like everyone else, I’ve experienced unprecedented changes this year in my job. January was pretty normal, but then in late February stories about the novel coronavirus broke and by early March my first really big event of the year – HIMSS20 – was canceled just days before I was due to get on the plane to go to the event.
By its very definition, field marketing means that, as a marketer, you’re in the field meeting customers and prospects at shows and events in person. But after HIMSS20 was canceled it was clear that it was time to pivot to a new strategy, even though we had no idea how long the restrictions – or the pandemic – would last.
MMT: How has this year changed your strategy and tactics?
CH: As of mid-March my entire marketing plan was useless. I pivoted to a new plan that focused on making meaningful connections. Initially, I used a variety of virtual third-party and in-house events but quickly identified that virtual in-house events were driving more meaningful connections for us with our customers and prospects than virtual third-party events.
Another way I have focused on connecting engagement to demand is through digital marketing, particularly through content marketing and content syndication. These tactics were always part of my overall strategy, but they assumed new importance once the pandemic hit. To be able to put the right thought leadership message in front of a prospect, in particular, at the right time is a very powerful tool.
MMT: What role does content marketing play in your pandemic marketing strategy?
CH: As I mentioned in my previous answer, content marketing, and content syndication play a significant role in my marketing strategy now. And, I expect that its importance will not diminish even after COVID-19 no longer shapes our lives and jobs.
The cancelation of events, like HIMSS20, left many marketers, including me with a sort of PTSD. Everything was canceled so abruptly and with no plan for how to regroup and move forward that I’m really reluctant to commit to in-person events again. But content marketing and content syndication give me an opportunity to consistently engage with my customers and prospects and share content with them that’s tailored to where they are on their buyer’s journey.
MMT: How does content make it easier for you to connect with customers and prospects?
CH: In addition to giving me a way of connecting directly with customers and prospects when there are limited venues to do this, it’s highly customizable. In other words, I can tailor content to specific agencies, where they are in their buyer’s journey, their specific pain point.
What I’ve also learned in the last few months is that many public sector organizations are prioritizing learning right now. With so many agency employees working from home either all the time or most of the time, some are unable to do their full scope of work leaving extra time in the workday. So, employees are being directed to do more hands-on learning about how to solve the challenges the agency is facing, or how to take the next step in their career. I can use thought leadership content as a primary source to help with this on-going education process and build a relationship along the way.
MMT: Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share?
CH: I see so many of my colleagues anxious about getting back to ‘normal’ but even when the pandemic is over what is now ‘normal’ will be so very different that we’ll need to continue to adapt. In many ways, this is a period of reflection to evaluate what was effective, what continues to be effective, and which of my new tools will be valuable in the future.
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