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Where do I start with such a controversial topic? My first thought was a famous quote, often used by one of our Directors here at Fountain, Marcus Hemsley – “Always start with the end in mind” – so here goes!

Revisit your goals

  • Have the overall business goals changed?
  • Are your marketing goals the same?
  • What do you need to maintain or increase profitability?
  • How realistic are these goals?
  • Has the lead to sale conversion rate changed?
  • Has the rate of churn increased?
  • Is it appropriate to upsell?

Ensure that your marketing KPIs & targets are still aligned with the overall business goals before you embark on your planning.


When it comes to creating an amazing lock-down exit strategy, getting your team together is a great starting point.

Arrange for 6-8 individuals from different departments to get together (virtually of course) and get everyone’s creative juices flowing. Keep this session to 1-hour to ensure it’s an efficient use of time, and everyone stays motivated.

Organisation of ideas

Group the ideas into different sections, marking them by ease of implementation and impact, to enable you to prioritise.


There isn’t really a one size fits all answer to this.

If you had a budget committed to events, or other activities which are unlikely to go ahead this year, consider moving this budget around if you can still hit your goals elsewhere. If not, then this may require showing restraint with budget or talking with your Management Team.

Strategic planning
How have things changed in your industry? Does social distancing affect how your business runs and it’s capacity?

Consider and agree the 3-5 strategic goals you need to achieve in order to hit your marketing KPIs, for example:

  • Support the Sales Team to increase the volume of sales closing
  • Increase the number of deals from larger enterprises
  • Focus on selling a higher volume of products with a bigger profit margin

Forecasting is your friend

Now that you have outlined your strategy, how on earth are you going to actually achieve it? Consider what factor seasonality plays and any other significant influences in your industry or sector.

Start with a list of all of your existing marketing channels, from affiliates to organic search, direct, email, paid search, display, video, paid social media & referrals (and no doubt many others!).

Map out the number of impressions, users, clicks/ visits, click-through-rate (CTR), conversions, conversion rate (CR) and any other relevant metrics. Compare pre-CoronaVirus results to those achieved during this period and try to factor in incremental changes, in case circumstances change.

I always find it useful to break down conversion numbers by channel, for example, 30% of leads from organic search, 20% direct, 40% paid search, 10% paid social media and measure if this has changed. Try to use as long a date range as possible, and take into account any major website or business changes that might have taken place during that period.

The outcome you are looking for here is an estimate of lead, sales and revenue volume, and ultimately an estimated cost-per-acquisition (CPA) or Return on investment (ROI).

Down to tactical level

Prioritise your workload by focusing on the channels which will generate the highest volume of leads/sales/revenue at the CPA/ ROI which is close to your targets.

  • Audience – who are you targeting? Consider demographics, interests, what are they actively looking to buy and any other relevant factors.
  • Messaging – Tailor your ad messaging and landing page copy to each audience to ensure best results.
  • Landing pages – Are there existing landing pages that effectively encourage potential customers to take the action you want them to? Do you need to amend calls-to-action, landing page copy, or, in fact, do you need to create a new page from scratch.
  • KPIs – How will you measure success from this channel? You may want to consider slightly different metrics for display and video for example.
  • Campaign length – How long is it advisable to run display campaigns to ensure their effectiveness?
  • Technical elements – Think about suitable bid strategies, campaign settings, budgets, structure etc.

Customer journey & ad testing

Make sure to keep your ad copy and creative fresh and on a relatively regular production line. Showing your audience the same messaging for 3 months probably isn’t going to blow them away! So, have in your calendar to revisit regularly, or when you notice a decline in CTR% and CR% (whichever is sooner).

Especially with more visual channels such as display & video, consider a series of messages that you would like to use. Test different ads against each other to find the ones that are more effective and continue to refine this for the best results.

That’s All Folks …

Hopefully, this gives you a great starting point for planning your lock-down exit strategy. Due to constantly changing markets, you’ll need to refine your forecasts based on actual results, but challenging times often breeds innovation and creativity, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how businesses choose to tackle their post-lockdown marketing strategies!