Perfecting the Pivot: Questions to Ask when Changing Your Message

by Jackson Phipps

Unprecedented, strange, difficult, trying…the list goes on. We’ve heard dozens of similar adjectives being used in association with the coronavirus pandemic. For digital marketers, a different word has stolen the show: pivot.

The term, which may remind some of its use in basketball (remember sports?), has been employed countless times in reference to messaging in advertising. To simplify, pivoting is changing direction…quickly.

Throughout the past couple of months, we’ve observed businesses that have proven to be up for the challenge of putting together a marketing plan that fits with the current state of affairs. Make no mistake about it – that isn’t an easy thing to do.

Now more than ever, businesses must find a messaging equilibrium that is empathetic, but still effective in terms of generating sales both in the present and in the future. This is a difficult proposition in any circumstance, but with time being of the essence, the pressure is increased.

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all playbook for the perfect pivot, but these questions can help set your advertising strategy in the right direction.

1. Do I have a competitive advantage given the new set of circumstances?

Ideally, all businesses operate with some type of competitive advantage over others in their industry. Whether it’s low prices, hard-to-find inventory, exceptional customer service, or something else, it’s important to identify what sets you apart from others in your space.

As the pandemic outbreak dramatically shifts the way companies are conducting business, perhaps there are new aspects of your business that rise above the competition. Once you identify these advantages, they should become a part of your pivoting plan.

2. How can I remain socially-conscious while still advertising for sales?

A reality of the “new normal” is that businesses must be sensitive to what’s taking place in the world today. Coming off as tone-deaf to the struggles of the community, and society at large, can have lasting implications once things go back to the way they were.

With all of that being said, you still have products and services to sell, as well as employees and their families to consider. People might not be spending money at the same rate as they were previously, but they haven’t stopped purchasing altogether. It’s important to remember that the objective of getting new sales is not immoral, nor insensitive.

Doing your best to create new messaging that reflects your social awareness while still promoting your business is complicated, but possible. Gather your creative minds and collaborate on solutions that let your customers know you’re there for them during a complicated time.

3. How can I streamline the strategy?

Putting together an effective, sustainable marketing plan takes time. In the current business climate, it might be time that you simply don’t have. The solution? Streamline operations.

Chances are you have a component of your digital advertising plan that has proven to be more effective than others, and now is the time to double down on what works. Simply put, go with what you know.

The reason streamlining is so important is because it frees up your time to find solutions to other problems. For example, distribution in the COVID-19 world.

Any decisions you can make that simplify your marketing plan should be seriously considered. Gaining back some time to manage other aspects of your business could be the most valuable commodity in the foreseeable future.

4. How do we plan for what’s next?

Ask anyone from your state’s governor to the person six feet behind you in line at the grocery store what the next few months will be like and you won’t hear the same answer twice. With the feeling of uncertainty surrounding the future, planning ahead might not seem feasible, but that doesn’t mean it can be ignored.

Regardless of the uncertainty, it’s crucial to put a plan in place for when business returns to something resembling normal. Once stay-at-home orders are lifted and all stores are able to re-open, there will be an influx of customers who could be utilizing your services.

Get a head start on the competition by putting together a go-back-to-market strategy that captures the attention of your target audience. When the initial rush happens in the coming months, do what you can to get out in front of those who your business is able to serve.

5. Can I do anything to serve my local community?

For the vast majority of businesses in the U.S., sales are driven by the local population. With this in mind, it’s important to position yourself as a mindful member of the community. Now more than ever, customers will remember how businesses responded when people were in need of support.

Whether it’s through volunteer work, charitable donations, or special promotions for frontline workers, every business has something they can contribute. If there was ever an opportunity to prove that your business truly cares about its customers, it’s right now.


If nothing else, this has been a tremendous learning experience for businesses and consumers alike. Even if you can’t see it now, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The resilience during this time will pave the way for a better future.

If your business could benefit from a conversation with a team of digital marketing experts, contact 2060 Digital today to schedule a consultation.