Mastering the Pivot: When & How to Revise Your Digital Strategy

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Mastering the Pivot: When & How to Revise Your Digital Strategy

Building resilience isn’t just about survival – it’s about thriving in a cut-throat and ever-changing business landscape. Whoever is able to pivot their digital strategy quickly and effectively in response to crises has the competitive edge. 

And for most businesses, it’s not a question of “if” but “when” a crisis might strike. 

If it’s any consolation, what doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger – 42% of 1,400 PwC survey respondents said they were “in a better place” after a crisis, with some reporting revenue growth as a result of effective crisis management. 

That’s why it’s important for business owners to know when and how to revise their digital marketing strategy when facing a crisis. 

Business crises by the numbers

But first, how do you define a crisis? To be able to pivot your strategy, it is important to recognise a crisis before, during, and after it has taken place.  

The PwC defines a crisis as any situation that: 

  • Is triggered by internal and/or external factors
  • Is triggered by an escalation of one or several smaller incidents 
  • Has a multi-functional, enterprise-wide  impact
  • Disrupts normal business operations
  • Has the potential to harm or damage business reputation 

PwC also lists some 19 potential crisis triggers grouped into 7 broad categories:

For businesses in Australia, PwC lists the three most disruptive crises as:

  • Technology disruption and/or failure (18%)
  • Cybercrime (11%)
  • Financial liquidity and leadership misconduct (10%) 

Crisis preparedness is crucial to business survival and success – 30% of CEOs anticipate more than 1 crisis within the next 3 years. 

CEOs feel most vulnerable when gathering the right information quickly during a crisis. More than half – 57% – are concerned about having an out of date business continuity plan. 

72% cite global economic uncertainty as the main threat to their organisations. 

Surveys show that although 59% of businesses have experienced some form of crises, only 54% have a plan in place to deal with them. 

Coming up with a crisis management plan that specifically addresses digital advertising and communications puts you ahead of the other 46%. 

When to revise your digital marketing strategy

The majority of crises that hit businesses don’t make headlines. Take liquidity issues, for example – but they can be just as disruptive. 

So when should you invest in a digital marketing pivot? 

It can be easier to justify the costs of making a pivot when you and your team have identified an issue and agree on the reasoning for the change. 

Examples of other reasons to consider a pivot: 

  • You’ve realised that part of your marketing stack is underperforming
  • You’ve been focusing on the wrong channel/s or the wrong part of the marketing funnel
  • There is uncertainty surrounding the buyer’s journey and engagement

If your team can’t see the reason for the pivot, it is important to get a buy-in by communicating the issue to them and how a pivot can help protect the business.  

Types of pivots

  • Leadership-initiated – This pivot starts from the top-down, with business owners or leaders acknowledging and communicating the need to pivot existing strategies.  
  • Team-initiated – This type of pivot is often initiated by a team’s desire to learn, test, and innovate. Since your digital team is closer to the day-to-day implementation of your strategies, there is often more motivation and data to support the pivot. 
  • Channel/platform-driven – In some cases, the tools, platforms, and channels you use are updated and force you to make changes to your strategy. 

How to pivot your digital strategy during a crisis

  • Keep going – When a crisis hits, it’s important to keep your eye on the ball. Even if you might need to revise your digital marketing strategy, now is not the time to pause or interrupt it. Stay focused on customer retention and acquisition. 
  • Keep doing whatever it is that you’re capable, whether that’s email marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO), or PPC advertising. Pivot your campaigns but don’t neglect them.  
  • Be reactive – In some cases, crises can escalate very quickly, and if you haven’t had time to re-strategise your digital marketing, now is the time to do it. This could mean revisiting and re-evaluating evergreen content that is already scheduled for publication. This could also mean making time-sensitive announcements and updates on your official channels to keep stakeholders informed. 
  • Revise business messages Revise your messaging in a way that is relevant and responsive to the situation at hand. Ensure that all messages are sensitive to what your stakeholders are experiencing as a result of the crisis. 
  • Understand your stakeholders – You can’t revise your messages if you don’t understand your recipients. Moreover, don’t presume to know what your stakeholders are going through as a result of the crisis. This is why it’s important to hold two-way conversations during this time. Conduct surveys, hold meetings, and practice social listening to know what people are thinking, feeling, and saying. 
  • Incentivise customers – Run promotions, sales, and other promotions that are financially feasible for your business. This will encourage customers to engage with your business and make purchases. Even something as simple as offering free delivery can help customers with their buying decisions. 
  • Set goals, metrics, and KPIs – When revising your digital strategy, it’s important to gather baseline data and documentation on your starting point. Set measurable goals and metrics based on what you and your team would like to accomplish. 
  • Think of the future – When crises strike, it can feel like the sky is falling. But this too shall pass. That’s why you have to keep working on your organisation’s plans for the future. Now is a good time as any to remain entrepreneurial and to work towards your goals. 
  • Learn from the crisis – Think of this crisis as a learning experience. What would you do differently next time? According to a Deloitte global survey, 34% of board members said that they would do more to identify crisis scenarios in the future while 32% said that they would improve detection and early warning systems. (

Why regular digital marketing reviews are important

The best time to address a crisis is right before it takes place. Doing a review of your digital marketing activity in addition to updating your internal communications and business continuity plans will put your in a better position to weather a crisis. 

Business owners must review and dissect existing digital marketing strategies on a regular basis, with or without a crisis on the horizon. 

Regular digital marketing reviews help you get a clearer view of how to meet your goals. They also help you determine whether or not your campaigns are performing to your expectations.    

Work with a leading digital agency

If you feel it’s time to pivot your digital marketing strategy, or simply want to review an existing one, get in touch with the team Contevo. With over 15 years’ experience in digital marketing, we’ve come to appreciate the importance of “Continuous Evolution” – as channels, platforms, buyer behaviours, and industries change, businesses must be ready to adapt to an ever-evolving digital landscape. We’re here to help you do just that.   

Some of our recent results.

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