As the partner at a marketing agency, Mike Visconti is adept at communications. Marketing can encompass everything from search-engine optimization to brand management and even crisis support. But nothing could have prepared Visconti for the pandemic, and what it would mean for both his clients and his business, V12 Marketing in Concord.
When the state began shutting down, V12 Marketing, which is based in Concord, switched to fully remote work for its 10 employees. Most of the team was already working remote about half the time, but swapping to a fully remote business was still challenging, both professionally and personally.
“There’s a big difference in working 50% from home and all the time from home,” Visconti said. “Work from home gets old to some degree.”
That was true for Visconti’s own team and his 25 clients. V12 Marketing had an advantage because employees were already used to using tools like Zoom and Slack that can make digital communications easier. Yet Visconti and his team needed to help clients become more familiar with these tools — both for their internal and external meetings.
“We battle-tested almost every tool out there,” Visconti said. “Bringing that to our clients, they were appreciative that we’d been thorough and could recommend what’s best.”
V12 Marketing also had to help clients communicate with their own customers and employees. This wasn’t traditional crisis management, but it was still important to let customers and employees know how a company was planning to respond to the shutdown, Visconti said.
“We were having to help coach them on ways that they can communicate to their customers and team what they’re doing,” he said.
Visconti was pleasantly surprised to have new clients reaching out about marketing campaigns during the shutdown.
“To be honest, at the beginning I didn’t think we’d be getting any inquiries or new leads. Surprisingly, people are still looking to expand their marketing outreach,” he said.
Industry research shows that companies that cut off marketing expenses during the 2008 economic collapse “didn’t bounce back quite as well,” as those that continued to invest in marketing, Visconti said. He’s tried to educate his clients about that, and show them that investing in content and marketing is a long-term move.
“If you stick with it, it’s worth it,” he said.
Before the pandemic, Visconti’s clients, which include automotive, retail, construction and financial businesses, viewed a digital presence as “the way of the future.” With social-distancing, an online presence is suddenly critical for all businesses, from the local clothing shop to a small pizza parlor.
“Now it’s here. You have to be online no matter what your business is,” Visconti says. Potential customers don’t just want to be able to find you online, they want to be able to obtain service online, like booking an appointment or placing an order, he adds.
“People’s standards and expectations of what they’re going to get online is increasing,” Visconti said.
Since it’s such an uncertain time for businesses, V12 Marketing has been taking on additional roles. After getting federal and state grant programs, the business provided guidance to clients who were trying to do the same. Extending a bit of goodwill goes a long way toward nurturing the relationships with clients, especially when in-person meetings aren’t an option, Visconti said.
“We’re trying to go above and beyond. Maybe we don’t bill for every single minute. I understand things are tough. We want to be a long-term partner, not just another vendor.”
This story is part of the 50 Businesses, 50 Solutions series, shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative, that aims to highlight how business leaders across the state, from mom and pop shops, to large corporations have adapted to meet the challenges and disruptions caused by the novel coronavirus in the hopes others may be able to replicate these ideas and innovations. Tell us your story here. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.