What’s left to say about 2020 that hasn’t already been tweeted?
Global pandemic. Never-ending quarantine. Murder hornets. The world certainly looks quite a bit different today than it did this time last year. Doubly different for businesses and their marketing approaches.
The steady transition to remote work and almost-entirely-digital buying habits has seen brands and marketers completely recalibrate their strategies. And as the tide continues to shift, the best of the best have eked out opportunity every step of the way. But they haven’t done it on their own — there are loads of digital tools out there helping companies adapt to the new way of life. Here’s our top five.
We’re guessing when Eric Yuan founded Zoom way back in 2011, he never anticipated the necessity it would quite surely become by 2020. For years, the video conferencing network had gained a steady foothold connecting companies, contractors and partners alike. Then COVID hit, and Zoom traffic multiplied… and multiplied… then multiplied again.
We like Zoom against the others for the same reason most people do: It’s the new town square. A place to connect face-to-face with all other options exhausted, be it an all-company meeting, a quick catch-up or a team happy hour. And much like the Ubers and Amazons of the world, it’s become so ubiquitous that Zoom itself has taken on new meaning as a verb.
With their pledged 90-day security plan in place, companies can rest easier on the powerful 256-AES bit encryption, reporting features and privacy support. Despite a bumpy liftoff, Zoom has committed itself to keeping your most sensitive data behind closed doors. Great news for companies big and small.
If there’s anything all this time inside has shown, it’s the value of online customer service. Society is moving away from their phones and into their computers to troubleshoot, place orders and connect with customer service agents.
Live chat options like Tidio know it best. Equipped with functional, responsive chat programming on their side, your team members aren’t just more effective at communicating with customers — they’re more efficient, too. Live Chat allows for multiple conversations at once, trimming down all the ummmms, uhhhhhs and dead air that typically plague a phone call.
Sales convert quicker. Problems resolve cleaner. Teams move faster.
Trello is one we hold near and dear to our hearts at Bowen. One part calendar, one part pinboard, one part organizer, it’s basically the virtual do-it-all that guarantees we deliver on time, every time.
Much to the benefit of temporarily dispersed teams like ours, Trello offers total visibility into company workflow, simplifying Kanban boards that make project tracking insanely simple. Like drag-and-drop simple. Trello’s doubled down on its security measures too, recently updated to incorporate Atlassian Access with enforced two-step verification, organizational audit logs and more.
(Matter of fact, we used Trello to outline, draft, schedule and post this very blog post. Proof, meet pudding.)
No surprises on this one. Even before the spread of COVID-19, Slack was rewriting the script for business communications. There’s the obvious stuff: Slack’s not-quite-instant-messaging, not-quite-email setup allows for a more realistic, dare we say normal mode of communication.
File sharing and collaboration are far easier through Slack than the days of CC’s and group chats. Communicating with people inside your organization is as easy as typing their name. Communicating with people outside your organization can be as simple as adding them to a channel. Plus, video chat and voice calls are built right into the chat interface, so you can forget the silly runarounds like calendar invites or hyperlinks when you’re trying to chat face to face.
But there’s the less obvious stuff, too. One of our favorites is Slack’s ability to draw people closer and maintain a company culture — even when you’re not sitting in the same rooms. Banter, water cooler talk, and so-how-was-your-weekend? have steadily become replaced with gifs, emoji reactions and group chats. It may not be exactly the same as beer over lunch, but it’s the best we’ve got.
Last but not least? Slack is a breeze to integrate with just about every other tool on this list — plus a few others. It’s a frictionless process, sharing Google docs, calendar invites, assignments and so much more. Productivity wins again.
We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t mention HubSpot’s role in propping up the digital business community. The powerhouse marketing software was practically built to withstand an interruption the size of COVID-19, already equipped with a suite of marketer tools, including introductory freeware, sales tracking and even our aforementioned live chat function.
Combining your sales, marketing and customer service into one do-it-all platform, HubSpot helps business optimize team performance, keeping a watchful eye over what’s working in their sales and marketing funnels (and what’s not). In our opinion, it’s the most intelligent route for turning prospects into customers — especially all the new, never-before-seen online prospects you’re still learning about.
(P.S. if HubSpot has you curious, we’re certified partners with the platform. Give us a shout and we’ll tell you everything we know.)
2020’s uncertainties have jolted powerful digital tools into existence and injected new life into some of the tools we already know and love. The great marketers are paying attention, picking and choosing their favorites to help scale their business or — at minimum — keep the lights on. Our top 5 are opening new opportunities for companies hungry to evolve.