Ensuring Growth in the Face of Uncertainty

Ensuring Growth in the Face of Uncertainty

Ensuring Growth in the face of uncertainty

As the COVID-19 continues to take the world by the storm, no one can have any doubts: we are living through one of the most critical events of the century. Governments around the world have taken measures to physically minimize the contagion: social distancing, public transportation shutdowns, the closing of public spaces, to name a few. Yet, all these measures have disrupted the flow of customers, destroyed the supply chains, stalled local economies, and now put all of us at risk of the global recession.

I have a friend who has recently opened a food chain only to have it shut down to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Of course, he’s not alone as businesses around the world are staring over the edge of the same cliff.

In the dim light of the current situation, no wonder that a lot of companies are exercising the “martial law”: restructuring operations, laying off employees, deferring and cutting down the budgets. Naturally, many of you are skeptical about investing in new marketing technology projects, including SEO software.

It can feel counterintuitive and just plain crazy: “All eyes are on me. My inbox is exploding, customers are asking for refunds and discounts. My people are working remotely. Every day it’s something new. How am I supposed to bring this new tool to the market if I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow?”

This quote from the COO of the mid-size marketing agency and one of our long-standing customers reflects some of the uncertainty and pressure online businesses are faced with. Workflow overhaul and startling customer churn rates amid the looming global overturn are frightening enough to start panicking and retreat from taking even minor risks.

But at the same time, it’s the ability to deal with the unknown and find opportunities within it that creates companies and makes them into successful enterprises.

When discussing the future of the economy, many refer to Darwin’s “survival of the fittest.” While any business, in a sense, is the reflection of biology, that’s hardly the point he was trying to make – and it’s most certainly not what is important to today’s digital marketing companies. What Darvin actually said is “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, it is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

Some of these changes can provide significantly more opportunities than others. Did you notice how much more online content you’ve been consuming, how many times you’ve checked your twitter feed, and how many purchases you’ve made online?
Well, the statistics indicate that we’re definitely not alone.

The internet traffic is growing at enormous rates:

  • The traffic on AT&T networks increased by 19%. (Source)
  • Verizon’s web traffic climbed by some 20% in a week-over-week comparison. (Source)
  • Cloudflare reports that Internet Traffic in Golden Gate City alone is up an enormous 49%. (Source)
  • In Europe, IP networks are experiencing traffic increases close to 40%, according to Telefónica. (Source)

Consumers are turning to e-commerce:

  • 50% of Chinese and 31% of Italian consumers are shopping online to purchase products they would usually buy in-store, according to the recent survey by Ipsos MORI. (Source)
  • The data obtained by the app analytics company Apptopia shows that daily downloads of the grocery app Instacart are up by some 218%. Walmart Grocery and Shipt have experienced surges of 160% and 124%, respectively. (Source)
  • The data aggregated by Rakuten Intelligence shows the dollar value of BOPIS (buy-online-pick-up-at-store) orders growing 111% from March 12 through March 15. (Source)

Search Engine Marketing has a ‘safety margin’:

  • Digital marketing agencies report the sharp downfall of key SEM metrics. The Common Thread Collective saw the SEM ROAS decline by a significant 39.32%. (Source)
  • Despite the potential global recession, ad spend across digital channels is set to grow by 10.6% – according to the fresh ‘March 2020 Ad Spend Forecasts’ by Dentsu Aegis Network – with programmatic ad spend increasing by 45.7%. (Source)
  • Brands are likely to transfer up to 40% of marketing budgets, previously allocated to now-canceled industry events, to search engine marketing. (Source)

One thing’s certain: people are spending more time online than ever before, and online sales are on the rise. Is this the right time to suspend your marketing technology projects? Your competitors probably believe it is.

Warren Buffett once said: “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” In other words, “zig when they zag” or “be even more productive when everybody else is gripped in fear”.

History suggests businesses that are not afraid to invest when others are backing down tend to come out on top in the long term. For example, Amazon sales grew by 28% in 2009 because the company continued to innovate and push new products (e.g., Kindle) to the market despite the global recession. On Christmas Day of 2009, Amazon sold more ebooks than printed books, which became a lower-cost alternative to its impoverished customers.

Also, consider the experience of Starbucks that managed to increase its sales by 7 percent in 1999 while also driving up the prices. At the time when its competitors were discounting offerings, Starbucks focused on delivering value-added services, such as providing Internet access at all its stores and introducing the Starbucks Сard.

In one of its older studies, McKinsey found out that one of the key points that differentiated successful businesses during a downturn was about their marketing budgets. As it turned out, the top-performers have actually increased their spending, not only in relevance to the competitors, but also compared with their pre-recession budgets.

Many are calling this crisis a “black swan” event – a cataclysm that caused significant economic hardship and couldn’t have been foreseen. But while it is currently impossible to predict how hard COVID-19 will hit the global economy and your business, there are a few measures you should take to swiftly adapt your marketing technology business when things start going south.

But first, let’s try to assess the risks. Marty Cagan, the industry-recognized thought leader in product management, articulated five types of high-level risks crucial for the success of the product in his book “Inspired”. Now, major disruptions, such as COVID-19, can potentially have a tremendous adverse impact on key areas of these risks.

Value Risk

– Whether customers will buy it or if users will choose to use it.

Does your product rely on in-person activities to communicate the value to the enterprise prospects? If you’re relying on marketing events and offline F2F sales meetings, you risk losing out on your key metrics, including CR (conversion rates) and MRR (monthly recurring revenue).

There’s an ongoing debate about how to adjust lead generation and nurturing campaigns to the current situation, given the general lack of proven results and reliable data. Where you will land in this debate probably depends on the business rules of your company, but it’s safe to say that our go-to-market strategies need to adapt.

First of all, try creating individual dashboards for each of your growth team’s customers with two views for each funnel. This would allow you to adequately test the hypothesis and make decisions based on data. Here’s an example of how you can do that for reviewing your advertising campaigns.

  • Cost Funnel
  • CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost)
  • CPC (Cost per Click)
  • CPM (Cost per Million Views)
  • CTR (Click Through Rate)
  • ROAS (Return on Advertising Investment)
  • Conversion Funnel
  • ARPU (Average Revenue per User)
  • Clicks
  • Impressions

Pull day-over-day data into a Google Sheet from the last 5-6 weeks. This way, you’ll be able to pinpoint the day when the drop began. Then, divide the days into two frames: before and after. Lastly, you can use percent-change formulas to compare the frames, which might give you an idea on where your funnel is breaking by showing when costs per acquisition are soaring, or when your conversion rates are plummeting.

Tip: leverage uncertainty to identify price-sensitive customers

If your business is feeling the impact of coronavirus, website visitors could be “window-shopping”, meaning they would be clicking on the ad, viewing the page, but not filling in the contact form or making a purchase. In this case, you should work on enticing your offerings (email campaigns, pop-ups, registration forms, product pages, etc.). Also, try diverting more budgets to remarketing campaigns to return undecided prospects to your website.

At the same time, you can actually leverage the uncertainty created by the current situation to close more deals. By introducing uncertainty to your product, you can create a “hurdle” that will help you separate customers who genuinely won’t make a purchase without a price drop, from coupon-hunters who don’t really care about the price.

To give you an example, during its 2013 US tour, the Rolling Stones managed to make fans pay the extra price by lowering the cost from $2,000 down to the ridiculous $85. With only one condition: with a discounted ticket, you wouldn’t know where exactly your place was in the arena beforehand. The whole idea was that people who were able to pay the regular price would be willing to pay more to eliminate the uncertainty.

Usability Risk

– Whether users can figure out how to use it.

Software usability affects everything: from development time estimates to online conversions and user engagement. This is why it’s vital to make sure your product has a well-designed interface and underwent all the necessary stages of usability testing.

However, on the cusp of the possible recession, many businesses are cutting back on UI/UX teams. They may think user experience is just “nice to have” and can be traded off for reducing time-to-market and development costs. Upon closer examination, nonetheless, such judgments just don’t hold up.

1 Investing in UX will save you money.

You should already know that every $1 invested in UX can bring $100 in return or the massive 9,900% ROI. In her “Cost-Justifying Usability” book, Clare-Marie Karat from the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center references a study where:

“$20,700 spent on usability resulted in a $47,700 return on the first day the improvements we implemented and $68,000 spent on usability on another system resulted in $6,800,000 return in the first year.”

Well-designed products have lower customer acquisition costs, better customer retention, as well as a larger market share. It means that you can put less into marketing activities and customer support service, and more into supporting crucial areas of your business during the crisis.

2 Investing in UX will increase productivity.

For software companies, investing in the usability of the product goes beyond the obvious. Dr. Susan Weinschenk, head of UX strategy at Human Factors International, claims businesses that don’t keep user experience on the back burner can save employees time and help to release products faster:

“In fact, studies have shown that software specialists spend about 40 to 50 percent of their time on avoidable rework rather than on what they call value-added work, which is basically work that’s done right the first time. Once a piece of software makes it into the field, the cost of fixing an error can be 100 times as high as it would have been during the development stage.“

With many teams working remotely, the issue of maintaining a sufficient level of productivity is more relevant than ever. And while user experience isn’t the main factor influencing the overall company’s productivity, laying off your UX team will only make things worse.

3 Investing in UX will help you stay competitive.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a lot of your competitors will probably postpone all UX improvements until after the crisis. This offers a unique opportunity to gain a larger market share. At the end of the day, well-crafted products get happier customers, motivated employees, and, as a result, reduced development costs – and all of that constitutes a competitive advantage.

On the other hand, since customers are spending more time online, their expectations in terms of UI and UX are growing day by day. If you’re not paying enough attention to delighting your customer, you’ll likely see the adverse effects on your business rather sooner than later.

As Steve Krug noted in his “Don’t Make Me Think” book: “You can get away with a site that people muddle through only until someone builds one down the street that makes them feel smart.”

While the above arguments might have helped you realize the significant importance of UX during the pandemic, they don’t reflect the peculiarities of the current situation. However, the behavior and expectations of users may have undergone radical changes. The way you respond to these changes will determine the usability of your product at this point.

Tip: apply best practices from “crisis” apps

COVID-19 may seem like a unique event that demands some novel approaches to software usability. Even though this is true, some tools have been designed specifically for people in crisis. So, why don’t we look up to their experience?

Safety Check

For those unfamiliar with the name, Safety Check is a Facebook feature that is activated during natural or human-made disasters and lets users in the affected location share whether they are safe as well as add fundraisers and attach personal notes.

One of the important things that the team behind the Safety Check uncovered during the initial UX research, is that people tend to stick to the community when faced with a crisis. What’s more, users included in focus groups were willing to go above and beyond to help their communities. Among other things, when hit by a disastrous event, people were using Facebook groups and public spreadsheets to organize and provide answers. When analyzing online activity, however, it turned out that these online communities were fragmented, and there was no easy way to get answers without having to scroll through hundreds of posts.

To address this issue, Facebook introduced several new features to the interface of the Safety Check, including searchable Community Help enriched with structured data, location-centric posts, etc. You can read more about the UX research behind it here.

The most obvious lesson we can learn from this is that users seek a sense of community when hit by a crisis. If you don’t have a forum at your Help Desk – this is the right time to introduce one. Make sure it’s broken down into necessary categories and is easy to navigate.

Mad*Pow

Did you know that anxiety disorder affects 40 million adults in the US? Now, coronavirus may have caused depression and anxiety to even more people, some of which could easily be your users. So, how do you tackle this issue in terms of UX?

Mad*Pow, a Boston-based UX agency, has an impressive experience developing interfaces for medical apps. Marli Mesibov, the company’s VP of Content Strategy, highlights some of that experience in this UxBooth article. Here are some takeaways that you can apply to your software project:

  • People struggling with depression and anxiety have a substantial lack of motivation. When analyzing user sessions, you may see a lot of procrastination, especially at the registration and project setup stages.
  • Your software should provide direct access to a support team. Reduce response times and make it available 24/7.
  • Learn more about depression to understand how your users may feel. You can start with this short PHQ-9 questionnaire.
  • Be empathetic and avoid aggressive, “salesman-style” language and buzzwords on your website and marketing copies.
  • Apply intrinsic motivation. Help your users find out what they want to achieve and what they want to feel when they achieve it.
  • Usability testing is more important than ever before.
  • Your software should be holistic and fit into the everyday life of your users. Think about how COVID-19 changed the lives of your users: having to work from home, not seeing family and friends, etc. The more comprehensive and holistic your software is, the more likely it will be successful.

Coronavirus Dashboard UX

When discussing the impact of coronavirus on user experience, I couldn’t ignore this fun graphic novel from the Growth Designs team. In just three minutes, it will walk your through some complex concepts of UX design and explain them through comprehensive illustrations. You should totally check it out: Coronavirus UX: How Dashboard Designs Can Impact Your Perception.

Feasibility Risk

– Whether our engineers can build what we need with the time, skills, and technology we have.
At first glance, feasibility may seem the less impacted risk. However, COVID-19 may force businesses to reassess their business processes and technology stack. In order to stay competitive and win your market share during the crisis, your team has to be more productive than ever before, despite working remotely.

Information radiators for kanban, retrospectives, spring planning, and other Agile practices are quite common in office spaces. There are numerous tools that will help you bring that online and – although not completely – compensate for the remote-work constraints. In this part, we won’t be dwelling upon the business practiсes and will get right down to the technology aspect.

Back in the 1960s, the software development community experienced a software crisis: engineers couldn’t keep up with the complexity of software they were asked to build. As computers were becoming faster and cheaper, the development process stayed stagnated and prone to errors.

Then, the NATO Software Engineering Conferences in 1968 and 1969 provided a basis for mitigating these issues by introducing component-based development. This approach helped to speed up the development by making code reusable and optimizing software to better use the resources of newer computers.

Now, almost half a century later, we’re facing a relatively similar set of challenges. The difference is that the current crisis is not caused by inefficient development practices and outdated technology stack. Quite the opposite, actually. In 2020 we have all the necessary tools and technology to get the work done. Still, we choose to put yet another sticking plaster on the problem instead of implementing a more reliable and innovative solution.

We should realize that “crisis” doesn’t have to mean “dangerous situation”, it can also signify “opportunity.” And likewise, responding to the crisis doesn’t mean “jumping the ship,” but rather “rowing against the current in full force.” Below you’ll find a simple roadmap for pushing your galley forward no matter what disasters will follow.

Assess the tech debt

Tech debt has many definitions, but its concept refers to the amount of additional work needed to complete the software project. This can mean anything, such as some module based on legacy code that hampers the entire project from further development, or unscalable data sources that don’t allow for the sufficient speed and volumes of data retrieval.

Given the current situation, it may seem that now is not the time for refactoring and writing automated tests. However, remember that if you don’t address your tech debt as soon as possible, it will only snowball, resulting in inferior performance and difficulty to update your software. With your team working remotely, you likely have less control over the quality of their work while also experiencing communication issues. Tech debt can make things much worse, sinking the productivity and wreaking havoc on your estimates. The impact will likely be felt months, if not years after you emerge from the crisis.

Thankfully, there are solid tactics and strategies that you can employ to mitigate tech debt before it turns into the absolute plague. Let’s go over a handful of steps your team can take to make sure it’s kept at an absolute minimum.

1.Review your code. In a nutshell, the more eyes see a piece of code before it’s merged into your tool, the better. Make sure all pull requests meet a standard and won’t result in technical debt in the future. Also, you can use automation solutions such as SonarQube or Coverity to measure the amount of code smell (e.g., maintainability issues) and estimate the time it’ll take to fix it.

2.Optimize your infrastructure. You could have already experienced a certain drop in the number of sessions. Now, even though you have less traffic, your servers can keep running with a minimum load but at a full cost. Make sure your infrastructure is built in a scalable way. You may have a few servers running with a small load but at a full cost. To avoid paying extra for the unused capacities, consider implementing load balancers (such as Elastic Beanstalk if you’re using AWS) to ensure the scalable setup.

3.Evaluate your data processes. Everything related to mining search engine data is complicated and expensive. One of the biggest, and snowballing, costs is data storage. Check what data you don’t need currently and move it to a cheaper (but less accessible) storage.

Scale up on DataForSEO APIs

Although it doesn’t appear that obvious at first, DataForSEO APIs will help you survive through the feasibility risks. However, building up on top of our service has some immense benefits, including lower costs, speed, easy integration, high reliability, and – what’s even more important – unmatched completeness and quality of data.

Consider an example of Collabim, an all-in-one SEO tool well-known in Central Europe. By leveraging SERP API, the Collabim’s DevOps team has managed to increase the reliability of their rank tracking solution while also diversifying its data sources. Here’s what Dalibor Jaroš, the CEO of Collabim, told us about his experience using DataForSEO:

“When mining search engine data, nothing can be as important as consistency. We have to constantly rework our algorithms and approaches to stay operational, things that seemed to work just fine the other day can turn out ineffective overnight. Our development and DevOps team used to work under constant pressure, waking up in the middle of a night to switch the loads and re-build the modules. Using DataForSEO as a backup for our primary scraping methods has put this weight off our shoulders. It took us less than three hours to implement the SERP API – and now my team can finally sleep soundly.”

We have quite a few success stories of businesses boosting their feasibility with DataForSEO APIs. Let’s cut the chase here and look through a couple of other examples:

Tiny Ranker, a keyword tracking tool with over 3,000 users, used to rely on proxies for obtaining SERP data. According to Anders Pedersen, the company’s CEO, its team “was often waking up to banned proxies.” By switching to DataForSEO, they not only increased the reliability of the solution, but also scaled up operations.
You can read the full success story here.

RankActive is an all-in-one SEO software built entirely on DataForSEO APIs. Here’s how Evgeny Vorobyov, the CTO of RankActive, explains his choice:
“We’ve chosen DataForSEO because their solutions are the most appropriate for the needs of our business. Having the most affordable APIs, they allow requesting the results of a particular task a few times. We can send up to 2000 API calls in a minute, which is very substantial. What’s more, their processing speed is far better compared to other API providers, because at DataForSEO they don’t use proxy websites in the classic sense. Instead, there are several data sources that help to diversify the reception of data and return location-specific results.”
You can read the full success story here.

Business Viability Risk

– Whether this solution will sustain profits long-term.
In the time of uncertainty, we’re all expected to cut costs and keep what we have. As a project leader, however, you must think strategically about your products and the business they support. This is a time of uncertainty that both you and your competitors are faced with. If you put the development of new features on pause, you’ll likely find yourself passively watching as companies that were not afraid to “roll the dice” take over your customer base and market share.

However, just as it’s impossible to ignore this window of opportunity, you also can’t put a blindfold over the possible viability risks.

Just a few months ago we could launch this new feature in a matter of days because we knew what our customers wanted. However, this crisis turned the game upside-down: we can no longer count on customer requests to determine what to build. The biggest challenge now is to establish a compelling value by delivering a product that solves an underlying problem. You can survive with usability or performance issues, but without the core value, you have nothing.

Do you remember Segway? Damen Kamen, an entrepreneur with a long history of innovation, designed a two-wheeled transportation device and brought it to the market with great fanfare. The product was expected to revolutionize transportation and generate over $1 billion faster than any company in history. Founders assumed they would be selling 10,000 Segways a week by the end of 2002. Fast forward in 2008, the company managed to sell just 30,000 devices.

There are several reasons why Segway failed so miserably. First of all, just like now, 2002 was marked by an economic downfall. No wonder people were not willing to spend $5,000 on a device they didn’t need and – and what’s worse – didn’t know how to use. By marketing Segway as a general-purpose product and not accessing the viability risks early on, the company failed to disrupt anything but its revenue.

In the time of uncertainty, testing business viability should be your #1 priority. At the end of the day, protecting your company’s reputation, revenue, employees, and customers was in your job description.

Let’s not dwell on the techniques and methodologies of testing hypotheses and assessing viability risks – these are the topics for another article. Besides, there are a lot of resources that cover these specific issues (“Lean Startup” by Eric Ries would be a good starter).

What we’ll do instead is focus on long-term viability and try to articulate a practical, well-rounded roadmap for achieving it.

Monitor the market

In this new reality, continuously evaluating the market developments should become your new habit, along with painstakingly washing hands and wearing a face mask outdoors.

Using the so-called “branch indicators” for establishing a warning system for market changes is a pretty standard practice among bigger enterprises, but is almost unknown among the marketing technology startups. It’s not uncommon to see executives making decisions based on the “gut” feeling with no systematic approach. You can see the results for yourself – just check their pricing pages with 90% percent discounts and financial statements with negative incremental revenue.

If you don’t have your key indicators yet, start from sketching out some general macroeconomic and industry-specific indicators. This can be anything from the Consumer Price Index and interest rates to the digital marketing industry and SaaS growth rates. These indicators won’t change overnight, so you don’t have to monitor them too often, unless you want to comfort yourself with steady numbers.

Then, you can move on to shortlisting indicators most relevant to your business. Select a few metrics that reflect the state of it. You’re probably already measuring your ARPU (average revenue per user) and MRR (monthly recurring revenue) – we’ve reviewed some of them in the “Value Risk” part. Now it’s time to assess them in conjunction with global indicators you established earlier.

Take measures

After you’ve established all the necessary market indicators, the next logical step would be preparing for their volatility. It will help you work out the “stress levels” and plan the appropriate measures. For example, if you see the digital marketing industry growing and your financial viability is stable, you’re doing everything right and don’t need to change your existing growth strategy. On the contrary, if the market is stagnating, and so is your revenue, you should introduce broad countermeasures to strengthen your viability.

In a nutshell, most of your measures will be geared towards cutting down the costs. Typical areas will include reducing administrative costs (it shouldn’t be hard to negotiate a better price for office rent now) and evaluating how the funds are allocated.

However, keep in mind that you should carefully consider what to cut off. Examine every business process, every channel, and every team before optimizing your expenses. Here are four questions to ask yourself before cutting down on a particular process:

1.Does it have a positive ROI?
Don’t forget that marketing tech and digital marketing in general are highly volatile industries, so you should be looking at ROI from the long-term perspective. And while the current crisis is changing by the hour, looking at short-term trends for calculating return on investment isn’t a good idea. You should probably go six to twelve weeks back to see a full picture.

2.Will it have a positive ROI when the markets resume?
COVID-19 has caused many businesses to shift their focus away from long-term investments towards short-term defensive measures. Take a step back and take a look at the value of the process. If it was generating profits before the crisis, it’ll likely do so after life gets back to normal.

3.Is it crucial for my business model?
This one is rather obvious. If the lagging process is an integral part of your architecture or constitutes a critical point in the development cycle, getting rid of it will have a very negative – if not devastating – effect on your business.

To better understand the place of the particular process in your business model, you should thoroughly examine its connections with other processes, artifacts, and other components of your organization’s workflow. It’s a good idea to try to map your business processes in a predefined scope using BPMN diagrams before making any decisions.

4.Is it better than alternative solutions?
Switching to a cheaper solution might save you a penny in the short term, but are you ready to accept all the trade-offs? Remember that apart from the obvious monetary value, there are also effort-based, time-based, and even psychologically-based switching costs. If switching to a seemingly cheaper solution will require significant time and effort or can potentially disrupt the normal operations of your business during a transition period – it’s probably not worth it.
Besides, you can always ask your current vendor for a discount.

If you answer with a “yes” to any of these questions, aborting the process will cost you more than keeping it put. In this case, the “do nothing” strategy is more beneficial.

Over the years, we’ve seen quite a few customers trying to switch to cheaper data sources or even bring the entire data mining process in-house. Some of them thought our solutions were overpriced while underestimating the switching cost; others assumed it’d be easy to develop a similar system internally. However, most of them came back rather sooner than later, complaining about the poor quality of our competitors’ data and hidden costs of their service. By the same token, the development of highly loaded data mining systems has proven counterproductive.

Focus on growth

Growth-focused businesses pursue opportunities in the face of uncertainty. They leverage downturn to push transformation, earn new customers, and act opportunistically to make investments that will bring profits in the long run.

“I started my first company during the financial crisis in 2008,” says Nick Chernets, the CEO of DataForSEO, “and we’ve built DataForSEO in Ukraine during the war-turned-crisis in 2014.”

While the challenges sometimes seemed unbearable, they also provided long-term benefits:

“When we started off, we had only a handful of customers paying for our API. So, we spent a whole year building our product on top of their success, carefully eliciting feedback and going above and beyond to make sure we meet their expectations. This worked out and by the end of 2016 we had 25 customers, and today we have over 750.
Apart from learning to spend frugally, these hard times taught us to see any crisis as an opportunity to push more work into the product and place the needs of our customers above all else.”

Investing in growth, however, is easier said than done because it often comes with cutting budgets to free up liquid assets. It can be hard to explain to your stakeholders when there are reports on the falling growth rate among both B2B and B2C SaaS companies. And while this is true – figures on financial statements don’t lie – this is no time for giving up. You can easily find proof that the situation is leveling out.

In fact, there are signs that the current crisis will create more opportunities than losses. At least, it is valid for marketing technology businesses – and some of them are already taking advantage of it. For example, HubSpot have just released their content management system, and here at DataForSEO we are focused on leveling up our product and keep releasing updated versions of our APIs on a regular basis.

As a progressive leader, your job is to lay out a crisis response plan to ensure the long-term viability of your business. You should be as agile and innovative as never before – your team is looking up to you. So don’t just try to tackle the crisis – lay out a solid foundation for ensuring growth when the crisis ends.

Working towards the silver lining

This pandemic is, first and foremost, a human tragedy. It’s hard not to get scared of the future when checking the news. The economic downturn seems inevitable; and although marketing automation companies won’t be hit as hard as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, it would be naive to think your business won’t be affected.

Here at DataForSEO, we are deeply concerned about what’s going to happen in the following months. But at the same time, we are optimistically looking forward to emerging from the crisis. In this article, we tried to share this optimism while also arming you with practical advice on how to level up when the world seems to be melting down.

Remember that you don’t have to make it through this challenging time alone. We are here to lend you a hand (don’t worry, it’s sanitized) 😉.

George Svash

George is the Director of Content Marketing at DataForSEO, an API suite designed to help SEO software companies and agencies gather the SEO data they need for their projects. George is a tech and marketing geek with a deep passion for Big Data and SEO. Having a broad experience in content marketing and a degree in engineering, he is particularly good at explaining complex concepts.

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