Planning for Day 1: The Importance of Maintaining Momentum Throughout COVID-19

The lasting impact of COVID-19 is being seen throughout the AEC industry. For business owners, this is a critical time to decide what types of actions are best for your company, clients, and employees. Now that we have a broader picture of COVID-19’s longevity and its global effects, two clear questions begin to appear: 1) how do we adjust to the new normal, and 2) how do we prepare for Day 1?

We’re calling “Day 1” the first day when the business world returns to its altered status quo. Though we aren’t sure when, we do know these uncertain times will pass. The strategies we invoke and the actions we take now will dictate how poised we are for success once normalcy has returned. That said, the worst thing a business owner can do right now is nothing at all.

We recently conducted a survey asking AEC owners, principals, and marketing executives how they plan to reallocate their canceled events marketing budgets. Understandably, the majority responded saying they plan to save their marketing dollars. About a third of respondents said they weren’t sure what to do, or they plan on both saving and reinvesting


While being conservative is appealing and might make the most sense right now, completely setting marketing to the side can be detrimental. Although attending networking events is out of the question, there are measures you can implement to stay engaged with your clients.

Now more than ever, client engagement and messaging need to be prevalent and thoughtful. Strategic communications that truly connect with an audience and offer helpful solutions will not only keep you in front of your client but will demonstrate your company’s reputation and values in a time of crisis. To do this, companies may need to pivot their marketing strategies to adjust to current circumstances.

How do you pivot? Start by conducting an overall assessment of your business so you can determine its highest-value needs. Then determine the best way to take action.

  • High Demand: You may be one of the few experiencing an influx of demand for your services. In that case, make sure you are accessible where your clients are, which is online. You can’t be in a room with them, but you can organize a video chat in place of simply picking up the phone, or host a webinar to increase visibility.
  • Low Demand: If the markets you serve are being severely affected, you are likely experiencing low demand. Now is the time to reassess your business outlook and think of ways to diversify your service offerings. Can your services bring value to other markets?
  • Paused Demand: If demand is simply on pause, then you have an opportunity to bring added-value to existing clients. What can you do now to help clients on their Day-1 journey?

No matter how drastically your business’ demand has been affected by the virus, it is imperative to reinvest marketing dollars to support a diverse digital portfolio. Right now, clients want to hear advice from your businesses and expect to connect. The old marketing adage – go where your clients are – still applies to this unprecedented situation; it just so happens that all the world’s clients are online. Use the digital age to communicate and stay visible. Even if you feel like you don’t have the right message right now, stay present. Calling upon your clients to ask how you can help carries significant weight.

It may seem like the best way to weather the storm is to wait it out. In reality, it is thoughtful action and forward momentum that will ensure you can effectively accelerate your business in a post-COVID-19 economy. How will you pivot your marketing to be ready for Day 1?

If pivoting your marketing strategy is new territory, Smartegies is here to help. Listen to our lastest podcast episode, Driving Your Business & Staying Connected During COVID-19, or contact our leadership team to learn how we are helping AEC firms navigate.