Dr. Debbie Qaqish became an addict while sheltering at home early on in the coronavirus pandemic. Her drug of choice was TikTok, and it inspired her in some surprising ways.
Qaqish, a Partner and Chief Strategy Officer at The Pedowitz Group, said before the pandemic she was accustomed to go, go, go, traveling all the time, and then all of a sudden—nothing.
“Like many of us, I turned to my phone for some stress relief and entertainment,” she told her audience at the B2B Sales & Marketing Exchange in October. “My daughter told me to try looking at TikTok, that I would enjoy it. I was on it for three hours the first time I did.”
Inspiring TikTok Encounters
While TikTok might not seem to offer much in the way of marketing and sales science—15-second user-generated videos—Qaqish said it helped her get out of rut by exposing her mind to a stream of endlessly creative content that motivated her to seek out more. She especially liked artistic types who chronicled their journeys from job loss to dream job.
“These were people who worked during the day and did their art at night,” Qaqish said. “They were passionate about that art but could not give up that full-time job. So, when they lost their jobs, they really saw it as an opportunity. Their first reaction was fear, but then they recognized the downtime was an opportunity to reimagine what their life could be like. They reactivated their lives.”
Watching this prompted Qaqish to design this model for marketing and sales reactivation for what she calls “the next normal”:
React is what most of us did when the weight of the pandemic sunk in and we succumbed to our fear of change. Recognize is admitting that business as usually will not return. It’s gone. Move forward by re-imagining what it means to be a sale person or a marketer. Then reactivate to use this period of pause to make it happen.
Qaqish went further to turn her inspiration into three takeaways for aligning revenue strategy to the realities of the next normal.
1. What you think doesn’t matter. Action matters.
There’s a big opportunity now for sales and marketing reimagination, because people are spending 50% to 70% more time communicating by screen. Don’t overthink how to respond to this change. Think about all the things you’ve always wished you could do and be together, and then take action to make it happen in this new environment.
2. Boredom is a secret gift.
Life is going to be comparatively boring for the foreseeable future. Take advantage of that boredom by becoming more creative. Qaqish quoted studies showing that when people are bored, they’re more likely to be more engaged in a creative activity that’s offered to them.
Need proof? Just take a look at TikTok. It had 800 million users in 2019 and is likely to have more than 1 billion by the end of this year. In fact, Qaqish thinks lots of new businesses and new businesses models will roll out in 2021 from the boredom period in 2020.
3. Get authentic or prepare to lose.
Nobody wants to interact with a talking head. They want to know the people they’re working with are trustworthy and treat everyone else with respect. As social media norms have evolved and shaped the meaning of relationships, authenticity is no longer an extra, it’s an expectation.
TikTok reflects this. It’s not overly orchestrated, and that’s what people are buying into.
Qaqish’s final observation is that she hopes people embrace downtime more now that they’ve experienced the benefits, which we all need as humans but somehow forgot before the pandemic.
“The days of us running around with our hair on fire are over,” she says. “Do fewer things, but do those things better.”
Are you new to TikTok? Alicia Esposito recently shared some of her favorite marketing and branding TikTok accounts to keep an eye on. For more B2BSMX session recaps, be sure to check out Planning Around Uncertainty, an interactive experience to help you prepare for 2021.