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R.I.C Publications – How The Educational Resource Publisher Set A New Benchmark With It’s Response To COVID-19

Is your business feeling the pressure of COVID-19? Struggling to adapt to the rapidly changing economic landscape, caught unaware, uncertain or unsure? You’re not alone in this.

However bleak or unforgiving it may seem, we must remember how fortunate we are for the fact that we find ourselves living in what can only be called the modern-era business equivalent of the golden age.

Everyday digital technology allows us to do what 20 years ago would have been deemed impossible, opening new doors and creating new opportunities in every imaginable sector.

Thanks to modern technology and the way we’ve evolved around it, a crisis that should’ve ground our economy into non-existence is simultaneously offering the chance for businesses, across all industries, to innovate, grow and expand.

For many businesses, this push towards new trends and changes was rushed and unexpected. But those that adopted quickly into a new strategic approach are now finding that they’ll not only survive the current downturn, but will emerge from it with entirely new ways of approaching business in the future.

Case Study: R.I.C Publications

A client Glide has been lucky enough to work with since 2018, R.I.C Publications is an educational resource publisher with a strong eCommerce presence, selling textbooks and learning resources based on the current 2020 Curriculum to schools and students in Australia & New Zealand

With a huge catalogue of e-books, hardcopy volumes, workbooks and teaching resources, they’ve comfortably found themselves among the most popular online providers of primary school resources in the country.

Pre-COVID-19

In the years prior to 2020, with a more stable economic landscape at their fingertips, R.I.C employed a highly diverse, strategic approach to their marketing campaigns. With nimble budgets, a strong brand, consistent demand and diverse offerings generated consistent returns over the 2018-2019 period.

Thorough planning and research guided by good decision making kept their returns consistently high, and R.I.C had the foresight to never rush blindly into any actions. This consistent approach ensured they always saw promising growth, and was a clear indicator of the organisations intelligence in making guided business decisions.

All this considered, it comes as no surprise that R.I.C were quick to capitalise on the newfound opportunities that unfolded along with COVID-19.

During COVID-19

As the economic uncertainty of COVID-19 began to settle in, R.I.C was one of the few businesses who, rather than fleeing as fast as possible, decided to double up on their marketing efforts, anticipating a rapidly increasing need for school resources in homes throughout the country.

Striving to ensure its products were widely available, at the start of March R.I.C issued two new marketing campaigns, each of which aimed to put their resources in front of the large number of Australian parents who had somewhat abruptly been given the new task of homeschooling their children.

Starting out with a small, safe budget for the ad spend, the returns were instantaneous – hitting 10x return on their spend in less than a week. Taking this in their stride, they comfortably made the call to double their initial budget within the week.

A day later they doubled it again and green-lighted the creation of 3 more campaigns. At the time of writing this on April 16th, they have a total of 7 active campaigns, and are confidently working with a budget 1500% higher than their initial investment.

The result? With a comfortable budget in the low thousands, closely monitored ads and neatly optimised campaigns, R.I.C have to-date generated revenue equal to 9.7x their investment, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.

All of this from a handful of well-timed, well-executed, well-placed ads, capitalising on well-targeted offers and a strong brand. What’s more, the ads didn’t even need to be anything special – just plain, simple, straight to the point.

R.I.C & Australia’s Changing Social Climate

So how exactly did R.I.C manage to make something out of seemingly nothing? It boils down to a few reasons. Awareness. Opportunity. Timing.

Oh, and just a little bit of luck.

R.I.C had a lot on its side when the impacts of COVID-19 first began being felt. A strong brand, an extensive range of relevant and inclusive products, affordable prices, and a presence that placed them as one of the top educational publishers in the country. But despite this, they never got complacent or overly opportunistic.

Instead, they maintained a very holistic approach to their business position, considering far more than just the ‘profitable’ opportunity. They took into account the experience of Australian parents as individuals – their newfound lifestyle, the social climate and the economic uncertainty, and they stayed true to doing right by the Australian public.

But what were the fundamental changes regarding Australia’s social climate that gave R.I.C the inspiration to act efficiently? Well, if you were to follow a step-by-step guide, it’d look a little something like this;

  • COVID-19’s status raised to pandemic level, Australia begins taking drastic measures to keep its people safe
  • Infections rise, forcing the implementation of new regulations, restrictions, closures and policies
  • Closing schools becomes a highly controversial topic, but despite a worsening situation Australia insists on keeping them open
  • In opposition to this, many parents begin withdrawing their children from school in a a decision to take their learning into the safer home environment
  • After individual defiance and thousands of withdrawn students, Australian States begin closing schools

So, given Australia’s social climate at the time as well as the growing trend of parents beginning to homeschool, it’s clear enough to see just how R.I.C, was able to pivot its business so effectively.

Students began taking their learning away from school and into their homes, where parents and students eager to take responsibility for their education began creating unprecedented levels of demand for at-home learning resources. These increasingly high levels of demand generated steady flows of new traffic seeking suitable, affordable teaching resources, and the ongoing situation lead to rapidly increasing volumes of homeschool related searches.

Combine R.I.C’s reputation as a tactful decision maker with their strong digital presence, a well-developed brand and a diverse, highly effective social media strategy, and you have yourself the perfect formula to capitalise on a very nice opportunity.

What came next was the creation of targeted Facebook adverts, new offers to intrigue first-time buyers, a suite of Google campaigns to capitalise on an already excellent brand presence, and as a result, R.I.C found themselves celebrating an incredible increase in sales volumes.

The Knock-On Effect

Will the demand for teaching resources continue growing as rapidly as they are now? Maybe, maybe not – it’s too early to tell. Who knows how long this might be going on for.

What happens when things return to normal? Even if demand were to dip, this short-term boost has done far more for R.I.C than just turn a profit.

Imagine the lasting impact of the brand growth, public awareness, authority and web traffic.

Adding countless people into their funnel, providing scores of new data, insights and loyal customers. The homeschooling trend might fade, but this incredible wave of growth will continue to open R.I.C up to exciting new opportunities.

As the global economy plummets and marketing spend grinds to a halt, this change in landscape, whilst impeding many, has opened up opportunities for nimble, innovative, adaptable eCommerce brands to occupy centre stage in a way they never have before.

Chances like those captured by R.I.C are everywhere you care to look. Remember, no matter how bleak, barren or bare things might seem – with patience, awareness, timing, and just maybe a little bit of luck – windows of opportunity will always appear for those who seek them.

Are you looking for ways to scale your brand and make the most of this revolution in online sales? Get in touch with us today.

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