At this point in our lives, there is no doubt that COVID-19 has already changed the way we live. Everyone’s daily routine this year has been disrupted by the rampant spread of the COVID-19 pandemic on a global scale.
Government-imposed lockdowns have almost led to the collapse of so many business sectors in the country. But at the same time, it has also created a fundamental shift in consumer sentiments.
As the whole world is taking the necessary precautions to mitigate and manage the COVID-19 pandemic, we have also seen how this phenomenon altered consumer expectations, habits, and most of all, their purchasing behavior.
The pandemic has also created new challenges for businesses in terms of supply chain management, product or service fulfillment, physical stores, and even employee and customer management.
Google’s COVID-19 Playbook
Google has developed a strategy for businesses to adapt to these unprecedented times in three stages – respond, rebuild, recover.
The company noted that businesses and markets are affected differently at each stage. While some are moving faster than the others, most companies are still keen on focusing on the Respond Stage.
Google also noted that the timeline for economic recovery remains fluid. However, there are certain marketing strategies that businesses can do to act with more certainty. Companies need to learn what to prioritize while they slowly take baby steps towards recovery.
On the road to recovery, businesses need to shape their marketing strategies to meet consumer needs by utilizing the latest consumer and industry insights. It will help them know their priorities and evaluate the company’s current situation while making the right steps to switch their digital marketing strategies to meet the needs of their consumers.
A McKinsey and Company article discussed how consumer sentiment is evolving as countries around the world begin to reopen their economy. Here are several key trends that they have discovered:
TREND 1: Despite pockets of reopening, net consumer optimism has decreased, and most consumers continue to expect a long-lasting impact from COVID-19.
Global consumers still believe that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will still have an impact on their lives for the next few months. Around 70% of consumers from various nations profoundly affected by the pandemic anticipate that their daily routines need to be adjusted for the next four months or even more.
TREND 2: As incomes have declined, consumers are spending on essentials and not discretionary categories.
Global consumers will continue to feel the impact of COVID-19 on their incomes, especially for countries heavily affected by the pandemic. Overall spending on most discretionary categories will remain negative over the next few months. However, there is a promising spending outlook on several categories like restaurants, restaurant delivery, apparel, footwear, and consumer electronics today compared to last March 2020.
TREND 3: Consumers are shifting to online and digital solutions and reduced-contact channels to get goods and services.
The intent to shop online will remain positive in several countries like the US, India, South Korea, and Japan. Across all the countries surveyed, consumers were keen on adopting digital solutions and adhering to the reduced-contact procedures of accessing products and services.
TREND 4: Even though many countries have lifted stay-at-home restrictions, most consumers still feel the pull toward a “homebody economy.”
Most consumers around the globe still feel that they are not ready to go back to their regular outdoor activities. The general intent to travel, shop at malls, or attend crowded indoor events will remain low over the next few months.
TREND 5: Consumers want extra reassurance to resume day-to-day activities outside their homes.
To feel encouraged enough to engage in outdoor activities, consumers are waiting for the government to lift its restrictions and lockdowns. Consumers are expecting that safety measures will be implemented from stores, restaurants, and other business establishments.
TREND 6: Consumers also want to see an ongoing emphasis on cleaning and safety.
As consumers contemplate where to shop for their essentials, they are also taking the necessary precautions by making cleaning and sanitation a priority, such as wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.
Deluxe, a small business financial services company, noted several ways to help business prepare for a post-COVID-19 recovery:
TIP 1: Gain a degree of control for yourself and your employees.
Empowering employees with a sense of control over their work lives amidst all the uncertainties will help them function more effectively. Create a plan and execute it well. The plan should have a certain degree of flexibility among employees and include their insights as well.
TIP 2: Cut costs where possible.
There is no guarantee when the world will go back to normal. As such, it’s imperative that businesses cut costs anywhere possible. It will be challenging to make decisions that affect not just the company but also the employees. However, business owners also need to be realistic. Be honest with the sales forecast for 2020 and plan how it can bounce back after the pandemic. Businesses can start cutting back on work trips and new hires, face-to-face client meetings, and utilities.
TIP 3: Create a communication plan for customers.
Let the consumers know that your business is still here for them. Create a communication plan that is not only informative but also empathetic. Keep them informed about any changes to your business hours, products, services, and company policies. Aside from the usual updates, let your consumers know about the precautionary measures that your business is taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
TIP 4: Take your business online.
You can also stretch your employee’s skillsets by taking your business online. Find new ways to use your employees while working from home by focusing on social media posts, writing emails, or brainstorming future plans.
If the business is already online, keep the communications coming, and send emails that prompt customers to purchase their favorite items from your online shop. Since most consumers are staying at home, create attention-grabbing messaging that will match the brand’s personality.
Five Fundamental Marketing Strategies in Times of Uncertainty
1. Embrace change.
Change is inevitable, especially in times of uncertainty. Embrace change and harness its power to help the business gain a competitive advantage. Today’s digital revolution is speeding up, make the firm digital-ready, and harness the benefit of digital transformation to your business.
2. Accelerate planning.
As the business navigates towards these uncertain times, the company’s planning cycle should also be as agile as it can be. As such, it should also accelerate along with your marketing activities. Online marketing opportunities today need to be a priority, and immediate actions should be taken. A faster pace of analysis and adjustment from the usual planning cycle should be implemented during the pandemic.
3. Engage with consumers by going digital.
Digital technologies have fundamentally changed the marketing world. Educate your team on how to capitalize on digital marketing and let them understand the emerging trends, threats, and opportunities it could bring to the company. Learn how to use social media and other online platforms to your advantage.
4. Increase insight and reduce risk with research.
Research is crucial to the success of a marketing plan, especially in times of uncertainty. Good market research will provide valuable consumer insights to your target audience. It can also provide a better understanding of industry trends and concerns as businesses start to bounce back and navigate the post-COVID-19 world.
5. Don’t be afraid to take small chances.
Uncertain environments will breed more uncertainty in the hearts of your stakeholders. It might be daunting to navigate the strange road ahead, but businesses need to be more optimistic and take a chance at some point. Make small changes such as trying out a new technology or marketing service and see if it works for the long-term.
Content Hacker is here to help your business in its post-COVID-19 content marketing efforts.
It’s essential for organizations to remain ahead of the curve by embracing new marketing strategies based on the consumers’ sentiments for today’s “new normal.”
With the help of our seasoned remote workers and savvy digital marketing practitioners, we can provide expert advice for small firms on how to work remotely, and at the same time, we can also help your firm market and sell in times of crisis.
Schedule a free consultation and get in touch now!
Deluxe. (n.d.). 7 ways to move through fear and optimize your business for uncertain times. Deluxe.com. https://www.deluxe.com/blog/move-business-forward-during-uncertain-times/
A marketing guide for business adapt during coronavirus – Think with Google. (2020). Retrieved 28 June 2020, from https://bre.is/3q48CQn6
Marketing in the age of uncertainty: 5 strategies to reduce your risk. (2020). Retrieved 13 June 2020, from https://www.accountingtoday.com/opinion/marketing-in-the-age-of-uncertainty-5-strategies-to-reduce-your-risk
Revisiting Agile teams after an abrupt shift to remote. (n.d.). McKinsey & Company. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/revisiting-agile-teams-after-an-abrupt-shift-to-remote?cid=other-eml-alt-mbl-mck&hlkid=011aba345ccb43c9b6daf72ac63c4983&hctky=11979874&hdpid=e3c74ec0-4042-430c-a2b2-d64b91bf8bb9