‘Businesses to ‘hibernate’ through coronavirus crisis’. We’ve read the headlines, watched copious news reports and together as a nation of thriving SME’s we are still trying to come to grips with the uncertainties of what the world is going to look like post COVID-19.
Aside from the government interventions that are being put into place to minimise the impact of this global crisis, the stark reality for many, if not all businesses globally, is that life as we know it, will never be the same again.
Sadly, the market place has taken a massive hit.
In just a matter of months, uncertainty, fear and panic have become the dominant market forces. Empty shelves and rising prices weave across an unsettled path of long-term sustainability as the world battles both a health and an economic crisis simultaneously.
Business for providers of essential services and products now stands at the mercy of government authorities, charged with managing the spread of COVI-19, whilst all other ‘non-essential’ providers face either forced or self-imposed ‘hibernation’ in response to declining economic forces.
None of us really know when this pandemic will end, however we have the confidence of global events of past decades to reassure us that it will.
Within our last insight, ‘Marketing through a Pandemic’, we looked at the importance of maintaining a healthy and realistic mindset for the future and acknowledged that as long as there are people with needs and wants, there will always be a market place.
How to be productive in hibernation
Preparing for how this market place is going to look and operate on the other side of COVID-19 is ultimately the key to long term survival and the goal behind utilising our ‘hibernation’ time effectively.
When living though times of uncertainty, forward movement requires preparation and flexibility. Those who have the capacity to tackle problems with a calm and strategic resolve, deploy the level of leadership needed to move beyond the immediate gloom and doom toward preparing strategies to hit the ground running as soon as the green light come on.
The NEW business as normal
What the NEW business as normal will look like, only time will truly tell.
What we do know however, is that the Coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed the way that we live (be it temporary) which in turn has already impacted the way we do business.
With repercussions expected to be felt for weeks, months and years to come, life post hibernation requires a more fluid marketing approach, one that can move with the ebbs and flow of a global pandemic.
While none of us hold a crystal ball, all of us have at our disposal a set of marketing elements that ultimately work together to guide our customers buying/consumption journey. Understanding the changing dynamic of these elements in light of the current situation will help us to anticipate the needs and expectations of our customers though these unprecedented times.
Revisiting your Marketing Mix-the 4 P’s
Empathy with our customer is ultimately our best analytical tool when it comes to long term survival.
Anticipating their needs not just for the immediate short term, but for the mid to long term, will empower us to develop a successful recovery plan and build a sustainability long term business.
While the type of questions summarised below are not an exhausting list, our goal is to initiate a strategic thought process that will enable us to make the necessary adjustments to our marketing mix.
Product / Services
• How relevant are your products in this current climate?
• Do your products fall within the ‘essential’ range of consumer-packaged goods or are you marketing a non-essential ‘luxury’ item?
• Do they still offer the same benefits to the user?
• Has there been a dramatic shift in consumer demand and expectations?
• Has there been a measurable change to your market share?
• Are there modifications required to make your products more consumable?
• Has there been a shift in the supply or manufacture of your products and or range?
• Are there newer products that will better cater to your consumer’s needs in this current climate?
• What impact has the current climate had on your product mix?
• Do you need to add additional product lines to maintain the current level of sales and profitability?
• Has there been a shift in the consumers perceived value proposition for your product in light of the current climate?
• Will you need to alter your pricing structure to remain competitive?
• Have you experienced a change in the cost of goods that will ultimately impact the price of your products?
• If required, will a price alteration be sustainable in the short to mid term during and following the COVID-19 crisis?
• Do you need to revisit your payment terms and offer more viable options?
Place / Distribution
• Have your product sales been impacted by the physical closure or a brick and mortar shop?
• Are you able to sustain the closure of physical shops during the short to midterm?
• Are your products available through direct online orders?
• Are your products supported with relevant and realistic delivery options?
• Is your return policy still relevant in the current climate?
• Are your products available through other distribution outlets?
• Do you need to extend your distribution channels to facilitate online purchases?
• Does your distribution strategy offer the consumer any advantage over your competitors?
• Have you had to suspend or alter your forecasted promotional activity in light of the current situation?
• Do you have the necessary marketing and communications resources backed by organisation leadership to navigate through the uncertainty of the forthcoming weeks and months?
• Have you been effective in communicating to your consumers (current & potential) during COVID-19?
• Does your online communications strategy require a boost?
• Is the market place requiring a different promotional mix with regards to your sales and advertising approach?
• Is your promotional strategy supportive of competitive activity?
• Are you working collaboratively with your peers to strengthen and build your specific industry?
Need help marketing through this pandemic?
At creative excellence, we understand the uncertainties that all executives and brand managers are facing at this moment and recognise the need for a calm and well informed strategic reaction.
With over two decades experience in brand and business development, we are here to help identify and implement the strategic solutions needed to keep you in business post COVID-19.
If you’d like more information about how we can assist you in helping to strengthen your marketing resolve during this season, then please take this opportunity to contact creative excellence today.
As an Integrated Marketing Strategist with over 20 years’ experience in brand marketing, roslyn whately knows what it takes to keep a brand relevant, profitable and sustainable.