As social distancing and lockdowns continue to become the new “normal,” business trends, marketing strategies, consumer brand loyalty, consumer behavior, and even the way of doing businesses are going to change. Neither you nor your clients are in the same position as pre-COVID-19.
To survive this pandemic, you can choose cutting on marketing costs, but it’ll not be a wise option. Not spending on marketing now will be like cutting the lifeline that can save your business. You need to focus on anticipating what the post-pandemic world will look like and align your marketing strategies to match this new reality. The best way to cut costs is by identifying what your clients’ or customers’ need currently. After that, use your resources only to provide those essential products and services and quit spending on everything else. It will also help you in overcoming the recent cash flow challenges that you might be facing or may face during this lockdown period.
It is not just the COVID market; you also need to be prepared for the great recession that may follow it. As per Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs projections, the American GDP may fall at an annual rate of 30.1% in April to June quarter as well as causing a rise in unemployment, on average, 12.8%.
So, your marketing response, on what type of product you sell or services you provide, must match both the ‘COVID context’ and ‘Recession relevance.’ As evident from the past recession in 2008, companies tackle recession with the following actions:
- Cutting Costs in general
- Postponing Cash Outflows
- Decrease Fixed Cost/ Expenses
- Reduce the Cost of Sales
- Increase Short-term Cashflow
- Focus on Survival
- Follow Compliances
With COVID context added to the mix, you need to keep a few more actions in mind:
- Avoiding personal contact
- Avoiding the need for a large gathering nearby
- De-risking dependence on travel and transportation
- Following sanitization protocols
- Building up immunity – short term as well as long term
By taking into consideration all the above actions, create various offers for your product and services that match both the ‘COVID context’ and ‘Recession relevance.’
Now use the Product Assessment Quadrant below and map the offers you created in the appropriate quadrants.
PRODUCT ASSESSMENT QUADRANT
You can also strategize to modify your existing product or services to make them more relevant now or create a new product or service that is more relevant for the new normal.
After the product assessment, you need to map your top clients based on their financial status, which contributes to 80% of your revenue.
SEGMENTATION OF CLIENTS
With the help of the above segmentation of clients, you can personalize offers, create different pricing strategies, and credit strategy for each segment. The product and service offered in ‘Product Assessment Quadrant’ – A and B should be for all the four sections of clients. Whereas the products and services provided in quadrant C and D (which might have lower off-takes under the current situation), can be marketed to clients in segments of ‘Careful Optimism’ and ‘Expansion.’
The uncertainty of the market is constant, so you need to strategize, select, and choose clients carefully. By doing so, you can save yourself from incurring unnecessary marketing expenses and survive this phase.
Lastly, you must consider the fact that consumer behaviors are likely to change permanently. There is a steady transition to digital shopping, no-touch deliveries, in-home services, and also a change in brand preferences. COVID-19 has already eroded consumer brand preferences, as popular brands are off-shelves, consumers are choosing other brands. By the time the pandemic is over, people will have new brand preferences. Consider this as an opportunity to make your brand more visible and strategize to promote your product and services accordingly.
By now, you can understand what you can sell in the COVID-19 market. The key is to understand the market, the need of customers, understand consumer behavior, and the potential of clients. Based on that, you can adapt and strategize to market your services and products.
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