It’s time to accept the facts: we’re not “getting back to normal” as a society. Is that, however, such a negative thing?
We’ve learned a lot about ourselves as consumers, our communities, and what we really want in the previous year and a half. Many consumers learned that there are benefits to being confined at home, from purchasing online in their underwear at 2 a.m. to never needing to find downtown parking. A large majority of consumers, 87 percent, believe COVID-19 will result in long-term behavioral changes.
The new normal necessitates a shift in investment, resources, and strategies. Every day, the marketing playbook must be revised. Digital and social platforms have been important replacements throughout this time to help understand and communicate with clients.
In this post, we’ll look at how client buying habits are shifting to the new normal, how to deploy multiple marketing channels, and how to employ digital and social media to help weather the storm.
Learn about your customers’ habits
HBR published an article in 2009 called How to Market in a Downturn that looked at the marketing achievements and failures of dozens of businesses. From the 1970s to the present, the study looked at how businesses dealt with downturns. They discovered patterns in consumer behavior and company tactics that either boosted or harmed performance as a result of their research.
The insights of this article may help you improve how you interact with various client segments. According to the authors, psychological consumer segmentation should be considered, and clients should be divided into four groups:
Feels the most vulnerable and financially afflicted. This group cuts spending in all areas by eliminating, deferring, reducing, or substituting purchases. Although lower-income consumers are more likely to fall into this category, nervous higher-income consumers might also fall into this category.
Consumers Who Are Afraid But Patient
In the long run, they tend to be resilient and hopeful, but they are less optimistic about the possibilities for recovery in the short term. They economize in all areas, though not as fiercely as slam-on-the-brakes consumers. They make up the largest sector, comprising a wide range of income levels and including the vast majority of homes who have not been affected by unemployment.
Consumers who live for now
Continually goes about his business, largely indifferent with saving. Consumers in this group respond to the recession by deferring large purchases for a longer period of time.
They are typically urban and youthful, and they like to spend money on experiences rather than things (with the exception of consumer electronics). Unless they lose their jobs, they are unlikely to change their consuming habits.
Regardless of whatever consumer category they belong to, the article suggests prioritizing consumption by categorizing products and services into four categories:
- Essentials are items that are required for survival or are seen as important to one’s well-being.
- Treats are indulgences that are regarded justifiable for immediate purchase.
- Postponables are objects that are required or wanted but can be delayed.
- Expendables are thought to be wasteful or unreasonable.
Comfortably Well-Off Consumers
Feel confident in their ability to weather present and future economic storms. They are still consuming at pre-recession levels, though they are becoming more selective (and less visible) in their purchases.
People in the top 5% of the income distribution make up the majority of this group. It also includes individuals who are less well-off yet are confident in their financial security.
Change your Marketing Strategy for New Normal
A social media presence
Whether you like it or not, customers spend a lot of time on social media, therefore brands need to be there. Nearly one-third of customers spend more than five hours every day on social media. To establish which platforms are important for your business, look at where your customers interact and what your competitors are doing.
The importance of connection cannot be overstated. Maintain a healthy balance of educational, entertaining, and socially responsible content. Answer questions and keep the dialogue going on your social media platforms by being present. You’ll be rewarded for it by the platform’s algorithms.
Communication that is Convenient
Consumers want quick responses, and 68 percent of them are more likely to buy from a company that provides easy communication. They also want the process of contacting a company to be as painless as possible.
Businesses must be able to communicate quickly through the channels that their customers use. Reread the last paragraph. Make it simple for customers to acquire answers about inventory, hours, and return policies where they feel most at ease.
Chat, private messages, Google Q&A, social comments, and even reviews are all options. Customers will shop for a more responsive brand if you put your business where they are reaching out and respond quickly.
Connect Online and Offline Experiences
Customers discovered certain advantages to staying at home and purchasing online, so businesses must find a way to maintain the conveniences that customers have come to expect. Connecting the online and in-person purchasing experiences will be critical for keeping customers who liked certain modifications.
Maintain a consistent customer experience across all channels (online, via app, in-person) by implementing rewards programs, promo offers, and tailored messaging. For example, like BOPIS, provide combo shopping online, pick up in store.
Alternatively, employ online specials to increase foot traffic in-store. After all, by the end of 2020, 89 percent of customers considered saving to be a key priority.
No one can foretell what will happen in the near future, but we can manage what we can and improve our chances of surviving this crisis. The only thing we can count on is the unpredictable nature of the situation. We may still take efforts as marketers to provide stability to both our company and our clients.
Firms should take advantage of this period to strengthen their relationships with potential buyers and present customers. During downturns, purchasers’ cautious levels will be re-evaluated, affecting decision-making and budgeting.
You can help lessen the risk by increasing visibility, opening channels of communication, and building consumer trust.
Buyer attitudes and ideals will alter, and you’ll need to adjust. Allow this uncertainty to prompt you to rethink your marketing strategy and start a new chapter in your marketing playbook.