Over the last couple of months, I've been drafting several marketing plans which require a lot of research. This year's Marketing Plans are a bit different but share one common feature which impacts us all - COVID19. If you're in the midst of your 2021 planning, don't forget to include considerations around COVID19. I hope you find this article helpful as a starting point for those discussions.
What's that, you ask? COVID19, of course!
Even if you already have a Marketing Plan, you know as well as I do that those plans need to be revisited and updated when significant events occur that impact your business. In this case, every business and every industry needs to consider and research how COVID19 may both temporarily and permanently impact their business, both directly and indirectly. I don't know of any business that did not see significant changes due to COVID19.
How do you start?
Ask yourself and your team these questions:
Has COVID19 impacted the way my customers' shop (i.e., shopping behaviors)? If so, how?
If it has impacted your customers' shopping behaviors, will those behaviors return to "normal" once COVID19 fears have subsided (whenever that is)?
If those behaviors will NOT return to pre-covid behaviors, then are you ready to adjust for those changes in your business? Have you factored these behaviors into your selling sales funnel cycle?
Has COVID19 created new opportunities for your business and if so, will those opportunities disappear once "life returns to normal"?
For some COVID19 created a surge of growth for their business such as in home renovations and related activities causing many to hire and expand operations. Once people can get back to travel and other activities, that growth will probably slow down. Have you accounted for that decline in business as well? In addition, this sudden growth surge has created new customers for many. How do you retain them as customers, especially if they return to old shopping habits? You have a small window of opportunity to solidify those new relationships.
How has COVID19 impacted your industry as a whole? Will it impact any regulations or guidelines?
Many small businesses obtained loans to get through the shutdown and slow down of business. These loans will become due around the same time in 2021. Will that impact your customers (who may also be business owners)?
One example of how COVID19 has changed businesses is in the case of professional services. Many law firms, accounting firms and financial services firms were already well on their way to remote working but many still preferred the prestige of a brick and mortar office and requiring all of their team to be onsite. This has dramatically changed due to COVID and in many cases, these changes will be permanent. I do believe some will return to the office but perhaps the requirement to be there every day may not be.
Others will make it a permanent change and only gather throughout the year when necessary. I've seen smaller firms switch to more of a concierge-style delivery of their services, going to clients' homes like they did many years ago. I've also seen it impact their delivery of services - forcing many to learn new technologies (and struggling all the way through it). This has spurred virtual assistance needs as well as providing a new opportunity for growth in that area.
As you can see, one event has had a trickle-down impact on the bottom line and impacted not just their branding (no more brick and mortar prestige) but forced many into adopting technologies they hesitated to adopt before.
Lastly, it's wise to learn from events such as these.
If there were another shutdown or event such as this, what would you do differently? The chances are we may see another shut down. Will you be better prepared the second time around?
I would love your input and feedback. Please share your comments.