Most businesses from small restaurants to multinational corporations have had to adapt, in some way, due to the coronavirus pandemic. They may have shelved or created new products or services and been forced to offer them in a different manner. Meanwhile, customers may be restricted from these products or services or forced to purchase them in a different way. As we experience such dramatic changes, how can businesses effectively market?
It Begins with Research
Is there a customer need that isn’t being filled by these new circumstances? How do you know what new frustrations users are dealing with and how your business could address them? Are you sure you know what channels your customers are in right now and how to reach them? Customer or user research is vital right now to understand these new unknowns.
We believe Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” If we apply this wisdom to business, marketing teams and their partners should be actively participating in market research today and adjust their marketing strategy to:
- Retain Customers
- Drive Growth
- Increase Customer Satisfaction
- Gain Efficiencies
- Improve Products and Services
Sometimes businesses try to explain customers in terms of their own capabilities rather than what a customer needs. Being presumptuous, without being empathetic. Try to avoid these pitfalls and ask yourself “what do you really want to find out about them?”. This will dictate which research methods you use.
Quantitative research (surveys, website analytics) will help you understand what is happening while qualitative research is better at explaining why it’s happening. Qualitative research (interviews, usability testing) is an inexpensive way to discover new insights and quantitative research can prove if those insights or hypotheses are true. That evidence can be shown to business stakeholders to get buy-in on your newly proposed strategies.
Customer and user research in this changing business landscape will help identify their current goals, needs, pain points, motivations, concerns, etc. Listening to what people say can reveal their goals and attitudes, understanding what people do can reveal their behavior. With that said, keep in mind that what people say isn’t necessarily what they do so validating those insights is important.
Research is the key component to developing a marketing strategy and these new insights will define the tactics that will be implemented within each stage of the customer lifecycle: Awareness > Retention > Expansion > Advocacy. How can a business not be more successful marketing when they know their customers better?
Adaptability is Key for the Future
Recent events can reshape our society in lasting ways. Will people interact with government, businesses and each other in the same way when this is all over? When will it be over? Will it happen again? For every future challenge, businesses must be willing to learn how customers are affected so they can adapt their marketing. And keep these things in mind:
- Going above and beyond to help customers
- Anticipating customer needs
- Leveraging the right technology to position your business better
- Be agile with your marketing tactics and advertising spending
We’re always the optimists and think challenging times can also present opportunities. If you’re interested in learning more about these strategies and tactics, let’s talk further. The Creative Advantage can help. Let’s get Creative.
Stay safe and healthy, everyone!
P.S., If you know someone who’s business might be struggling and of need of marketing support? Please share this article with them. We would greatly appreciate it!