May 29 2020
The on-going COVID-19 crisis has engulfed the world of business in a crisis whose arrival no one would have foreseen. As production takes heavy tolls, advertising is pushed to the backburner, employees get cooped up in their homes - it is a tough time to lead a business. And once you count the constant state of panic that this pandemic has pushed consumers into, the situation looks even bleaker.
But as the old adage goes ‘crisis is the mother of all inventions.’ Thus, businesses that will come out unscathed or with relatively less damage from this crisis, are those who will have a clear-cut plan.
Here are a few steps that enterprises should imbibe in their marketing and business strategies to be ready for a world post-COVID-19.
Assure your people first. Productivity will follow.
Businesses aren’t just made of leaders at the top of the decision-making pyramid. Its foundations are built on the bricks of labor, hard work and ambitions of its employees. Across sections, they are the ones who drive the company’s vision forward. And ensuring that one’s employees are safe, secured and on-board for the journey post-Covid-19 is a key task for all business strategy heads. Advocate for distanced and digitally-connected working till the threat of spread ends, ensure their health and welfare are taken care of, engage with them to understand and cater to their needs - organizational chiefs will have to ensure that its people are cared for first.
Consumers know what they want. Do you?
One of the major setbacks that COVID-19 posed to businesses, is that it distanced its consumers. As the disease tightened its grip across the world, the people who were once active consumers now had bigger battles to face. As a result, consumer demands for certain sections like luxury and lifestyle products, fashion, e-commerce shopping, and others took a steep fall. While products like online food delivery, medicines saw an upsurge that was driven not by choice but necessity. In these dire situations, brands that pushed their products too aggressively got called out by consumers. Now is the time more than ever to listen closely as to what the consumer has to say. Developing empathy, engagement, support and an acute observation-led understanding of the consumer has to be a prime objective for enterprises for a market post-Covid-19.
Operational snags reduced revenue - Let Strategy and Marketing be prepared
Once the doors to businesses open after COVID-19, it would take a while for them to recuperate. Closed factories, major dips in production, reduced staff in many cases, assessing the state of liquidity and consumers not warming up anymore - there will be a long list of challenges lined up for businesses to tackle as soon as they open. How does a business manage consumer expectations, tackle its production woes and make its way out of a financial lull? Enterprises need to equip their marketing and business strategies to come up with solutions to those.
Digital is the way ahead
With employees working from home, planning projects online became a necessity. And it led to more effective schedules, quicker feedback, and more agile processes. Digital got the job done that took hours of meeting physically and rounds of planning earlier. Digital platforms also became the only way to reach out to consumers successfully. User interaction went up, engagement became more fruitful and led by data, digital-powered organizations were the only ones who noted some positives in these tough times. And post COVID-19, lessons learnt from digital empowerment should be continued by businesses, both internally and externally. Thus, educating employees in the latest digital lessons, helping them to pick up e-learning courses suited to their roles or using digital data to understand its consumers and serve them better - digital power is the way ahead in delivering productive businesses.
Executives at the helm of enterprises need to keep in mind that it would take a while to see their organization returning to its previous financial health. With a set of clinical business strategies and marketing to amplify them, they can slowly heal from the setback brought over by COVID-19 and eventually witness the results they seek.
Pradeip Agarwal, VP-Marketing, Stratbeans.
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