Maintaining relevance is something that businesses always grapple with, but it’s never been quite this much of a challenge. That’s because the COVID-19 pandemic is the rare type of occurrence that causes major shakeups at both ends of the market, simultaneously changing the game and the goals. Not only has coronavirus altered the way that businesses have to operate, but it’s also changed what customers want and need, and how they buy.
Given all of this change, it would be nearly impossible to keep the same business strategy you had in place before COVID and still be relevant today, let alone stay that way well into the future. Nearly every other business (and competitor) in the country and around the world has had to change in order to adapt to the new normal. How will your business evolve and maintain relevance during and after COVID-19?
How Has Relevancy Changed?
As we talked about in the previous blog in this series, people have coped with this pandemic by going online. If your business is not online, make it online. Regardless of what happens with the COVID-19 situation, this train has left the tracks and it has a lot of power behind it. It isn’t going to stop anytime soon.
People are ordering food online rather than going to the grocery store. Instead of going to the movies, people are ordering movies through an online streaming website. In-person purchases are down. Online purchases are up. No longer are billboards and stadium advertisements relevant because there are fewer people on highways and nobody in stadiums. Even Times Square billboards, according to NPR, that are usually filled with advertisements are now filled with messages of hope and appreciation for our healthcare workers.
These are the new norms, whether we like it or not. Your business must find a way to reach people where they are, and right now they are online. To do this you will need a solid digital marketing strategy and content that is relevant to their current questions, needs, and concerns.
Staying Relevant During COVID-19
Think about what it would be like if your company went away. Would it affect the way your customers go about their day, week, month, or year? How have your customers’ needs changed during COVID? To answer that, you need to think about how their lives have changed and how that impacts their routines and decision-making process. In other words, you need to get to know your customers and prospects all over again. Don’t look at it as a setback. This is an opportunity for a fresh start.
Once you’ve adjusted your view of who your target audience is and what they need today, you will need to shift your strategy to align with their customers’ expectations and make your business part of their new world. This could mean developing new products and processes, opening up new channels for communication, or reworking your marketing plan in a new digitally-driven direction. For most companies, digital marketing and web development are the fastest and easiest ways to keep their business on track.
“A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.”
– Henry Ford
Don’t stop marketing your business during this unprecedented time, change your approach and press onward online. Trade your billboards for social media posts and banner ads that are more likely to be seen and clicked with a pandemic at large. Pick up the telephone and make some lead generation calls while you know people are sitting by the phone instead of running around the office. A quality digital marketing strategy will map out all your online possibilities and give your business the flexibility it needs to switch gears as needed and maintain relevance during this wild ride.
Staying Relevant After COVID-19
Even once we do get back to “normal” life, don’t stop what you’ve been doing. Never look back, because your customers are only moving forward. It’s said that 21 days makes a habit…we’re now well past the 2-month mark since coronavirus came to the U.S. What routines have changed, what priorities have shifted, and what habits have been broken during this time? What new patterns and behaviors have taken their place? These are the things that will anchor the “new normal” of the post-COVID world.
After the coronavirus crisis passes or winds down, don’t stop spending money on your digital ads. Keep them up and running with updated content. Put those billboards back up on the highway when people start going back to work, with messages that integrate with what you’ve been saying online. Order more brochures and send out your mailers. Put your ads back on the radio and in stadiums for all the fans to see. Then run some more digital campaigns to jog their memory and bring them to a website where you can do some business together. The worst thing you could do is backtrack and throw away everything you’ve learned during this time.
“Don’t just raise the bar, but also raise the floor so that others can reach the bar.”
– Orlando Bowen
This could not have been better said. In order to maintain your relevance both during and after COVID-19, raise that floor. It’s going to be hard for you and your customers to reach your goals without having a high floor under your feet. The higher that floor is, the higher the bar can eventually be.
Talk to an expert at Blayzer today!