When there is a downturn in the economy we are faced with making some hard decisions. The biggest decisions always revolve around how to spend money and where to save money. What are the first cuts to make and how does your business become lean while still moving forward? Decision-makers have to decide how aggressive they want to be with marketing their firms. If we invest in online marketing what are the right strategies or tactics and will we achieve our goals?
In order to make the right decisions, evaluate what has changed. Are your business objectives the same? Does your ideal client have the same problems and concerns and if so, are they still primary concerns? Is your target market moving online, or elsewhere, to find answers to their challenges?
Let’s look to history for answers. In 2009 Harvard Business Review wrote an article that segmented clients and their behaviours into 4 different groups:
Slam-On-The Brakes – the most vulnerable and hardest hit group
Pained-But-Patient – resilient and optimistic
Comfortably-Well-Off – confident in the ability to remain intact during a downturn and future downturns
Live-For-Today – not concerned and carry on as usual
Based on this knowledge it’s time to step back and assess your target clients and what segment they fall into. This will help to better understand how to reach these individuals. Are these individuals spending time in different places and have their concerns changed? Are their problems the same as before? Can you help them solve their new problems? Companies that understand their customers are able to better communicate and focus the conversation on their customers’ real problems.
Contact your clients to Understand their Challenges
Consider that your client has had to let employees go, close offices, reduce or change day to day tools or worse had to close their doors. Everyone will be dealing with a lot of change and potentially, loss. Start communications with compassion or where it applies, empathy. Call your clients and ask them how they are doing and what are their biggest challenges are, offer to help. They may not take you up on the offer today but they will appreciate that you thought of them. Come up with ways you can offer help and really listen to their current problems & priorities. The more people you talk to the more you will understand your clients and their unique challenges.
Changes to Habits of Your Clients
Today, most if not all of the world are staying at home, working, living, hiding or isolating themselves. What has changed in their daily lives and daily habits? Commute times have changed giving those still working some extra time, how are people using that time? Parents, that now have their kids at home, how are they balancing working, family and homeschooling? Those that have experienced loss, of a loved one, their job or have been forced to make major changes to where and how they live.
Individuals are spending more time on technology, watching TV for the latest news or just entertainment, social media to keep up with friends and family, phone and conferencing tools. Zoom users have increased from 10 million to over 200 million this month alone.
Now is not the time to take your “foot off the gas”, now is the time to take a close look at what you have been doing and if you should continue or develop a new strategy. Now is the time to look ahead, because the question is NOT “if” but “when” this is over how will your business evolve and be in a position to dominate and be competitive.