As society’s values are shifting after the effects of COVID-19, how can you ensure that what you provide still resonates with your target audience?
“Business will resume. But things will never be the way they were before. Each of us is changed. Our businesses are changed.” – Forbes, May 2020.
While the interruptions of the pandemic have changed the trading environment, there is still an opportunity to secure new business. Assessing what has changed and how you can adapt is key to this.
What has changed?
The pandemic has disrupted and changed how people make decisions. For example, where people once made decisions out of habit, the context in which they made them has shifted, as have their priorities.
Therefore, the needs and desires of your clients and the problems they want to solve will also have changed. So, there are a few considerations to make:
- What problems are your clients now trying to solve?
- What are your clients buying?
- Is what you are selling still important?
- Do you need to reposition the benefits of what you offer to better suit the current climate?
It is also worth considering whether these changes are likely to be permanent, or if we are in a transition period where things will slowly go back to normal.
In contrast to the view in Forbes that things will never be the same, Marketing Week report: “Predictions of fundamental change after Covid-19 are driven by the biased perspectives of those making them – in reality, most things will go back to how they were.”
With these points in mind, it is helpful to reassess our business environment and adjust our offerings accordingly.
Gathering market intelligence to amend your proposition
How can you find out how decision making is evolving so that you can amend your proposition accordingly?
A good starting point is to go back to your SWOT and see what’s changed and needs adapting:
- Have your strengths and weaknesses changed?
- What are your new threats and opportunities?
Next, you need to carry out some research. There are several ways to collect information, the first being primary research (i.e. any research you gather yourself, like surveys, interviews and observations). Then there is secondary research, which involves collecting data that is already out there. Secondary research can be useful; however, the information may not be up to date or specific enough.
The key difference between B2B and B2C organizations is the depth, quality and strength of their client relationships. B2B organizations have strategic and collaborative relationships, which can be advantageous for primary research because they can gain deeper insights from their clients.
Here are some ways in which you can collect information from your customers:
- Surveys/ Questionnaires: suitable for large numbers, but not very in-depth
- Interviews: gain deeper insights through a conversation. They will share information more openly, and you can probe for further information
- Focus groups: potentially reposition your offering and ask for their thoughts, and they will bounce ideas off each other
How will your message be perceived in this new environment?
Talk to your clients to help shape your new proposition and better understand their concerns – it may also present additional opportunities.
Once you’ve sorted out your offering, your attention needs to turn to marketing it – and how your customers will perceive your marketing message. For help with this, see our other articles, How to Communicate with Customers During Uncertain Times and BounceBack Marketing – it’s about the timing.