There is no mistaking the profound impact that the novel coronavirus has had on the economy and the numerous small businesses that are struggling to make it. Many industries and the marketing that propels them forward have slowed to a mere trickle of their previous power. Consumers are timid and more cautious with their spending than they were only a few months ago (though it certainly feels like a lifetime).
Regardless of the state of the marketplace, there is a need to continue to do the best business that you can. It is more essential than ever before to have a strong marketing presence to reach potential customers and to let them know you’re there while they are practicing social distancing. Creative marketing can be the key to showing how you’ve adapted to the challenges presented in today’s world.
Part of being prepared is doing your research and understanding where and how you can make the biggest impact in this novel and quickly shifting marketplace. COVID-19 may be altering the way normal business is done, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to still be successful!
Marketing analysts have a lot of responsibility for gathering and analyzing the data associated with consumer desires and purchasing habits. Many larger companies even require their marketing analysis professionals to have an advanced degree in the field. All sorts of consumer data and statistics go into the analysis:
- Buying habits
- Preferred purchasing medium (ie online or in-store)
- Average advertising method response
Using this data to your advantage is an integral part of successful marketing campaigns regardless of the changing waves in the marketplace. One of the best ways to get started with market research, especially if you are a small business, is to ask yourself questions: Who are your target customers? Why do they buy from you? How do they buy from you?
Another aspect of market research and analysis is understanding what data your competitors are gathering and how they are using it to engage customers. Obtaining all of this data can help you determine who you should be focused on as a target audience and how best to reach them. It can also help you to identify new potential customers and work towards engaging them in the right way to make conversions.
Be Ready to Adapt
The basics are great, and they will help you through most of the hurdles you are likely to come across when marketing for your small business. But this is a bit different, isn’t it? We’re in a pandemic and the economy has been in a tailspin for a few weeks now. Staying relevant is going to take a bit more creativity.
In a way, this is almost like starting from square one. You have to weigh the costs and benefits of doing a market analysis in order to understand your changing customer base and preferences. Some changes in preferences and consumer habits may be somewhat obvious. For example, more people are choosing to shop online or do curbside grocery pick up than ever before. Making sure your business is capable of meeting these demands is particularly relevant to survival.
Just because your small business isn’t directly related to things such as groceries doesn’t mean you’re going to be hung out to dry. Many Americans are looking for small projects and things to do around the house to keep themselves entertained while they’re home. This means there is a great deal of market potential in mechanics, home improvement, board games, books, exercise essentials, and so on. Marketing these types of products and adjusting to how customers want to shop (curbside pickup, online ordering, and personal protective gear within stores) can go a long way.
Once you’ve implemented your new and adapted marketing techniques to reach out to customers during these uncertain times, you’re done, right? NO! The followup steps are just as essential. How else are you going to know if your new social media marketing strategy is working? How are you going to determine which strategies are working the best and worth continuing to pump more money into?
Many larger companies use tools such as Google Analytics to help them understand trends and how certain marketing strategies are working for them in the long run. Tools such as these can help marketers understand the success of a new strategy in real-time. They can quickly identify a successful or failing strategy and direct money into the correct direction before too many profits are lost.
With the volatile markets are quickly changing customer preferences that are presenting themselves as part of the response to COVID-19. This can be a real game-changer. Measuring your successes can identify if you are reaching your target audience in the right way and allow you to make small adjustments to increase responses.
Markets are changing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Marketing analytics need to be adapted to take advantage of the changes in people’s buying habits. You can monitor the impact of the adaptations you are making by using analytical tools to measure success in real-time.
By: Indiana Lee, BOSS contributor