COVID-19 has irrevocably changed our lives. While some aspects of our communities and our individual behaviour will revert to ‘normal’ (whatever that is) after the threat of the virus has passed (whenever that is), other aspects will not change back, and others will continue to change. The fact is, the world after COVID-19 will be different from the world before. This paper addresses some of these changes and the ramifications for marketing and business more generally.
The central proposition is that great success in the months and years ahead will require an understanding of the changes and the opportunities and challenges these create. Businesses that understand and embrace them will prosper more than those that do not. Each missive will address an action and an opportunity.
1/13 – RESET YOUR THINKING
20% is not high enough in marketing
The neocortex sets humans apart from most other animals. The human being and, therefore, the consumer, has three brains – the reptilian brain, the limbic system, and the neocortex. In general terms, the reptilian brain is responsible for automatic or intuitive decision-making; the limbic brain is responsible for feelings and emotions, and; the neocortex is responsible for cognitive activity or actual thinking. Research suggests that while the neocortex sets humans apart from other animals, as few as 20% of decisions are made in the neocortex. In other words, 80% of decisions are emotional, intuitive, or automatic. Further, this is as true in business as elsewhere.
As we come to the end of the virus crisis, we should recognise this along with the potential to stop relying on intuition and emotion and increase the percentage of decisions made in the neocortex. I would argue that any business that commits to this will stand a better chance of leveraging the enormous opportunities and address the significant challenges resulting from the new world we will be living in. The challenges arising from COVID-19, the shut down, and economic hibernation on top of the weak economic conditions that existed before the virus will continue to create huge challenges. This will create enormous opportunities for those who can identify, and address them objectively, without emotion.
Some of the opportunities will be short term, while others will be long term. One long-term opportunity will be a massive increase in the use of digital technology, particularly e-commerce. The CEO of Woolworths recently noted that the growth in e-commerce over recent months had equalled the past year. There is little chance this will abate. As a result, Woolworths has been shedding front-line staff and employing staff for backroom e-commerce rolls. Short-term opportunities will include the pent-up desire of people who have been in lockdown. They want to get out and eat, drink, and play. There will be an immediate, possibly short-term boost in restaurant, tavern, movie theatre, sporting, and other entertainment. People will find the money to get out and play.
The one dark cloud looming is research suggesting that people will initially be reluctant to return to venues as social distancing is now engrained in the Australian psyche.
Capitalising fully on these opportunities will require:
- Intensive research to identify the opportunities (and challenges)
- Methodical planning and organisation based on rational thinking
- An attitude that embraces the challenges of the new environment
We can accept the doom and gloom that many are spruiking, or we can go hard to make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead. It seems to me that focusing on doom and gloom is emotional and unproductive, while rationally identifying and addressing opportunities could be very productive, indeed.
RECOMMENDATION – treat the hibernation as a respite. Think rationally, and ignore emotion and intuition. Press hard to identify and capitalise on the huge number of post virus opportunities.
OPPORTUNITY – By the time this is over, people will have been locked away for 6 or 8 weeks. They will be champing at the bit to have some fun and to shop. Be 100% ready to help them do just that.
2/13 – RE-ENGAGE WITH CORE HUMAN NEEDS
6 basic human needs
It has been said that the 21st-century consumer has six core needs – certainty, variety, significance, connection, contribution, and growth. For many, the period in isolation has reduced their capacity to address these needs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an environment of uncertainty. Consumers have become increasingly anxious about their economic circumstances, health, mental state, and just about everything else. Give customers something that helps them experience certainty.
Being in lockdown hardly encourages variety – particularly in terms of entertainment, social experiences, food types, seeing new things. Offer your customers real variety and easy access to it.
People are dying, statistics are flashed on the screen day after day, and stories of turmoil abound. It is difficult to imagine how anyone might seem themselves as significant right now. Make every customer feel important and special.
It has been very difficult for people to connect with each other, and there is growing evidence that people are feeling distressed by the lack of human connection. Help people to connect, get together, and enjoy human contact.
Making a contribution has been easier for some than others. Some people have contributed a great deal of late, while others have had limited capacity to contribute to their community. Provide avenues for people to offer their time or money and contribute.
The capacity to read has not been impaired over recent weeks. However, many other avenues for personal growth have been distinctly curtailed. Facilitate personal growth wherever possible.
Helping people find certainty, experience variety, feel more important, connect with others, grow, and contribute present real opportunities for businesses wanting to emerge out of the current conditions more prosperous than they were before. While people have learned and gained a great deal from a range of online technologies, they will now want to move out into the real world. Smart business will focus on helping them do this and capitalise on every relaxation in restrictions imposed by governments.
RECOMMENDATION – Deliver the certainty, variety, significance, connection, growth, and capacity to contribute that most human beings crave, and most have missed in recent weeks.
OPPORTUNITY – Organise social events that bring people together. Invite them by name, welcome them at the door, offer them something unique, teach them something, and contribute to a cause.
3/13 – CREATE A CULTURE TO EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES
91% say that business culture is critical
Recent research supports previous research highlighting the importance of a strong, customer-focused business culture. One study found that 91% of managers consider a candidate’s alignment with the business culture to be critical.
The end of the pandemic lockdown seems as good a time as any to ensure that when you open your doors again, you do so with the best possible people in place. I would suggest that this is an excellent time to embrace the teachings of Jim Collins – and ‘get the right people on the bus’. If a business is to fully address the challenges ahead and capitalise on the potential opportunities, it will be important to employ, retain, and get the best out of the best people. Businesses that have let staff go have a unique opportunity. This is not the time to attract good staff – it is the time to employ the ‘right’ staff … or no-one.
Once you have employed the ‘right’ people, they can be encouraged to create the optimal culture, a culture that will enable the business to make the most of opportunities by consistently delivering the product and customer experience your primary target market wants, if not craves. It is time to become truly customer-focused and not just ‘pretend customer-focused’ like so many businesses. Putting the customer first and delivering a product and customer experience that exceeds customer expectations is more important than ever.
Woolworths recently retrenched 20,000 front-line staff. They started employing again just three weeks later. Most of the new employees were back-end staff, and many are now directly involved in online sales as Woolworths gears up to capitalise on this rapidly growing market. Woolworths reports that the e-commerce side of their business has grown more in just a month than in the previous year. Rather than declining as retail opens up – Woolworths predicts that online sales will continue to grow. They view online sales as an increasingly important part of their business – and they are employing the people who can make it work.
Predictions are that online sales will contribute 50% of all retail revenue by 2030. Our recent experience, however, suggests that the 50% level may be achieved much sooner. People who have never shopped online before have tried it during the pandemic, liked it, and embraced its advantages and convenience. My prediction is that bricks and mortar retailing will find life more difficult than ever before – particularly if they fail to offer a unique customer experience.
RECOMMENDATION – get the ‘right’ people on board and ensure that you are positioned to create a culture that can extract full value from the opportunities about to open up.
OPPORTUNITY – Fully embrace e-commerce. Leverage its continuing growth and the new audiences now using it. Recognise the growing appeal of the convenience and the reduced fear.
4/13 – UNDERSTAND AND EMBRACE THE NEW WORLD
728% growth since 2 March 2020
A 72-year-old colleague of mine who has never been a fan of technology spent 20 minutes recently extolling the virtues of Zoom, Teams, and other video conferencing platforms. A man who hates technology has become an advocate for video conferencing. When asked about his change of heart, he explained, ‘I don’t have to drive or find a park, there is no chit-chat at the start or end of the meeting. I just email an agenda, have the meeting, and then move on’. He has embraced technology to the extent that he now connects with his trainer by Zoom for his early morning exercise. Of course, my colleague is not alone. Many people are now embracing video conferencing and will keep using it for the foreseeable future.
Zoom sales have exploded with 728% growth since 2 March 2020. This is not surprising given the simplicity of the product and the low costs involved. This trend will create significant changes in our community. There may well be less travelling to meetings, fewer requirements for parking, less socialising, more working from home and more focused discussion of business. Personally, I love the way people tend to stick to the subject and remain more focused when participating in a video conference.
The question is – what opportunities will this create? Certainly, there will be growing interest in video conferencing software, and its use will become more commonplace, but what other opportunities will it create?
During recent video conferences, I have noticed a number of things of interest. ‘Backgrounds’ are becoming increasingly important, and people want to have a great backdrop behind them when. Dogs are coming to meetings more and more, as are children – both outcomes of working from home. Many people seem uncomfortable with how they look online and are buying better cameras to help them look their best. There are people struggling with technology, opening the way for training and support services. People are using presentation technologies more – leveraging the power of video conferencing. There are also growing concerns about security.
These are just some of the changes and issues that need to be understood in order to identify the opportunities resulting from this trend. Perhaps the greatest opportunity involves ways of creating a greater personal connection than currently occurs in video conferencing. Personal connection is critical in relationships, and this has not yet been adequately facilitated online.
RECOMMENDATION – Look long and hard at the opportunities related to the growing use of technology, including video conferencing technology – perhaps paying particular attention to older people.
OPPORTUNITY – Identify ways to enhance the video conferencing experience, particularly in terms of creating enhanced personal connections.
5/13 – IDENTIFY ONE BIG OPPORTUNITY AND GO AFTER IT
460,000 businesses closed in the first quarter of 2020
The economic downturn in China resulting from the Coronavirus has been substantial. 460,000 businesses closed permanently in the first quarter of this year, and the number of new businesses opening fell by 29%. There is little doubt that on a pro-rata basis – a similar thing will happen in Australia and among our various trading partners. I mention the decline in China for two reasons:
- It points to the decline that is inevitable in Australia
- It points to the softening of China’s economic power
Thousands of Australian businesses will not open after the pandemic. Many more will reopen but close soon after due to the difficult economic conditions. While this will create challenges for many – it will create opportunities for others. Law and accounting firms are planning to work on mergers and acquisitions – and business brokers are reporting opportunity growth. For some businesses, there will be merger or acquisition opportunities, and for others, there will simply be an opportunity to increase market share through aggressive marketing.
China will not be able to bail the world out as it did after the 2008 financial crisis. This will be a concern for many businesses. Notwithstanding this – the Chinese government will be stimulating its economy, and this will create opportunities. In addition, there may well be fewer Chinese businesses able to target opportunities in Australia, and there will be a growing desire for Australia to develop an enhanced level of self-sufficiency. This will create a host of opportunities. There is a complex range of changes here that will interact, and while damaging some businesses, it will create opportunities for others.
Now is a great time to start identifying opportunities for increased market share – taken from weakened competitors. Develop strategies to directly target competitor customers.
At least in the short term, it is likely that consumers will place a higher priority on ‘buy Australian’ and ‘buy local’ than over recent years. Only 19% of millennials consider this to be important, so the trend may not persist in the medium term. In the short term, being branded MADE IN AUSTRALIA or PRODUCE OF AUSTRALIA may well help. This will be encouraged by a range of factors – some constructive, some not so constructive. Constructive causes will include a desire to support the local economy and build self-sufficiency. Not so constructive causes will include the current level of irrational anti-Asian sentiment in Australia.
Now is a good time to fully leverage any and all ‘buy Australian’ sentiment and identify opportunities created by the changing circumstances in China. Opportunities may be short term, but they will exist.
It will also be important to focus on a limited number of opportunities. Select the best ones and address them as well as possible. We live in a world where half measures will produce less than optimal outcomes. Focus and address a small number of opportunities really well.
RECOMMENDATION – Look for opportunities created as other businesses close their doors – especially in terms of increasing your market share. Ensure your strategy is as focused as possible.
OPPORTUNITY – Changes in China will create short-term opportunities in Australia – as will the increased appetite for purchasing products made or produced in Australia.
6/13 – EMBRACE PANIC BUYING
76% increase in toilet roll sales
One study suggested that toilet roil sales increased by 76% in the first three weeks of the pandemic. Other categories that increased rapidly in sales in this three-week period, included:
- Household supplies – 76%
- Packaged food – 46%
- Non-food child products – 45%
- Deli-meat – 42%
- Dairy – 39%
- Beverages – 36%
- Snacks – 35%
- Personal care products
- Alcohol – 32%
- Petcare – 28%
- Tobacco – 4%
Declining categories included:
- Skincare – 4%
- School office supplies – 6%
- Automotive additives – 7%
- Electronics – 36%
In considering these findings and others like them, it is important to recognise:
- The use of most household supplies is relatively static from year to year and indeed throughout the year. Consumers who panic bought these items will now have an excess, and this will probably impact on demand for the rest of 2020. Demand in the short-term is likely to be reduced – and then even out over the year.
- Food products tend to be consumed, even when they are purchased in excess. Clearly, some foodstuffs have a short shelf life, and there is likely to be similar demand in the future as there has been in previous years. Panic buying will have little medium-term impact.
- Research in Australia has found that 70% of people are spending more during the pandemic – purchase restrictions and the closure of licenced premises. It is likely that alcohol sales will return to normal levels after the pandemic – although a celebratory spike may occur immediately after the pandemic.
These statistics have been supported by record sales by Coles and Woolworths in the March quarter and the rapid growth in online shopping during the same period.
It makes sense to me for all businesses to closely analyse each and every relevant product category to determine the likely impact of the end of the lockdown on likely sales. These trends should also inform the investment and priority placed on marketing products in various categories.
RECOMMENDATION – Consider the range of products your business markets and identify the likely trends in sales and the months that follow the pandemic. Focus resources on growth products.
OPPORTUNITY – Focusing resources on product categories that will grow after the pandemic – and especially those that are entertainment, sporting, eating, drinking and fun related.
7/13 – TAP INTO NEW HABITS
21 days to recognition and 66 to an automatic response
Folk law would have it that it takes a human being 21 days to develop a new habit. Recent research suggests that while this is a stretch – an automatic habit does develop within a 66-day period. It would seem that the 21-day myth arose from a finding in research that it takes 21 days for a person to recognise themselves in the mirror after having a limb amputated. The 66-day time frame was identified as the time it takes for a new behaviour to become automatic, and it can take a whole lot longer (perhaps as much as 254 days) to form a completely new behaviour.
Understanding what aspects of their changed behaviour (during the shutdown) consumers might recognise as ‘normal’ after 21 days, what behaviours have become automatic after 2 months and what new habits are on the way to being formed after the period in isolation. The fact is, isolated consumers have found new ways of entertaining themselves, new ways of relaxing, new ways of shutting the world out, new ways of engaging with each other, and new ways of doing many other things. Some of these new behaviours will be rejected as soon as restrictions end – but some will persist because they have become habits, and others will persist long enough to become habits. So – your job, dear reader, is to identify those behaviours that will persist and discover how these new behaviours might be fully leveraged.
Many people are currently working from home for all or part of their week now. Sociologists are suggesting that while this will reduce with the cessation of the pandemic isolation, the incidences of working from home will remain high and will not return to the much lower pandemic levels. Many people will continue to work at home more than they had previously, and this will create both challenges and opportunities. Will people begin better equipping their home office? Will they build onto their home or undertake other works to create a home office? Will people working at home require different internet services? Will there be a demand for new online tools that make working from home easier?
All of these issues are worthy of consideration.
People have been entertaining themselves at home for eight weeks or more, and while they will want to get out and about in the short term, they may well revert to new stay at home entertainment options. Netflix, Amazon, and Apple TV subscriptions have boomed over the last two months, and while the use of these platforms may reduce in the months ahead, it will be interesting to see if overall usage remains higher than it was previously. Will this mean lower numbers of eyeballs on free to air TV, and how will it affect rates of going to the cinema and the purchase of big screen TVs? While home entertaining and, in particular, outdoor entertaining has been growing for some time, will there be a further boost?
What other changes will occur? How sustained will they be? How will you tap into the potential of the sustained behaviours?
RECOMMENDATION – Identify the new behaviours that will be sustained after the end of the pandemic shutdown. Develop strategies to leverage those changes as effectively as possible.
OPPORTUNITY – There might well be a significant opportunity following on from the development of home offices and home study environments, and the delivery of services such as the internet.
8/13 – AVOID GUESSWORK – ANALYSE AND TRACK EVERYTHING
100+ platform options
I am often accused of being anti-intuition or an opponent of intuitive decision making. This is not true. I am, however, emphatically opposed to intuition applied in the absence of sound data. Intuition is best used following consideration of all relevant data. Using data as its foundation, intuition can be very effective indeed. Smart businesses gather the data required to enable intuition to be applied with confidence. Data plus experience is a powerful combination.
Unfortunately, few small businesses gather the data they require to apply intuition intelligently and with optimal effect. Few small businesspeople are prepared to set aside their ego and invest the funds to gather the data required to make optimal decisions. This is often a key reason that they remain small businesses. They refuse to gather the data frequently used by larger businesses to guide decision making. Fortunately, the cost of securing data is not as expensive as many believe. There are now more than 100 marketing automation software platforms available to gather data – and most are eminently affordable.
Marketing automation has the potential to reduce marketing overheads by 12.2% and increase productivity by 14.5%. It also has the potential to significantly increase sales and overall return on investment by providing superior data that can be used to make superior decisions. Researchers found that 91% of marketers believe that marketing automation is very important in terms of driving the success of marketing campaigns. Some 63% of marketers intend to increase their investment in marketing automation in 2020.
Marketing automation platforms can address:
- Welcome/reminder/anniversary emails
- Relationship management
- Re-engagement campaigns
- Surveys and feedback
- Launches, updates and follow-ups
- Digital advertising management
- Social media management
- Website management
While this is partly driven by a need to cut costs by automating processes, it is more important in terms of obtaining the data required to facilitate superior decision making and, therefore, overall performance. There has never been a better time to commit to using data to drive decision making with a view to capitalising fully on the opportunities that are unfolding as a result of the pandemic. Not all the opportunities lie in the market or with consumers. Some opportunities, such as embracing marketing automation, lie with the business and the capacity to restart a business with superior practices.
RECOMMENDATION – Place the highest priority on data and apply your experience and intuition to interpret it, rather than making guesses in the absence of data. Restart smarter!
OPPORTUNITY – research marketing automation platforms and identify one or two (at first) that can streamline your marketing processes and provide data that facilitates superior decision making.
9/13 – STOP BULLSHITTING AND START DIFFERENTIATING TANGIBLY
73% of brand loyalty linked to customer service
Don’t be under any illusions, when the pandemic shutdown is over, and people return to their normal lives, two things will happen:
- Businesses will re-engage aggressively – pushing hard for market share
- Bricks and mortar retailing will be harder than ever
Point one highlights the importance of differentiating your business from the competition in a way that makes it more appealing to your target audience. There is an inverse relationship between the degree of relevant differentiation and investment in marketing. That is, the better differentiated a business or product (provided the differentiation addresses what is most important to consumers) the less that business will need to spend on marketing and communication. Differentiation is central to securing higher margins. There is also increasing research to suggest that differentiation is only truly effective when it is tangible. Vague protestations do not deliver effective differentiation.
Being better, the best, the highest quality, the best service and/or the best value means absolutely NOTHING and delivers nothing in the way of effective differentiation. In fact, it detracts from credibility. How effectively is your business differentiated?
Point two highlights the importance of customer service for offline businesses and the potential for using the customer experience as a point of differentiation. If it is not possible to differentiate the product – look at differentiating the customer experience. If you are a bricks and mortar business, customer experience is often the only tool you have to use to get purchasers offline and into your store. This is where businesses like Myer fall down – where the customer experience is forgettable. If your business is online, customer experience is also important, particularly in terms of delivery. Approximately 60% of people abandon shopping carts – and poor delivery time is a major reason.
So, what is distinctive about your customer experience? What makes your customer experience any better or different compared with your competitors? Other than saying you offer better service (which everyone says, and no one believes) what are you doing to communicate a superior customer experience?
RECOMMENDATION – Differentiate – differentiate, and then differentiate some more. STOP telling people you are better and start creating a point of difference that is real and meaningful.
OPPORTUNITY – offer a customer experience that is second to none. If you are offline – engage each customer in a way that attracts them back, and if you are online – deliver in 3 – 5 days – always.
10/13 – MAXIMISE CONVERSION RATES BEFORE ADVERTISING
52% of businesses use landing pages to maximise conversion rates
If you convert 2 enquiries in every 10 at an average sale of $1000, every 10 enquiries deliver $2000 in revenue. If you increase that conversion rate to 3 in 10, your revenue is boosted by 50% to $3,000. This is simple arithmetic. The equation gets interesting when we consider the costs involved in attracting that 50% increase in revenue. If the 50% increase in sales comes from better conversion rates as suggested, there should be little, if any additional cost. If, however, the 50% is achieved by increasing the number of enquiries to 15,000 the costs can be substantial.
Further, if you get the conversion rate right before the advertising begins, the return on investment will increase. In some sectors, due to the economic climate the reduced spending power of the target audience (possibly out of work or with a lower income), it will be essential to drive as sales as aggressively as possible with the least possible expenditure. Establishing systems and processes that maximise conversion rates is a requirement for all businesses seeking to leverage the lifting of virus regulations.
So, what is your conversion rate? What is your strategy for maximising that rate?
Not surprisingly, this issue is as important online as it is offline. One strategy being used by some 52% of marketers in 2020 involves establishing campaign-specific landing pages. Landing pages can be as effective for online sales as they are for offline sales. Landing pages enable the provision of subject-specific information designed to facilitate conversions. Other strategies for increasing conversion rates include:
- Employing the right people to front customers or address enquiries and ensuring they understand the market well, have empathy, and engage fully with the customer;
- Offering guarantees, extended guarantees, or one or more of a range of incentives designed to add value;
- In the online environment, using video and interactive content to engage the enquirer and begin the process of establishing a relationship;
- Providing information in an easy to consume format to make the purchase decision as easy as possible;
- Having a clear and readily understood value proposition and tangible competitive advantage that can be articulated and demonstrated.
Regarding the final point – there is growing merit in using food miles or distance travelled as a competitive advantage, particularly when marketing of food. While ‘BUY AUSTRALIAN’ has different levels of appeal in different markets (only 19% of millennials respond to it), ‘BUY LOCAL’ has considerable appeal. Consumers prefer to buy products that have not travelled far – on the basis that it is better for the environment and make producer or manufacturer accountability easier. This is consistent with the growing trend of producers going directly to the end consumer – online – thereby avoiding distributors and retailers.
RECOMMENDATION – Place the highest possible priority on maximising conversion rates before addressing advertising. Employ strategies that will maximise online and offline conversion rates.
OPPORTUNITY – If you can, leverage the growing trend towards products and foodstuffs, in particular going directly from the producer or manufacturer and avoiding retailers altogether.
11/13 – GO AFTER THE LOW HANGING FRUIT
82% view retention as cheaper than acquisition
As the doors reopen after the COVID19 shutdown, the highest possible priority should be placed on past customers and attracting them back to the business. On average a repeat customer spends 67% more in months 31 – 36 than in months 0 – 6 of a business relationship. In addition – 82% of marketers view retaining existing customers is cheaper than attracting new ones. So, before you start spending a bomb on advertising to attract new customers, look long and hard at the opportunities for encouraging past customers to come back.
For businesses needing to kickstart revenue, there is possibly no better way than to target past customers. The science suggests that there might also be no cheaper way of boosting revenue. The stages for doing this might be as follows:
- Precisely identify the market to be targeted
- Precisely identify the primary reason for past purchase
- Identify the optimal modes of communication
- Craft the optimal message focusing on the primary reason for past purchases
- Execute, monitor, and fine tune
In terms of communication, lower cost methods to be considered will include:
- Direct mail (email or snail mail)
- Content marketing
- Well targeted digital advertising
Traditional advertising is also an option, but possibly not the most cost-effective option. The smart option might have been and might still be – establishing a brand community – something 61% of US corporations have done or are doing. Brand communities can be a very cost effective way of reigniting relationships with past customers.
There is an increasing body of research suggesting that many consumers will not flood back into the market after restrictions on movement are removed. This may be partially due to high unemployment and a shortage of disposable income. It might also be due to a realisation on the part of many consumers after a period of isolation that they can do with less. What ever the cause, and reduction in expenditure only increases the importance of targeting past customers – people familiar with your offering.
RECOMMENDATION – Establish a brand community, or if you already have one – reignite it – targeting past customers with highly customised messaging and a personalised strategy
OPPORTUNITY – Recognise that some consumers will have less money and other will have learned to live with less and develop strategies to ensure yours is a priority purchase for past customers
12/13 – LET THE CUSTOMER DECIDE HOW THEY WANT TO BUY
90% higher customer retention rates from omnichannel marketing
Perhaps the dumbest thing I see marketers do is to tell customers how they can make a purchase. Sadly, they believe they dictate the terms of business. While the marketer might dictate the product to be sold and the price at which it is sold, they should allow the customer to decide how they will buy and when they will buy. The marketer should do everything in their power to make it as easy as possible for the consumer to buy. In 2020, businesses should be involved in omnichannel marketing. Indeed, omnichannel marketing has been found to increase customer retention by 90%.
For any retailer not involved in omnichannel retailing, this represents a significant channel – particularly in a world that is far more comfortable with online shopping than the world prior to the COVID-19 crisis. I am ] of the opinion that many retailers will not survive the recent shutdown. Those that do will have no choice but to market as aggressively online as they do offline. This is all part of making it as easy as possible for customers to buy.
Every business preparing to enter the post-pandemic world needs to thoroughly review the customer journey and identify the points where the purchase process can be made easier. The customer journey needs to be carefully mapped. Every customer touchpoint must be reviewed in detail – to identify all changes that can be made to make the purchase process easier. It needs to be as easy as possible for customers to spend money. Barriers that might be addressed include:
- Making all core information readily available
- Points of availability (online and offline)
- Ensuring adequate stock levels
- Ensuring delivery within 3 days
- Taking all credit cards and payment methods
- Eliminating surcharges and fees
- Eliminating the need for an account – to purchase
- Not charging for delivery and agreeing a specific time
Whatever the impediment is – eliminate it.
RECOMMENDATION – Document the customer journey and identify all touchpoints. Then, eliminate every potential barrier to purchase and make purchase as easy as possible.
OPPORTUNITY – Engage in omnichannel retailing – or business. Appreciate that the customer will ultimately determine if, and how, they purchase a product.
13/13 – AUTOMATE YOUR MARKETING
91% say automation is “very important” to online marketing
There is no doubt in my mind that few things should be higher on the agenda of marketers as we come out of the pandemic shutdown that marketing automation. Marketing automation is the key to:
- Reducing marketing costs and increasing productivity
- Increasing revenue and reducing waste through superior decision making
This is why – 91% of marketers believe automation is “very important” to the overall success of their online marketing activities and 58% of businesses are intend to increase their user of marketing automation in 2020 – with expenditure estimated to increase by some 63%.
Marketing automation involves:
- Identifying all repetitive and complex marketing processes
- Engaging the software required to automate these processes
- Identifying the data available that might facilitate superior decision making
- Engaging the software required to consolidate, analyse and present the data
In 2020, there are more that 100% marketing automation platforms on the market and they good news is – most are very economical, and many enable the usage and therefore costs to be tailored to the needs and size of the business. Marketing automation is as important offline as it is online – but that said, the world is becoming increasingly online – this increasing the opportunities for using marketing automation.
Highlighted by the boom in video conferencing and e-commerce, the world is becoming increasingly digital, and the pace of this transformation has occurred faster over the past two months that at any stage in history. What is more all indications are that even with the end of the shutdown, the utilisation of digital technology will continue to grow. The genie is out of the bottle and is never going back. This will make automated tracking of customers easier than ever.
Processes that can be automated include:
- Email and lead nurturing campaigns
- Web based and social media campaigns
- Digital marketing and SEO marketing
Analyses that can be automated include:
- Customer engagement
- Product development
- Campaign testing and fine turning
More and more of marketing will become automated in the months and years ahead. The choice is to leverage this of fall behind in both performance and productivity
RECOMMENDATION – Embrace marketing automation, automating as many processes and as much of the data gathering and analysis as possible to cut costs and increase revenue
OPPORTUNITY – Leverage fully the fact that the whole world is becoming increasing digitised at an unprecedented rate. There is more data than ever before and