Updated: Jun 15, 2020
The coronavirus is impacting businesses in varying degrees and many business owners and leaders have been challenged to pivot and adjust their strategies.
As a marketing and brand strategist who is also a public speaker on all things marketing and branding to grow your business and reach your target consumers, I see first hand how the businesses I work with are being required to flex new muscle to remain in business.
When thinking of the fashion industry specially, COVID-19 has placed the industry at risk in several ways. The supply chain was impacted but looks to be making a recovery as factories in China re-open. Scarcity of items has also inspired domestic production of items, creating new opportunities for businesses and another avenue for staying or creating business. I for example have purchased three (3) facemasks for personal use from Pepper-home.com last week since options on Amazon are limited and also lacking fashion! Last week, I also purchased hand sanitizer from Chi.com, traditionally known for creating hair products because my local grocers were out of stock and Chi marketed to me what I needed with the added value of being moisturizing! So, marketing is still working and is still supporting retail efforts but HOW we market and WHAT we market is a big consideration factor.
Right now, it is important to pay attention to what your customers need from you and maybe not traditionally what they have wanted. Customer demand has impacted the fashion business because needs are different and many people are now focused on necessity and not desire. Can your product or service solve for a new need?
A marketing and smart business strategy that I have noticed being effective, is considering a mission based approach. Businesses can both reach new audiences and create an emotional connection with existing customers by adding a philanthropic angle to their business approach. I shared earlier how I became a consumer of 2 new brands based on how they aligned themselves with current events. I became aware of the brand and converted into a customer and now have been added into their email database for future marketing....their mission based and philanthropic alignment worked on me and I am sure working on winning other new customers as well.
If your business before now has been primarily done offline, what does your online presence look like? Before considering paid promotions and ads - I would advise allocating time to update your website and ensuring that the user experience is effortless. One bad experience on your website can lose a new potential customer forever or until your physical location re-opens….most of our businesses rather not have this happen. Focus on your check out experience...how simple is? Leverage tools like Google Analytics to see how your customers are landing on your website, how they navigate your website, what pages they visit, and mini-moments of activity before checking out or leaving your site. What do you learn from this information? What processes can you improve?
People are also spending time on social seeking connections and interactivity but do not forget to leverage digital marketing channels like email marketing. Email marketing allows you to reach people directly on their phones with a personalized message since most people are checking emails on their mobile devices even when quarantined at home.
All in all, RIGHT NOW is the best time to revisit and revise your marketing strategy and even your business strategy. A great time to update your digital presence via your website, social channels, Yelp listing, and Google my business page to name a few. Now is the time to think of other ways to diversify your revenue streams and diversify the way your business engages new and existing customers. I would also advise that business owners start planning now for the transitioning into the new normal taking into consideration how customer behavior may have shifted due to new digital expectations created by the pandemic and what all can be accomplished from the comfort of home. It is the time to Encounter Your Potential.