Planning for the Future

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We all know that this year has seen an unprecedented start with first the floods and then this pandemic that has had a monumental impact on most industries and ultimately driven many businesses into an unwelcome shut down period.

It is unlikely that business will just return to normal once the pandemic is over and many will have to adopt a severe approach just to make it through the next couple of months. I would imagine that most will now be considering their longer-term strategy.

Although we will all be worrying about the next few months, it would be fool hardy to not start planning for our longer survival. It could be considered as bad management to not look at, at least the next two years. Strong management will ensure not only survival but to actually explode with growth.

Every industry is reliant on trade and free movement in order to maximise their sales but, when it comes to a crisis, what marketing considerations should be fed into our future plans?

This is obviously broken down into two specific sectors. The first are those areas you and your team can implement in house. The second we will look into in more detail in our next article and that is for those areas that you ultimately need help through agency support. Lets start with the in house opportunities.

In house delivery

One area that enables successful management for any business is information. Being ingrained within the business enables you to understand much of the info that is delivered by lots of different analytical and informational sources. You will also understand exactly how your audience digests this information and importantly, exactly what they will be looking for.

Using factual information to base your decisions is imperative and having a direct route to this information will benefit your strategy. Lets not forget, we are looking at the new normal here and therefore planning outside of what we have always known is vital.

In order to build this strategy then the following list of questions should help inform you. Of course, this is not a definitive list, more a starter for ten that by answering truthfully, could drive your future strategy?

Can your approach be altered to online-only?
Do we have an excess of one particular product?
Do we have a product that cannot be sold?
How do product levels differ between types/categories?
Should our service be adapted?
Should we provide an extended trial period?
What do my customers need from me now?
How can I check what my users need?
What different channels do my audience engage with?
Has this altered from before the pandemic?
Are we doing all we can to reassure customers of our status?
Is the interaction of our audience different on our site from prior to the lockdown?
How can we act on what our audience needs?
What resources do I have available internally to deliver this?
Do I need any additional insight?
Do I have the skill sets internally to act on the demands/needs of my audience?

So, whats next?

There are so many areas that must be considered when making a strategic change to your business, especially when it is a fundamental alteration to how you have delivered business prior to the pandemic. A marketing strategy isn’t a switch you can turn on or off when it suits and it isn’t aimed at delivering success in minutes. If implemented well it can be the difference between surviving a crisis, thriving after a crisis, or never making it out the other side.

The more aligned your marketing strategy is with your business goals and requirements, the more likely it is to play a part in your success. We must also not forget that your strategy should also be aligned to what your audience is looking for.

Invest time now to understand the longer-term impact of your intended strategy and what that is likely to mean. Make scenarios that scare you along with some that do not. This will inform a single best case scenario that you can then implement. As with any crisis, none of us know where this is actually going, but we can use every resource available to predict, adapt, and implement change effectively, efficiently, and importantly, with direction.

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