Remember the time before home-schooling? Before you spent most of the day looking at colleagues on your PC screen? Before you made the mistake of trying to make Sourdough? Before you wondered what to do about post-pandemic marketing?
We all know the world has changed, but what’s next is less clear. Have consumer buying patterns changed? For sure. Will they revert to the way they were before? Maybe, maybe not. But in truth, it’s a moving feast anyway. Always in a state of flux.
What we’ve learned along the way, however, is incredibly important.
Over the past 18 months, we developed a formula that you can use, right now, to increase the effectiveness of your marketing in a post-pandemic world to emerge stronger than before it all began.
Are you ready for the secret formula to success?
Well here we go:
It’s. The. Same. As. It’s. Always. Been.
Ahem, sorry to disappoint. I know we all love the idea of a silver bullet.
But it simply doesn’t exist.
As ever, you’ve got to look at the market to see what’s going on, keep on top of your competitors and make sure your Product development learnings. You’ve got to find out what your prospects value and care about, and help them discover those benefits in your offering.
Then you’ve got to craft and broadcast your messages in the right channels at the right time, and monitor the results. Test, learn and improve. Repeat.
None of that has changed at all! It’s hard, sustained work, and if you put the effort in it pays off handsomely.
Now we’re pretty sure that’s not the ‘secret’ you were hoping to hear, and so we’ve done a quick round-up about what actually HAS changed.
And there’s quite a bit to say …
How have buying habits changed during the pandemic? And more importantly, will they stay that way…?
It’s the 64 million dollar question, of course, and nobody knows for sure (yet!). But if you do some research you can get a fairly good idea of what’s going on, and use that information to inform your better marketing strategy.
13th August 2020 | McKinsey & Company.
‘Australia’s next normal: The cautious consumer.’
Now this was over a year ago, but the results of McKinsey’s survey are interesting nonetheless. 60% of Australians were very, or extremely concerned about COVIDs effect on the economy, and there was a distinct increase in ‘planned’ over ‘convenience’ purchases. Over 50% said they were buying more products on promotion, with over 40% saying they’ll look for cheaper products moving forwards.
So, promotions and lower cost products going forward, with planned trips and more research being done online.
14th October 2020 | McKinsey & Company.
‘COVID-19 has changed B2B sales forever’
Shoe leather obviously had to take a break during COVID, and B2B sales had to move online, but it appears it’s a shift the majority are pleased with. McKinsey reports over 75% of B2B buyers, and sellers, now prefer digital engagement as opposed to meeting in person.
It saves time and travel expenses, and even large purchases are being made without any face-to-face. 32% are happy to make purchases up to $500K, 12% up to $1M, and 15% happy spending more than a million bucks, without shaking a single hand.
Pretty extraordinary really, and, just in case you were wondering, 76% of all surveyed now prefer a video call with a prospect, over a phone call too.
So Zoom is here to stay, and it should be integrated into your sales processes.
10th November 2020 | CMO from IDG
‘Report: Covid has changed Australian shopper behaviour forever’
More Australians made purchases online during the pandemic, of course, but 72% also expressed a strong desire to shop ‘in-store’. Pretty significant, and nice to hear if you own bricks & mortar. And when you drill into that 72%, 28% of those say they’ll continue to shop online more too.
So a continuation of online shopping, coupled with a desire to get back into physical stores. Omnichannel retailing needs to regain its momentum.
17th February 2021 | Sydney Morning Herald
‘More sophisticated’: The pandemic has changed how Australians are spending money
Consumer research conducted by NAB reinforces the ‘cautious consumer’ suggested by McKinsey. Another trend that seems to have developed, is a renewed focus on supporting local business, with 36% saying they’re spending more locally.
Even if you run a national chain, look into local area grassroots marketing activities.
16th March 2021 | Australian Broadcasting Corporation
‘Panic buying psychology and how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed consumer behaviour’
Woolworths Group chairman, Gordon Cairns, reports people are “… visiting fewer times, shopping less and doing bigger and more planned shopping”. And 74% of the 11.5 million weekly customers in Woolworths place an importance on ‘Australian made’ products too.
This is also shown in research from the University if Adelaide, indicating 46% of consumers have placed more importance on ‘Australian origin’ than they did before the pandemic.
If you can make it locally, they’ll reward you!
So does this influence our marketing?
Well it depends on who you are, and what you’re trying to sell. Here’s a few examples.
Overall we’ll see the continued march of online shopping, supplemented by more planned, less frequent trips to the shops themselves. And we happen to know that when a customer picks up in store, 50% will make an additional purchase while they’re visiting.
So if I was developing a strategy for a retail chain, for example, I’d encourage continued investment in a delivering seamless onmi-channel experience, at the very least ensuring the online shopping options including click and collect.
And with Australian made more important than ever, and hyperlocal highly desirable too, I’d be putting that front and centre if at all possible in both product selection and marketing presence.
For much of B2B sales, especially in the large purchase categories, face-to-face has been the way it’s done, forever. Yet if people are now prepared to shell out over $1 Million just sitting in front of their screens, that’s a game changer – and I don’t use the term lightly.
I’d be advising any B2B clients to invest heavily in their content marketing, reviewing their customer journeys and making sure every single benefit of their product, or service, is communicated as effectively as possible in a self-serve, self-guided way.
By the way, Mckinsey has created a great infographic that sums it up nicely.
B2B & B2C marketing
One trend from all of the above is impossible to miss, and that’s the acceleration of digital sales. Much has been said about the digital transformation we’re all going through, and for a change, the hype is real this time.
So whatever business you’re in, if you haven’t already stepped up your digital presence and sales channels, it’s time to get a wriggle on!
Once again apologies for the lack of a silver bullet, but hopefully you get the point we were making and we’ve made up for it with some thought-provoking research and commentary.
Remember, marketing is full of charlatans and anyone who tries to sell you the magic quick fix is generally trying to make a quick buck, and you should avoid the temptation, quick smart.
Better marketing takes consistent sustained effort, but over time it builds great businesses, and the longer you stick at it the more you’ll profit from accelerating growth. Which makes your marketing even easier. A virtuous circle, dear reader, and one we can help you with if you like. Especially if you haven’t nailed your digital transformation…
All the best in the meantime, and good growing.