Pandemic Stop Gaps That Work - Will They Be The New Normal?
The last 12 months have been all about rapid change and adaptability. New working practices have been developed and the way we interact with customers has changed dramatically. Not only is there a much lower return on investment for traditional advertising methods such as billboards and public transport ads due to a lower footfall, people are also ignoring postal adverts more than ever, not wanting to touch or handle potentially contaminated material. Print media has been in decline for many years already, but with fewer people going to the shops for a daily paper this has seen a significant decline of the print advertising market.
Digital marketing has filled this gaps in marketing budgets and with the majority of people shopping online it's easy to see how the shorter customer journey from research to purchase, all conducted from home, means digital marketing is the way forward.When things return to something resembling normality will advertising budgets flow back to the channels in decline? We don't think so, because after so many months of avoiding public places and public transport people may be out of the habit of looking at these sorts of ads. Sure, there are some industries, like the travel and fitness industries, who can continue to do well with these channels (aspirational items, like a holiday or a better body, are the types of things people will consume when commuting as a sort of mental break from the hum drum of daily life) but many industries will struggle to get attention this way.
Perhaps your business switched to a click and collect model, or you've been able to conduct presentations, demonstrations and pitches via video?These things are set to stay, because the convenience aspect to the buyer is invaluable. So much time can be saved using click and collect or video calls that it will be hard to convince people to return in person for these things, especially when they have got used to having more time for themselves. Things like a new kitchen or bathroom will still involve a trip to a showroom to check out the tactile nature of the product, but much of the product demonstration work can be done online. Sending material samples to customers can also remove some of the need to make a physical visit to a showroom, so there are still more ways of making the process even more convenient for the customer.
If you've had a lot of staff working from home this might be something that continues in the future too. Many companies operating in digital industries don't need a physical base, and with the option of office rental on an hourly or daily basis you can still meet with clients in person when needed, without having the constant overheads associated with a physical base. Not everyone has enjoyed working from home but for some people this has made working much easier and more accessible, so you might consider offering a work-from-home package or split package for new hires. This removes some of the barriers for disabled people in the workplace, diversifying your workforce and offering employment opportunities to people who would otherwise struggle to find paid work.
Have you had to quickly get an online sales channel set up? This is likely to be continued into the future, whether it's an ordering system for people to come and pick up food from a country pub, or a Facebook, Instagram or eBay shop for people to order handmade items. Even when people are allowed to go to the pub for a meal with friends, there are likely to be people who loved the idea of getting freshly cooked food to eat at home, and this option is worth keeping available.
When we finally get back to an unrestricted life, we need to be sure we're listening to our customers and offering them the benefits of some of these pandemic necessities which they now expect as standard.
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