Small Business Marketing Strategies in the New Reality
Businesses with well-established marketing strategies had to change their course in order to survive the global outbreak, changes many thought, were temporary in nature. Companies went into these iterations of their core marketing strategies thinking that everything would eventually come back to normal or “pre-covid times” as we now call it.
But what really happened was that the old normal made way for a new order of marketing, one that is here to stay. Let’s look at some aspects that changed forever in the world of business marketing strategies, mainly thanks to the pandemic:
Stepping Up to Your Brand Values
The first step in marketing is clarifying your brand values, making sure to answer the key question your customers are asking “what does your business stand for?”. For a brick-and-mortar business, that could simply mean making customers and employees feel valued by ensuring their safety, with features like Plexiglas partitions and indoor masking, offering hybrid work options, and more leeway for employees with caregiving responsibilities. In addition to health, business values that stand for the greater good of the local community and make environmentally conscious choices are valuable marketing strategies.
Survive to Thrive
Small business owners went into survival mode in 2020 when the pandemic first hit. Companies in every industry knew that coming out on the other side of this global situation, was all they needed to focus on at that moment. Two and half years later, some businesses found it more prudent to shut shop and move on, while others that survived went on to create more-relevant operating models that helped them thrive in the newly created reality.
Creativity with Digital Media
Livestreams, reels, video demos, and virtual workshops are a new way forward. During the pandemic, they were a convenient replacement for in-person meetings, allowing smaller businesses to keep connected with their target customers. Both, the companies and their consumers came to the realization, that these marketing and networking strategies are simply too efficient to give up post-pandemic! Digital media gives every small business the chance to expand their footprint, in ways they could never imagine. For example, it’s become normal to order your favorite cake from a bakery across the country, instead of just around the corner.
Global and Local
This brings us to an unusual dichotomy that has come about in consumer behavior that has led businesses to strategically market to their target customer. While social distancing and e-commerce have made goods and services around the world accessible to everyone, there is a greater degree of responsibility felt by the consumer toward their local community, and keeping their favorite neighborhood businesses alive. Marketing methods continue to evolve in an attempt to serve both mindsets.
Case for Logistics Management
When everyone is ordering something, and everything is online - whether it is a couch, clothes, pastries, or paving tiles; it makes sense that managing shipping and delivery, to match the promises made during the marketing stage, becomes paramount. Small businesses do not have the financial bandwidth for capital investment or to employ full-time for such logistics roles. So, another new normal is, creating advanced technology solutions to handle these simple tasks with software and plugins, that a small business can easily use to fulfill their logistic requirements.
Contactless and Connected
Being contactless doesn’t mean losing the personal touch. Having a strong company website and email marketing strategy has been a marketing must-have for most small businesses, but many do not have the time to update and put out timely information. In today’s reality, going contactless means staying connected in every other way possible, by using digital marketing channels like the company website, newsletter updates, visual meet-ups, text alerts, telesales, chatbots, and social channels.
Experiences Over Products
An interesting Harvard Business Review piece found that among other things, people value experiences and relationships over all else. A critical piece for completing your marketing puzzle is using innovative ways, to bring your customers to your business. Whether it is weekly virtual game sessions or Q&As forums, sending kits to your clients for poker games and cocktails, or learning meditation practices; the pandemic has brought the lost marketing skill of innovation to the front.
Finally, the human aspect is always the most critical one. Technology and digital innovations still require employees' skills to match them. This leads to an increased need for training and mentorship, which any good business can’t ignore.
While the going is smooth and normal, it’s difficult to bring about change, even when it's overdue. Events like a global pandemic, are the proverbial kick-in-the-rear needed for companies to evolve their marketing strategies into a newer leaner format. And that’s just what has happened.