The light at the end of the tunnel
At the time of writing this post (15th February) the government has successfully reached its target of vaccinating the four most vulnerable groups against COVID-19, 15 million people in total, by the middle of February.
This is fantastic news and hopefully means that the Government will soon be announcing their plan out of lockdown and back to normality, with a revived, re-energised and renewed economy to follow.
As a result, now is the perfect time to take a look into your marketing to capitalise on the improving picture.
Here are a couple of things to consider:
- Online business is set to approach $5 trillion dollars globally in 2021
- A key trend in 2021 will be building meaningful customer relationships with personalised, targeted marketing
- Virtual conferencing will still be a key part of how businesses operate now and in the future
The rise of online shopping
A recent survey run by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) examined how the pandemic has affected consumers’ spending habits and how they interact and shop online. Though the UK wasn’t included in the survey, the countries surveyed included customers in Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, South Korea, The Russian Federation, South Africa, Switzerland and Turkey.
In the survey, more than half of the respondents said since the pandemic they now shop online more regularly which has become a common trend throughout the globe, with online sales predicted to approach 5 trillion dollars in 2021. The full survey data is here.
It is highly likely these changed behaviours are likely to stick, the reasons being are obvious: online shopping is quick and convenient, with minimal physical contact. There is an abundance of choice for consumers online and it can often be cheaper than buying a product in a physical store (where things like ground rent and staff wages are rolled into the price).
As a B2C business selling products it is easy to see where targeting customers online can be beneficial. However, you can also target customers online if you are a service-based business, or in the B2B market as well. Some small businesses do not realise that employees and those making buying decisions in businesses do use the internet to find local services near to them so being online with a website and SEO so people can find you is a must.
Also, if you can provide the service virtually, you can expand into markets that are further away geographically and compete against businesses physically operating in those areas.
Personalised, Account Based Marketing
During the pandemic, many customers and their values shifted dramatically as they adapted to the new normal. Many businesses may make the mistake in believing that people will be looking to return to how things were pre-pandemic and whilst in some cases this may be true, it is highly likely values will have shifted permanently.
One example of this was highlighted in a recent CMO Survey, that one area b2b marketers will be looking to invest in is account-based marketing. This is where CRM and sales techniques are combined with marketing to give each customer a unique, personalised route from initial lead to paying customer. There are many reasons why this area may be of interest going forward.
During the last year, many people have had a mental refocussing, as they spent months on end at home and away from family and friends. This has also led to an increased need and desire for authenticity and socialisation. We believe in turn this will manifest into customers craving more personalised experiences from businesses they use. In other words, a blanket email marketing campaign sent to 5,000 people with the exact same message is no longer going to cut it. Customers will want to feel that a business values them and their custom and is actively building a relationship with them.
Some simple steps that can be taken to achieve this greater personalisation include sending emails that include the person’s name and using remarketing and retargeting techniques to encourage customers to return back to pages and products that they have looked at previously. It also involves storing their information in a CRM system so that you can ensure you maintain a dialogue with them through regular direct emails and check ins with them.
Of course, this is also a great idea for businesses. Most businesses have a core or regular group of brand loyal customers who will use you time and time again and the larger this core group of customers can be can help your businesses stability. As in the case of traditional business, it is far easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to sell to someone new.
Alongside this, customers are becoming more aware of political, environmental and social issues such as climate change, racial and gender equality, ethical sourcing and manufacturing and fair treatment of workers and are basing their decisions on these issues and how well a business will respond to them.
This is also part of a growing desire for customers to feel a business is authentic so it is important to get across to customers steps you take to show you are engaged in the community as a business – perhaps you work with a local charity, or you ensure your suppliers are Fair Trade certified or perhaps you adhere to accreditations to show you value your customers and staff’s health and safety or follow environmental legislation (such as the various ISO certifications). All of these can help present you as a business that cares.
Virtual events and communication will continue
Of course, one change we have all made which is likely to continue is using Zoom and other software to communicate. Whilst the most vulnerable in society have been vaccinated there are still large swathes of the population who aren’t and so using software to limit face to face interaction is likely to continue for the foreseeable. Not only that with potential new variants of the virus coming up this may continue for longer than the initial vaccination rollout.
There is also the consideration for businesses on an international scale that different countries will be in different phases of their vaccination rollout and rules on travelling to places may vary. This may also mean international events in the manufacturing industries may not happen physically, instead taking place virtually.
This can pose advantages, if a product service can be offered or sold virtually to customers then you can also reach out to a far wider audience than you ever could from a physical presence. Plus using virtual conferencing software over physically driving to a place can reduce your businesses carbon footprint which can be a great social media post showing behind the scenes how your business is adapting to customers new expectations.
Of course, the last 12 months have been difficult and nothing like anyone has ever experienced before. However as business owners it is important to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that there are still opportunities out there, some which are brand new and very exciting.
Nutcracker Design and Marketing is a design agency with many years’ experience creating both traditional and digital marketing for businesses, including web design, SEO, social media, PPC and more. We will help you to find the perfect marketing strategy to ensure your businesses future success. Speak to us on 01384 455141 to find out how we can help you.
Take care and continue to stay safe.
The Team at Nutcracker Design.