Many firms have seen significant changes in how they operate, or have been shut down in significant ways — including ours. These are some key questions each business should be asking themselves:
- In what ways is your product or service important or essential to your customers?
- If demand decreases, will you be able to attract business back using the same methods?
- Will you need to change the way you market, or even change your services and product offering?
The answers to these questions will be different for each company. Even if you have an essential product or service— its delivery, or even your overall approach to meeting your customers’ needs, may need to evolve to adapt to this uncharted world we are living in. If what you offer is not essential can you still entice those customers back?
Here are a few examples:
One of our customers provides field services to energy companies, highway departments, cell towers and a variety of other on-the-ground projects. While their services are essential, the market has significantly eroded and competition is fierce. Market erosion was happening prior to COVID-19, so they were already in the process of adjusting to a new reality. They had built a remote work culture which meant office and field reporting was already largely in place. Additionally, they leaned more heavily on technology and automation of repetitive tasks to stay competitive.
We also have several clients in the Events and Meetings industry that are seeing huge immediate impacts as both government regulation and decisions by individual hosts put a pause on hundreds of planned events across the state. The first few weeks of shelter-in-place here in California ignited a flurry of activity further compounded by a near- instant cease in revenue. Now, as some companies and organizers are looking a few months out or even into 2021, they have a lot of questions about what they’ll be able to accomplish and even questioning the importance of each event or meeting. Can the event happen digitally? Is in-person as powerful as we think it is? Service providers across the entire industry will need to adapt, and many of those changes will last into the foreseeable future.
Check out our post about Trust and Safety to learn more about what reopening should look like from a marketing and communications perspective.
COVID-19 greatly accelerated these trends.
We have clients in California, Colorado, Washington, and other states where emergency orders and social distancing began early. Several weeks ago they began asking themselves questions similar to those we are all asking now:
- Can we retain our customers?
- What will it take for them to choose us over the competition?
- What marketing channels will be most effective?
- Are we packaging our services properly for the new normal?
The most effective approach we have seen so far, specifically for service providers, involves having key staff reach out personally to their counterparts at key clients to let them know that they are prepared to support them and to open a dialogue regarding how they can assist them in navigating the changing circumstances surrounding their company. How they can begin to rethink project logistics, with client and staff safety in mind, and empower employees to help find solutions. These companies are also currently examining their web and social media strategies and learning how to make those channels responsive in real-time and achieve the best ROI.
What are the challenges facing your company? Have you asked the right questions? Can you modify your services or service delivery to thrive in the future? We’d love to have a conversation with you to learn how we may be able to help you with strategy and messaging during these times.