Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The warning signs have been here for almost two years now. What has happened to business (and the world) in the past 18-plus months could never have been predicted — even in the most bizarre fictional story. So, now that the reality has set in, what are you doing to prepare your organization for continued disruption?
At our marketing-services firm, Brunner, we’ve given this revolution a label: Business Climate Change. You can feel the changing dynamics across everything that drives your business, and as a marketer, you must consider what those impacts mean to your consumers — ranging from social issues to environmental concerns to economic, financial and health implications. We believe that the only ways to keep up with the accelerated pace of business climate change are to accentuate your brand storytelling with a purpose and tap timely data intelligence, which will allow you to develop a brand metabolism that better enables your marketing efforts to keep pace with “what’s next.”
Some trends that we’re keeping an eye on include:
- The impending cookie-less reality is pushing marketers to figure out how to leverage first-party data to segment, append and find look-alike prospects — and the deadline is almost here.
- CX, now more important than ever, does not start and end with marketing. It is much more prevalent across most of a firm’s operations, but marketing, with its knowledge of the customer, needs to lead the CX strategy.
- CRM also has become a priority like never before, certainly because 1PD is essential, but also because loyalty is so fleeting. So how do you keep your customers closer than ever with relevancy and cultural purpose?
Here are some things to keep in mind as these trends continue to evolve.
The consumer mindset has changed dramatically
The “home-body” economy continues, thus impacting categories in good and bad ways. If your brand is in home improvement, electronics or anything related to in-home experiences (including pets, cosmetics and home-fitness equipment), you are likely doing well. Conversely, if you’re in travel or any OOH entertainment, you are seeing a slow build back, driven largely by consumers’ health and safety concerns, as well as their stay-at-home mindset becoming habit.
Brands experiencing success right now are proving their worth by attaching themselves to the home in some way. Think about how you can position your brand as part of a healthy home or enriching the lives of consumers at home.
And what’s next? Even more of a home-body mindset with the coming Metaverse! So, the next question you’ll need to answer is, “How does my brand fit into a consumer experience that is both out of this world, and right at home?”
Your brand’s story is more critical than ever to maintaining loyalty
Switching behavior continued to accelerate over the past 18-plus months. According to a recent McKinsey study, “Consumers continue to change their shopping behavior, with three-quarters making some change and about 40 percent switching brands. This dynamic behavior is magnified among younger consumers and higher-income consumers. When asked why they switched brands, consumers indicate generational differences as well: for older consumers, the reason is value and availability, while for younger consumers, it is value and purpose.”
Your brand story needs to be ingrained with purpose if you want to grow, engage younger consumers and capture your share of emerging growth segments. And of course, value is defined by how well your brand fits into their lifestyles, beliefs and priorities — regardless of age. “How does your brand fit into changing societal expectations?” is a good place to start. The right CRM strategy, along with the right “purpose” and “value” messaging, can help your brand be stickier, creating deeper loyalty among your customers.
Convenience drives the customer journey
Consumers are less concerned with where to buy these days and are instead looking to purchase based on when they need it, which means they will seek info on what’s available and then determine if they can wait for an item or if they want it right now. In other words, everyone is trying to follow Amazon’s lead. The implications for consumer-products companies and their channel partners are all about speed and availability — and about sharing inventory and other data as a customer-facing benefit, not just as internal warehouse data. Messaging of “buy now” is a literal promise with big upside — if you can deliver. The convenience component is at the heart of the consumer experience. Think about how you can be more agile and frictionless with each touchpoint of the consumer journey.
Business climate change is very real, and very fast, and it is having significant impacts every day in all aspects of our lives. The data is out there that illustrates the change; the consumer is leading it, and marketers must manage it now. Developing agile strategies around your consumer’s mindset, how your brand story fits into it, and how you can deliver convenience within the consumer journey will ultimately determine the success — both long-term and short-term — of your brand.