For several years, I’ve touted that change is the only constant that marketers should be comfortable with. Changes in technology, mediums, and additional channels all pressured organizations to adjust to the demands of consumers and businesses.
In recent years, companies were also being forced to be more transparent and human in their efforts. Consumers and businesses started to do businesses to aligned with their philanthropic and ethical beliefs. Where organizations used to separate their foundations from their operations, now the expectation is that the purpose of the organization is the betterment of our society as well as the care for our environment.
But the pandemic and associated lockdowns have forced an unexpected transformation that we’d never expected. Consumers who were once shy to adopt e-commerce flocked to it. Social places like event venues, restaurants, and movie cinemas halted operation – many forced to close altogether.
COVID-19 Business Distruption
There are few industries that aren’t being disrupted right now by the pandemic, social distancing, and shifts in consumer & business behavior. I’ve personally witnessed some huge swings with customers and colleagues:
- A colleague in the steel industry saw condominiums and retail halt and ecommerce warehouses drove all of his order growth.
- A colleague in the school industry had to drive all of their sales direct to consumers as schools shifted to online.
- A colleague in the commercial real estate industry had to scramble to redesign its spaces to be more accommodating to flexible work schedules where employees are now welcome to work from home.
- Several colleagues in the restaurant industry closed their dining rooms and shifted to take-out and delivery sales only.
- A colleague had to redesign her spa for single visitors only with cleaning windows in between clients. We developed a full ecommerce and scheduling solution and initiated direct marketing, email marketing and local search strategies – something she never needed prior because she had so much word-of-mouth business.
- A colleague in the home improvement industry has watched suppliers hike prices and employees requiring more pay because the demand to improve the home (where we now live and work) are being heavily invested in.
Even my new agency had to totally revamp its sales and marketing. Last year, we worked heavily in helping businesses digitally transform their customer experience. This year, it’s all about internal automation, efficiency, and data accuracy to reduce the workload on the employees that haven’t been laid off.
This infographic from mobile360, an affordable SMS provider for small, medium, and large businesses details the impact of the pandemic and lockdowns on startups, entrepreneurship, and businesses in great detail.
COVID-19’s Negative Economic Impact
- More than 70% of startups have had to terminate full-time employee contracts since the start of the pandemic.
- Over 40% of startups only have enough cash for one to three months of operations.
- The GDP has contracted 5.2% in 2020, making it the deepest global recession in decades.
COVID-19’s Business Opportunities
While many businesses are in dire straits, there are some opportunities. That’s not to make light of the pandemic – which is absolutely horrible. However, businesses can’t simply throw in the towel. These dramatic changes to the business landscape haven’t dried up all demand – it’s just that businesses must pivot to keep themselves alive.
Some businesses are seeing opportunity in changing how they operate:
- Adopting a charity model to donate needed supplies and profits to those in need.
- Pivoting operations to take advantage of a population working from home that need delivery of food and supplies.
- Pivoting marketing to shift demand from driving retail visits to digital visits with online scheduling, ecommerce, and delivery options.
- Pivoting manufacturing to also provide sanitary supplies and personal protective equipment.
- Transforming open workspaces to spaces with safe-distancing and private, sectioned sections to reduce social contact.
Knowing how to respond to the situation will enable your company to navigate through this pandemic. To get you started, the guide below will discuss the challenges you’ll face or have likely already faced and the opportunities you should consider taking.
6 Steps to Pivot Your Business
Businesses must adapt and adopt, or else they’ll be left behind. We’re not going to ever return to the pre-2020 operations as consumer and behavior businesses have forever changed. Here are 6 steps that Mobile360 recommends to help you determine what your team can do to keep ahead of the current trends:
- Research Customer Needs – take a deep dive into your customer base. Talk to your best customers and send our surveys to identify how you can best assist your customers.
- Build a Flexible Workforce – outsourcing and contractors may be the best opportunity to reduce the payroll demands that may impact your company’s cash flow.
- Map Out Your Supply Chain – Consider the logistical limitations your business is facing. How will you plan to manage and work around the impact?
- Create Shared Value – Beyond your offers, communicate the positive change your organization is bringing its community as well as your customers.
- Stay Transparent – adopt a clear and optimistic communication strategy that ensures everyone upstream, downstream, and in your organization understands the state of your business.
- Digital Transformation – maximize your investment in digital platforms, automation, integration, and analytics to optimize your operations. Internal efficiencies through customer experience can help you overcome and even increase profitability as businesses and consumers-alike shift their behavior.