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What kind of customer has COVID-19 created?

Are you a marketer, or responsible for marketing a product? Let us tick the boxes on what you already know about COVID-19. Marketing has changed – Check. Your customer is stuck at home – Check. Marketing spend is reduced – Check. Digital marketing is a key option – Check. My customer is still my customer – hmm, now that is a question worth probing.



Without a doubt, COVID-19 has changed things rapidly and without warning. For the foreseeable future, several months at least, the situation will continue to evolve. The current focus is on keeping healthy, social distancing, zoom meetings and crisis management. For many businesses, planning has changed from growth and beating targets to recovery strategy. In all this, there is one factor worth remembering, and that is the customer.


The customer you have today is not the same customer you will have at the end of the COVID-19 crisis. Forced behavior changes have resulted in new realizations and priorities for customers.


Consider the following.

A young working woman frequented modern cafes to have business meetings while grabbing a cup of coffee on the go. Now, she is having the same business meetings from the comfort of her home using Zoom. Another example, a mother visited the supermarket or kiosk every day on her way home from work, purchasing milk and bread for her family. She would occasionally impulse buy little items. Now, she purchases in bulk and keeps items in the freezer and is concerned about keeping to the list. In these two examples, the customer may have the realization that there is more than they can do with their money, especially when stretched.


Why is this important?

After this pandemic, brands and marketers will be faced with a more astute customer. No matter what industry or walk of life, the customer will have been financially stretched, thus changing the way that they spend and prioritize. It is expected that there will be changes in mind-set, especially when it comes to preparing for disaster and emergencies. Business unusual means that customers are learning to adapt to new ways of being and they are finding solutions to their daily challenges.


Marketers need to do a 180 on how they offer solutions and manage customer expectations. Here are some things to plan towards: -


1. Prepare to react to the changes in your customer as they emerge.

Even after the pandemic, your customer will need some time to adjust to the new normal. Be ready to market in phases.

2. Create a Bounce Back Strategy.

Read up on companies that survived tough economic times and discover what they did. Have a plan in place that you can implement by the time the pandemic concludes.


3. Do not be passive.

With so much uncertainty, many brands are choosing to ‘wait and see’ what happens in the market. You need to remain top of mind, so use creative ways to remotely engage with your customers.


4. Reach out.

Customer service can be incredibly impactful at a time like this. Take time to reach out to your customers and let them know you care. Get personal where possible and share messages that they can resonate with. Get ready!! In the same way an athlete looking to win a gold medal at the Olympics trains their body relentlessly, it is now time to train yourself, and your company relentlessly. Keep learning, build on a strategy every day, and do not lose contact with your customers. The more you speak with your customers, the clearer you will become on their mindset and needs. When all is said and done, you need to hit the ground running. Stay Safe, Stay Home.


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