Much like the recent spring storms that ripped through St. Louis and the Midwest, the latest recession wreaked havoc on the economy. And, like spring storms, recessions begin and end. But nothing is quite the same afterwards. What makes this recession so different? What has changed forever?
The storm that was the recession is now over. And, as if emerging from your basement or bathroom or other safe place, you cautiously look around wondering what you’ll find. Or what you’ll find left. How were you impacted either professionally or personally.
The answer isn’t as obvious as it often is with storms. A new norm is on the horizon, replacing status quo forever. Also changed forever is how we manage risks such as our supply chain or plans for additional technology, just to name a few. In fact, the only thing we know for sure is that things are going to be different than they were before the recession. Your company is different. You are different. So the questions remain: What exactly is different? How can I benefit from what is different? What is my strategy going forward?
Key to remaining relevant, or profitable in the future, is to observe and adapt to what is different or what has changed. So, while you are executing your current business strategy, observe and adapt to the trends that will drive the future and quickly become the new reality. In fact, this is the perfect time to consider bold moves to gain market share.
In order to do this, you must plan accordingly. And planning requires a solid understanding of this new reality. It remains crucial to recognize what has changed your business with respect to the following components:
Over the next several newsletters we will discuss each one in more detail. Let’s begin with that all important part of each business…..the Customer.
The customer base is still feeling the sting from entering the recession in 2007; therefore, customers might be cautious and nervous. In addition, customers might overreact to negative news and react more slowly to positive trends. That’s one of the reasons it is crucial to not only keep abreast of existing and emerging competition, but also how your customers will react to it. As if that weren’t enough, customer’s buying habits and environments have shifted; you must have a pulse on how to best reach them.
Customers have an overwhelming amount of choices in today’s global market. They can buy things as easily from Malaysia or Prague as they can from Topeka. Thanks to technology, competition can quickly and swiftly satisfy your customers . . . maybe even better than you can.
More often than not, customers carry their personal spending profiles into the workplace. If they are spending more cautiously at home, chances are they are doing the same on the job. As they emerge from the recession, they are buying only what they need when they need it. They are buying brands they can trust. And they are considering total cost over a longer period of time.
It is important to realize that women are making more and more of the final decisions both at home and at work. How does your approach and marketing collateral play against that new reality?
Technology is a powerful tool. Customers are willing to research online. What implemented strategy ensures that they not only find you, but also receive the message that you want to send?
Another consideration is the reality that product and inventory pipelines are extremely lean, affecting demands in unpredictable ways. A customer might have high demands one month and zero requirements the next.
How will these emerging trends impact your approach to satisfying customers? What specific changes will you make? What products and services will you offer so that the customer is willing to pay a premium price and yet be delighted to do so?