I remember reading an article about 6 months ago that talked about how world-class leading companies spend much of their time and money predicting the future of technology, regulations, demographics and the economy, thinking how this could affect their growth and sales pattern and planning their strategy based on those predictions.
It was a great article, but no matter how many trends and plans the author has considered, I’m sure he couldn’t predict COVID-19, no one could.
You may think that the current events dismissed all his predictions, however, the truth is that everything he said actually happened! With the difference that it did not happen progressively as expected, it happened fast, it is happening now and it is going to change the world as we knew it.
I bet you can find millions of articles related to this, so what I’m trying to do here is point out which are those trends that moved the fastest and which will stick after COVID-19, those trends will define the roadmap for most companies on their recovery path. So let’s go through them one by one.
The first strategy I remember was “investing in future growth”, it talked about thinking ahead and planning accordingly, well, the bottom line here is, don’t make plans on predictions, make plans on the best and worst scenarios and have the pieces ready to move in case any of them manifests. The world can change in a minute and noone can foresee that, but you can think of scenarios that include for example a significant drop in the volume of your sales, a blockage of your traditional channels due to cases of force majeure, sudden changes in purchasing patterns and consumption, etc., and be ready to react to them.
Another recommendation given by the author was to seek growth through micro-markets, which refers to dividing large markets into much smaller units, where prospects, new customer segments and / or micro-segments can be addressed in detail. This recommendation is one of the best that I remember reading these days, mainly because this is what big companies have been doing lately. The only difference is that these micro markets did not appear on the map as “possible options” to be considered in the future, they appeared suddenly and saved the day! These smaller business are the reason why big companies have managed to resist the pandemic and have been able to keep selling their products. They are the ones who rule now!
The last 3 or 4 trends can be summed up in one, since they all referred to the use of technology and digital marketing tools to reach those customers who are not on the radar of large companies.
While everyone knows that each new generation brings with it an increase in the use of digital communication, not everyone expected what is currently happening, which is that previous generations are also turning to the digital world for their day-to-day activities. Some studies show shocking figures such as 50% more clicks in global e-commerce during the first month of the pandemic, there is an online store in Mexico that increased its sales by 100%! That is something that no one imagined. What was to be imagined is that hacks and fraudulent activity would also increase and it happened, which shows that nobody was ready for these levels of traffic and that it’s necessary to take measures to ensure security from now on, because this trend is something that is definitely here to stay.
The use of mobile technology has been greatly accelerated and people are getting comfortable shopping this way. In many countries the quarantine has been kept for more than 3 months, which is enough time to change purchasing patterns forever.
Because of this, companies must quickly learn to read and interpret their consumers’ digital footprints, they need to explore new ways to get their attention, as well as strategies to promote and sell through social media. It is important to train sellers in this new way of marketing, since until just a few months ago, only 7% of sales representatives in the US were trained to sell through online platforms, this is something that must change and must do so now.
So let’s review all the forecasts that have been made and change the time window, establish a new and more realistic road map … and GO, the future is here.