What does marketing in the new norm mean? As the economy begins to emerge from the depths of the coronavirus pandemic, a “new norm” in marketing is emerging with it. That new norm has its roots in the days of the stay-at-home orders that restrained the entire country, save a few sparsely populated states. The shift in marketing strategy relies now, more than ever, on web, email, social media, and video conferencing platforms.
Prior to the pandemic, a typical client relationship and marketing strategy was to visit directly with our clients to hold a productive discussion and facetime. Another aspect to a typical industrial project bid procedure was to have a meeting involving all the bidders with an opportunity to walk the site, ask questions, and discuss the project until everyone - the client and the contractors - was satisfied that they understood the scope and demands of the project. Because we're marketing in the new norm, both of these approaches to bidding are now temporarily halted and may never be revived.
- What impact will the pandemic have on the bidding process?
- How will this impact marketing in the industry going forward?
- What opportunities will emerge from the need to adapt our marketing?
Marketing in the new norm means we must rely on telecommunications and conversations by phone, email, social media and video conferencing in order to have involved discussions about a project. Private walkthroughs are beginning to be considered, but group gatherings are less likely to be authorized. ARC is adapting to these restrictions through successful communication, allowing us to provide estimates and organize our team to perform projects.
The marketing challenge we are facing now is that these methods are very foreign to the general purchasing crowd. I recall times while traveling, I tried cold-calling prospective customers in the area to get some information. When asking to speak to a decision maker, I was often met with responses like “The individual is not in … they are busy on another call … you need to make an appointment, etc.” However, when I inquired as to whom I should be directing my questions or how to contact them, there was resistance to relaying that information. Hence, we left our cards and brochures, hoping our information would find its way to the right individual. Even when we did have a contact, trying to get them on the phone or answer an email to make that appointment was often unsuccessful.
Under the current restrictions, we are at an impasse if the individual who will issue the purchase order or the engineer organizing the project will not respond to the email, phone message, or even a mailed letter. We feel this behavior needs to change — not modified, but totally changed. Relegated to electronic communication and with no other options, customers, suppliers, contractors, and project managers must be open to these lines of contact. Anonymity is not a productive approach when forging and nurturing business relationships in the new norm.
We are all facing the same marketing challenges in our respective companies in striving to maintain business continuity and accelerate growth. This is common ground and a shared experience. We need to be open to those who have a genuine desire to help, work, fix, repair, rebuild, and rejuvenate our country. ARC is committed to marketing in the new norm - adapting and being part of the solution and not a relic of the old norm.
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