In past blogs, I’ve written quite a bit about the need to evolve with the changing times in order to keep up with technology and your changing audience. That particular type of evolution is a gradual, caterpillar-turning-into-a butterfly type of evolution. A slow, meaningful transformation that allows you to take stock of the ever-changing world and modify your business goals and strategies to meet the future needs of your clients.
However, in the Greater Baton Rouge Area after The Second Great Flood (okay, so Noah’s was a little more dire than this one), Baton Rouge small business owners don’t have the time to evolve gradually if their audience is suddenly gone or their product/service is no longer relevant. They don’t have the luxury to evolve gradually. The evolution of your business marketing strategies in the aftermath of a crisis may have to be fast and swift! But, it also has to be smart movement, as well.
Modify Your Offerings
One of our clients, ResponsAble Safety Staffing, offers specialized labor staffing to industrial clients. It has a built-in database of laborers available for work. Since the flood, industrial work has significantly slowed, but the need for labor has not! ResponsAble modified its labor offerings, which were traditionally only applicable to industrial plants and facilities, to offering a labor force to businesses looking for general laborers for clean-up, construction and other labor needs. The company modified its offerings to meet the market.
How can the products or services that you offer meet the needs of the market? Don’t be afraid to respond to change. Buckminster Fuller once said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Well, we didn’t exactly have to go out and build a new model. It was created for us in the form of flooding. And, the existing model for some of our businesses and communities is temporarily obsolete. So, as business owners, we need to build our new model according to this existing reality until the old reality returns.
I am not suggesting that you need to abandon your current products and services. I am just suggesting that you find a way in which what you do can meet the needs of your audience while in crisis mode.
Modify Your Strategy
Remember that marketing strategy that you carefully crafted at the beginning of the year? You might need to revisit it and modify it. People are in need. People are in crisis mode. And, these people are your customers. Find out how to reach them!
And, let’s face it, you need a digital strategy. You don’t have time to carefully craft your message, get it professionally designed, sent to a printer, produced and then shipped back to you. People are in need of immediate services. And if you are sitting in the reception room of your office waiting on the Overnight Shipping guy, you might as well keep sitting there, because you have missed your window of opportunity.
I wrote in my previous blog about the flood, “Where Facebook has primarily been used as a social platform, it is now a huge resource for businesses to gain followers, increase their sphere of influence and market much-needed products and services to the masses who need them. It has become the most important business platform in South Louisiana.”
Keep this in mind. You need digital media to reach the masses quickly, effectively and inexpensively. Consider some Google AdWords campaigns, consider Facebook paid advertising or boosted posts, but make sure you are using digital media as a marketing tool.
Modify Your Customer Service
I am a staunch believer in the power of a great customer experience. It can overcome almost anything.
So, that good customer service you now offer, make it great.
Your customer is in crisis mode. But, when all is said and done, make sure your customer remembers your business as the one that evokes happiness in them.
Author Brian Herbert said, “In adverse circumstances, every creature becomes something else, evolving or devolving. What makes us human is that we know what we once were, and, let us hope, we remember how to change back.”
When all is said and done, after this crisis has passed and we have a new normal, let’s make sure that we don’t just “change back.” Let’s hope that we become better!