How to adapt tactics to stay relevant to your customers

“Our abilities to adapt, innovate, and learn will be a key factors in resilience and recovery.” Rohit Talwar and J Walker Smith , 17 Aug 2020  (Kantar Futureproof podcasts available on spotify)  Here, I focus on how to adapt tactics following any type of market disruption.

Many small business owners are wondering how to adapt in the light of the changes which are already impacting their business in a post- lockdown environment. Last week’s blogpost summarised the steps that you might take to review your brand communications in an infographic, you can remind yourself of it here. The final steps 1-4 describe the tactics which you can alter to implement your strategy. In the words of Paul Fifield:

“strategy is about knowing where you want to get to and broadly how you will get there. (Marketing Strategy, Butterworth Heinemann, p.238) An organization will achieve nothing if it changes its strategy regularly. Tactics on the other hand are all about change they allow you to remain responsive to the needs of your marketplace.”

Today you should be reviewing your tactics. Many high profile brands have been doing this already, such as: John Lewis and KFC.

Here are some ideas of what you might consider. These  suggestions are inspired by an octopus, a creature which has evolved with several adaptations which help it to survive in its environment.

Here are some ideas about how to adapt your tactics:

Tactic 1. Price: Flexibility is a key to success. An octopus has no skeleton it adapts its shape to the environment. You should apply similar flexibility to your pricing policy. there are several factors which you should consider in the light of any disruption, before either maintaining or altering your price:
* The price offered by competitors at present.
* How your price differentiates you in your market
* How you have chosen to position yourself in your market, premium or budget?
* What is your customers’ perceived value of your product/ service?There are many examples of items which can command a higher price post – lockdown  : dogs, hand-gel, fishing–licenses, and flour, due to weather conditions affecting harvesting of crops. What’s happened in your market?

A good example of a market which varies its prices flexibly is the housing market sellers will sell at the price for which buyers are prepared to pay at that moment.

Tactic 2. Place: Limitless possibilities make you strong. An octopus is famous for having eight tentacles, more limbs than most animals. These limbs mean that it has a range of tools that it uses to snare its prey reaching wherever it needs to, likewise you should seek to deliver your product wherever you might find customers who are looking for your product/service. That’s why it’s important to publish content on your website regularly to help customers to to find you online when they undertake a Google search. I addressed the topic, how to drive traffic to your website in a recent instalment of this business resilience series.

Tactic 3. Promotion: Show the right look to succeed. An octopus has special cells in its skin called chromatophores these mean that it can camouflage itself quickly to blend into its environment thereby approaching its prey by stealth. You should adapt your look or message to keep in tune with your customers’ needs a good example of how to adapt tactics, is KFC removing its tagline,“finger-lickin’ good” which it feels is inappropriate, following the Covid pandemic disruption in 2020 while there is a focus on hand hygiene. Once you are aware of how to adapt tactics you will be able to stay close to your customers’ needs at all times.