Last week, I encouraged you to do all the groundwork that is needed for your business to be ready for life after lockdown. You can access that Memo here if you missed it.
This week’s activity is the next stage. I have assumed that, like me, you’ve completed the steps for preparing your metaphorical Marketing Vegetable Patch. This week I want you to focus on what to plant in it. I have chosen the rainbow of vegetables to illustrate this week’s topic. It captures my key message for you, which is: be ready for unexpected change to become permanent.
Most of you will be familiar with the story of carrots, which were originally cultivated in Afghanistan as a purple vegetable. It became our now familiar, orange staple much later, thanks to cross-breeding of varieties in Holland in the 17th Century. Farmers have settled on the orange carrot for mass production and sale, as it is sweeter than its purple cousin. Therefore, the orange carrot has become a popular choice because it satisfies customers’ needs for an attractive, sweet, versatile vegetable. Orange carrots are normal for us, but it could so easily have been the purple type which might have been a family favourite, if producers had not adapted their output to meet the demand, thereby shaping the vegetable market and our expectations of a “normal” carrot.
I would like to encourage you to consider that the recent step-changes in business practices and daily living has been equivalent to the production of the first orange carrot. Looking ahead, what might this mean for your business development? I will describe what it means for my own business. Please consider these points, in the light of what you’ve unearthed recently for your own:
- Remote working and calls are likely to become established as a new normal. Therefore, I intend to develop my Marketing consultations as online only, unless it is possible to arrange a traditional cafe meeting, if my client prefers that option. This development will permit me to extend my market geographically beyond its current base of Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
- Cater for financial hardship. Financial forecasts make grim reading at present, with references to the 1930’s and The Depression. But don’t despair, your business and mine has been trading through the Age of Austerity, so we know about resilience. We have an understanding of our existing clients and products. Now is the perfect time to adapt if you’ve identified that there’s a need out there for something slightly different. I doubt that many restaurants will become eat-in-only establishments post COVID19.