Right now, there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world. No one knows how long this pandemic is going to last and what the future implications will be. This has created a roller coaster of the stock market and confusion around the world.
Being in the marketing space, I keep up with current events. Whether its national news, local news, web design news or anything in between, I pay attention. As a marketer, you must understand people. And to do that effectively, you have to keep your eyes and ears open.
I’ve seen a lot of uncertainty myself. There have been pullbacks in marketing budgets and a doubling down in others. It’s crazy. I’ve been on extremely positive calls while the next moment I’m talking to someone that’s concerned and downright afraid of the future.
For me personally, I’m paying attention, analyzing our outgoing expenses, and giving even more thought to new expense. I’m certainly not afraid because I know whatever this world brings, I’ll overcome it.
Jumping to fear isn’t going to help anything. Sure, you can have a moment of doubt and concern, but they should only be moments. Take those moments and do something with them. Act. Don’t let the thoughts linger and creep up on you and occupy all your thoughts.
I don’t want to get too far into the weeds here. Plus, I’m a positive person. That’s my nature.
Right when this pandemic happened, I got a call from one of my friends who owns a restaurant. I looked at the caller ID and my stomach sank because I thought this might be a tough call. His restaurant had been effectively shut down a moment ago as patrons could no longer dine in person. When I answered the phone, I could tell in his voice he wasn’t phased. He said, “you know, Shawn, something positive has to come of this.” I’ll never forget that. In the months that followed, his restaurant had the best months it’s ever seen. I believe that’s 100% the result of his positive attitude.
Instead of slumping his shoulders and complaining, he looked up and embraced the challenge. That’s what you must do. As any successful business owner will tell you, you must continually adapt and change. Sure, this pandemic isn’t something we’ve never seen before. Typically, we have more time to face these challenges and to make moves. But instead, it all happened at once. So instead of making changes over the course of weeks, months, or years, your decisions must happen over the course of days or even hours.
The challenges and struggles are real and immediate. A lot of businesses are never going to open their doors again. There’s going to be a lot of pain, but you’re not going to have time to wallow in it. You’re going to have to dust yourself off and get back up. Now.
What does this have to do with marketing? Everything.
For every action in this world, there is an equal and opposite reaction. I didn’t come up with that. Newton did.
Let’s look at the restaurant business.
Say you closed your doors when the restrictions happened in your state. You look to your payroll, rent, etc. and thought to yourself, it’s better to close the doors. It’ll be temporary, and when this blows over, we’ll flip on the open sign and be business as usual. Heck, there might be so much pent-up demand that we won’t be able to handle it.
Meanwhile, your competitor down the street saw an opportunity. Sure, he had to lay off some staff, but he also didn’t need people to wait tables anymore. He changed to delivery and take-out only and took this time to do upgrades in the kitchen and restaurant. After all, restaurants hardly ever can be closed long enough to do any major upgrades without affecting business.
This business owner also started thinking long and hard about his customers. What were their new struggles, concerns, and challenges? How could he serve his customers in this new environment?
He develops a new menu that’s targeted toward families which make up most of his customer base. He offers discounts and an online ordering system. He doesn’t just continue his marketing; he does more of it.
Now what about the market? What did these customers do after the restrictions went into place?
They hunkered down. For a couple days anyway. Then they went back outside in attempt to return to normal. They still wanted food, and they still didn’t want to make it themselves. They also discovered they weren’t the best cooks, and they had a craving that they couldn’t solve. They also found out a couple of their favorite restaurants were closed. Did they stop having their craving? Nope. They picked up the phone and called the restaurant that was open.
All these customers gave their money to the restaurant that was opened. The restaurant saw all new faces and did more business than ever. Meanwhile, the restaurant that is closed is becoming irrelevant. Their top fans have discovered a new restaurant, and they love it.
What can you do?
You need to look at this moment in time as an opportunity. It’s all around us. As you read in the story above, money doesn’t stop exchanging hands. It’s still out there moving. You just have to be creative enough to get it to flow toward your business.
No one knows what the future holds, but you must keep going. Focus on the positive and take action.
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