*Originally published on CommercialIntegrator.com
Everyone is struggling to navigate what comes next after the pandemic ends, but stay in touch with your customers if you expect their loyalty.
We’re starting to see terms like “hopeful,” “try” and “adjust” make their way across the AV and live event landscape these days as we inch closer to the next phase in our business lives after what many believe is the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak.
At the same time, there’s a realization that the recovery is going to take a while, with words like “marathon” prominent on the minds of participants in business consultant Tom Stimson’s weekly series, “The Show Will Go On.” Stimson agrees the turnaround won’t be easy.
“I don’t think this is a blip,” said Stimson in the 10th week of his series. “This is a sea change. Business as usual is gone. We need to find a new usual.”
Stimson suggested trying make-do work to make some money before live events resume, showing some interest in your customers and potential ones, reducing expenses even more and adopting alternative pricing models.
It’s important to adjust expectations, meet your customers where they are and plan for the long haul, he said.
“If you sell the value of what you do, it could create even higher margins for you,” said Stimson.
That’s where marketing comes in, said Stimson. Companies that are struggling to stay afloat—and even the ones that are still doing reasonably well—shouldn’t wait until the recovery takes hold to get in touch with their clients or prospects about setting up opportunities for them to work together.
“The bigger your pivot, the bigger your marketing play,” said Stimson. “If you want to earn credibility, you have to talk to the audience. If you don’t, by the time the client needs you, it’ll be too late because someone else will have cultivated the relationship already.”
Why AV Marketing Now Is Critical
Marketing affects what people think about you before they know you and it reinforces what they think about you after they get to know you, said Stimson.
Customers are typically in four types: engaged and ready to move, curious and considering their options, aware but not sure what to do next or unaware of the issues. Your marketing approach should cater to clients of each type in different ways if you hope to bring them down the so-called AV marketing funnel.
You should understand what you want a customer to do at each stage and hope the prospect reaches out to you directly, said Stimson. Your website is the best way to target aware visitors, while the digital newsletter will best meet curious customers’ needs, he said.
Social media can work for both curious and engaged customers, while direct contact through an invitation is often the most effective way to help unaware customers get more information about your product and service offerings, said Stimson.