Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "How to Remain Competitive in a Changing Environment," examines how the business universe continues to deal with shocks to the system and unforeseen impacts as a result of the pandemic. Lessons learned should become the baseline for moving forward as the digital world provides instant connectivity, by which consumer behavioral shifts are now apparent. The Covid-19 pandemic is now responsible for more deaths than the 1918 Spanish Flu, a grim statistic indeed. As dire as all of this sounds, we must continue to pursue new creative methodologies to deal with this crisis and any that may be on the horizon. To develop a resilient baseline, businesses must take the first step and recognize that the problems they are facing are real and could be long-lasting. Organizations must realize that it will be necessary to revamp in order to fix or alleviate any issues.
Our Quote of the Day: "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new." — Socrates
Agility to Respond
We have seen some organizations take steps to mitigate the pandemic challenge by thinking outside routine operational procedures. The emergence of new digital-based delivery systems began to enter the fray with online shopping, package and grocery deliveries, and curbside pickup for most retail. The healthcare industry moved to online telemedicine operations, and pharmacies beefed up mail deliveries.
These actions represent a snapshot of businesses that responded in an agile manner and thus helped cement new consumer behavior models that are sure to remain in place as we move forward. Consumers are now comfortable with these processes that are already deemed normal. Any business operating in today's climate must take steps to remain agile in this new operating environment.
Counterbalancing the Physical and Digital
The pandemic of today is much different from the 1918 pandemic. Unlike in 1918, businesses, for the most part, did not shut down. Instead, many organizations have functioned and supported clients by being agile while robustly embracing technological platforms. The digital metamorphosis is in the rearview mirror. Consumer behavior has transformed across the entire societal spectrum.
As a result of the revolutionized digital consumer behavior, CEOs are shifting from delegating digital tactics and strategies to a full-fledged hands-on leadership position. These CEOs understand that their businesses are in a survival mode, and only by taking direct actions can they survive, improve business standards and create higher levels of resilience. Initially, most thought that this new environment was temporary. Hordes of business leaders and financial experts forecasted that the brief "new norm" would eventually revert to the pre-pandemic world. We hung our hearts, albeit temporarily, on universal terms such as work-from-home, work-from-anywhere, work remote, E-commerce, video meet-ups, Zoom, and hybrid events. For 18 months, that was the plan.
That no longer seems to be the case at all. Fast forward to today, and these terms have taken on a more substantial permanent meaning. Work from home or remote work is simply working. E-commerce is now plainly commerce. Video meetings and Zoom meet-ups are just meetings.
As the pandemic surges and continues to run rampant, unabated for the most part, organizations across all business sectors are beginning to understand that survival in the new normal and future relies on counterbalancing between physical and digital landscapes. Data will become more significant because all businesses will need to engage, work, buy, sell, market, collaborate, partner, and evolve instantly to align with ever-changing and evolving enterprise and consumer behaviors.
Diversity and Equality Will Increase
The previous summer of discontent marked by protests and demonstrations has driven the discussion of diversity and equality to the forefront. When we examine organizations that are more diverse than those that are not, we can see that data confirms that businesses and workplaces that embrace diversity are more successful. These various organizations are also much more innovative. The world is changing. It is growing smaller, and therefore, it's just a matter of time before organizations must embrace ideas from divergent ethnic groups if they want to remain competitive for dollar and mindshare. Ultimately, a larger creative pool will create better products, services, and solutions.
In addition, diverse teams can help to evolve a company's culture by offering multiple and divergent thinking processes. These new ways of doing business can elevate creative solutions, anticipate and build in risk management, and emerge stronger. Most economic opportunities arise as a result of the conditions and needs of the general population. Businesses that employ diverse teams will be better positioned to take advantage of new opportunities or create them.
Let's not forget how to manage the decision-making processes. In the old model, businesses often limited decision-making to a small but powerful silo and information channel. As we have learned, those at the top of the decision-making mountain can fall by the wayside due to the pandemic or some other unfortunate scenario. If there is no succession plan, the business can lose its position. Crisis leadership is a reflection of insufficient planning, which companies should avoid at all costs. Every level of an organization should have a culture whereby a host of individuals are granted elevated decision-making authority, with a higher sense of purpose, weight, and skill level. Often, this means the doors of diversity are essential from ethnicity, gender, ability, creativity, and individuality.
Marketing Pivots from Digital to Physical
The pandemic brought an increased need for digital transformation, including the evolution of consumer behavior. That process is not only underway, but from all viewpoints, it is likely here to stay. The digital world's online marketing and sales aspect has raised the stakes for marketing strategies, and as a side effect, the vast number of people engaging online. Everyone and anyone can buy, compare, learn, engage, entertain, and respond, which can negatively impact consumers. In short, the abundance of communication channels can overwhelm consumers resulting in a dilution of marketing communication goals.
A couple of months ago, surveys confirmed that brands and marketing teams reported that approximately 50% of the targeted online community were missing or did not see the ads. Alternatively, online service providers such as Xfinity increased their bandwidth capacity to deliver speeds as fast as two gigs. AT&T also revamped its offering to include much faster download speeds. The increased capability of download speeds may not matter in a world where consumers receive more than 10,000 ad impressions per day, which is much more concentrated than the 3,000 ad impressions of the pre-pandemic era. Therefore, brands must understand that to reach enough consumers to impact their bottom lines, they must counterbalance digital and physical marketing strategies.
Homeworkers now make up to 50% or more of the workforce, and while they may operate home offices, their online time is likely a set of reasonable working hours, with the remaining time given to web surfing for personal needs. In such an environment, marketers and brands should contemplate using a pivotal brand strategy, where digital can lead and be bolstered by the physical. For example, businesses can introduce digital ads by sending a direct mail offer with a particular call to action that directs the consumer to a specific online destination. This two-prong tactic is one example included in a central marketing strategy. More areas in the physical or traditional aspect of marketing such as radio, television, newspapers, or magazines add to the mix and aid in reach.
In today's environment, businesses must become and remain agile, engage more diversity, allow creative decision capacities across multiple teams, and use various marketing mediums to reach a larger swath of the target market. Simultaneously, they must embrace new technologies that aid in the advancement of their goals. It's challenging but also rewarding. Thanks for reading "How to Remain Competitive in a Changing Environment!"
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