Customer needs are changing. During the next few years we will have to fight an economic crisis as we are an export nation. This has a direct impact on the German labour market. Unemployment figures are rising, bankruptcies and further layoffs are likely. That is why customers are behaving carefully and cautiously when they make purchases in the new reality of life. Value and affordability of products and services determine the decisions of customers to spend money. Products and services as well as product and corporate communications need to be re-evaluated. They should be in line with the new customer needs and values. Accordingly, companies should offer a convincing value message in order to be successful. Of course, they still have the classic instruments of value communications, pricing and advertising at their disposal, but they have to use them in new ways.
1. developing a value strategy for each customer segment
In the face of economic uncertainty, the general customer consensus is that the value of products and services matters significantly. But it is unlikely that there is a one-size-fits-all approach to maintaining or improving perceptions of value, for example price or quality or adapted services. That is why each product and service should be assessed individually in interaction with the target groups.
2. locating your value levers
As the impact of Covid-19 varies widely across the country and internationally, you should adjust your prices, promotions, ranges, products and services to best serve local customer groups and customer needs.
3. making your commercial activities more agile
The peak of the pandemic in Germany may be behind us, but how we will recover is still difficult to predict. Agility – the ability to respond quickly to changes in customer needs and value perceptions – takes on great relevance. As part of building agility, you should carefully monitor the selected metrics that serve as reliable indicators. For this, levers should additionally be defined that allow for immediate adjustments. Boldly exploring innovative tactics in marketing and communications will ensure that you respond quickly to the changing needs of your customer base.
4. UPDATING YOUR VALUE COMMUNICATIONS FOR THE POST-CRISIS CONTEXT
In the face of changes in customer behaviour and needs, you are breaking new ground in communicating and creating value. First, use your unique value proposition as the basis for value communication that goes beyond simply communicating price points. Highlight the areas where you are best positioned compared to your competitors, be it the broadest offering, the latest products, the best customer experience, the best services. In addition, consider introducing offerings of new products for Covid-19 related occasions. As your value proposition to the customer evolves, so do your relationships with suppliers and distributors.
5. DEFINING TRIGGERS FOR VALUE PERCEPTIONTO SUPPORT RAPID DECISION MAKING
Identifying specific customer and competitor triggers upfront enables you to make decisions faster and implement them more effectively. Attempts to define triggers for value perception in real time often descend into chaos and can lead to ill-advised tactics. This is especially important if you rely on high levels of advertising intensity to influence value perception and ultimately customer choice.
6. IMPROVING YOUR TOOLS AND ORGANISATION
Analytics, client insights and systems play a central role in delivering impact through commercial levers. As this crisis unfolds, you are almost certainly improving current tools and building new capabilities such as automated reports to track client responses and digital systems to reach your clients faster.
As many clients will be forced to close shops and lay off staff, you might consider hiring new talents for your key functions (such as e-commerce and digital). New standards of working from at home could also open up talent pools across the country and beyond. You might reassess aid deployment decisions in the context of Covid-19, as the pandemic may have changed the factors that influence these decisions.