Prof. J. Shanmugan Retail and Marketing
Marketing Strategy during Covid-19 and the Way Forward
Though the current health crisis has a legacy in the past, but with advanced medical and IT infrastructure, this unprecedented crisis has been a big jolt to the entire world. Business across the world is facing numerous challenges due to draconian lockdowns and normal life came to standstill in many places. Mental health is severely affected in all age groups compounded by fear psychosis. I believe this is the right time for self-introspection, transformation and also to capitalize the opportunity. A lot of debate is happening in media houses about vaccination and clinical trials, on the other side discussion is about life and livelihood. In the economic front, there has been a big blow to all the business enterprises.
Consumers across the globe have had a difficult time, and their attitude towards shopping may be changing due to this novel experience. This Covid-19 crisis taught so many lessons for every stakeholder, especially how to manage life with bare minimum resources and thus created great insight into the saving habit, which proved supportive during health crisis like COVID-19. With thorough investigation and due diligence, consumers heading for a new normal. The scope for the purchase of consumer discretionary items will face tough times in the near future. However, in the long run, it’s very difficult to predict the customer’s mind which is always a black box.
The whole industry is expecting revenge-buying from customers in the post-lockdown scenario. We have witnessed pent-up demand for few sectors, which are currently being experienced by few countries. Now, every individual has to make a wise call on the future be it as consumer spending or in their investment behavior.
Online businesses, Omni-channel marketing, AI & Machine learning and augmented reality, etc., are growing at a rapid pace, often causing knee-jerk reactions at frequent intervals due to poor IT infrastructure and digital divide in developing and under developing economies. But this COVID-19 crisis has meant that the online is the only way-out for many activities and business processes due to the norms of social distancing and quarantine measures. Hence experimentation in online shopping has become mandatory for all, including laggards who usually take buying decisions after a prolonged period. The scope for conspicuous business models and their benefits to customer is very transparent to all the stakeholders currently. Higher likelihood of hybrid models of marketing activities are going to be increased in all enterprises in the future.
I do believe in the famous quote “we don’t grow when things are easy, we grow when we face challenges.” Having negativity isn’t going to change the vulnerabilities, which entire industries may face in the near term, hence, marketers should work towards the new normal and maintain positivity in the business culture for sustained development.
Always, sustainable and continual growth is praiseworthy for the whole eco-system, not the bubble market. Judicious consumers with sensible approaches, changing lifestyles and aspiring to the next levels should be purely organic in their development. Then, the overall growth and success for all the stakeholders of business enterprises, which includes customers and marketers will become a reality. As per history, after every crisis there are disruptive innovations, new product and services, business models and new ways of approaching towards life, marketing is no exception to this. The strategic way of handling the marketing mix elements is the key to success in the market.