New Go-To-Market Barriers Arise

5 New Challenges Brands Have to Contend with When Going to Market Post-COVID-19

The term “unprecedented” is bandied about as often as the term “Y2K” was mentioned in 1999.

But we are living through extraordinary times.

Everything has changed for everyone. Consumers and businesses; buyers and sellers; employees and business owners. The status quo has been rendered obsolete and the marketplace has changed. Again.

As we, the human race, adapt and adopt new habits that fit the new normal, businesses are struggling with new consumer expectations and shopping behavior and how to best pivot, augment, modify, and revolutionize the way they go to market.

But before being able to externalize the new process, businesses first have to internalize the new challenges and barriers in order to address them head on and turn them into opportunities.

We’ve identified five marketplace challenges brands should take into consideration in order to be successful, today and in the near future.

1. New Consumer Expectations and Shopper Behavior

There are a few catalysts that have completely changed our buying behavior and expectations in a short period of time. The internet was (and still is) the most disruptive change agent for consumer behavior to which businesses were forced to adapt. Social media—and, specifically, social commerce—is another point of disruption that has changed consumer behavior.

Today's landscape allows brands to create or source a product, design and package it, launch it on Instagram (or other channel), commercialize it, establish it as a brand, receive instant feedback from consumers (R&D on steroids), and eventually consider opening a B&M.

This type of reverse engineering of the traditional go-to-market strategy has especially disrupted the retail and fashion industry on the West Coast.

How does this apply to the now?

Social distancing, stay-at-home, shelter-in-place, quarantine—all these directives are the antithesis of the communal and experiential traditional retail experience. And retail is adapting.

Today and in the near future, we will see an increase in delivery options. We will see an influx of businesses offering curbside pickup. We will see more and more businesses ensuring that their products and services are available online for purchase.

All these things will happen (and are happening right now) just to address a major shift in consumer expectations and behavior brought on by today’s circumstances.

Traditional industries will have a harder time adapting to this new reality, because so many of our sales channels have now been disrupted.

2. The Importance of Having an Online Commerce Experience

Businesses that don’t carry their products or services online are struggling. Not only is our supply chain somewhat broken, but if the path to purchase is interrupted to the point where the final conversion point is changed and we don’t have a chance to fulfill the order, then businesses will fail.

Traditional industries will have a harder time adapting to this new reality, because so many of our sales channels have now been disrupted.

If your business relies on in-person conversion, that presents a problem. So how do we adapt? A virtual in-person experience. If your business relies on trade shows to cement new partnerships, sell to key accounts, or launch a new product, how do we adapt? Do we consider different means of outreach to buyers who are using digital channels?

The opportunity for businesses lies in the realization that a sustainable online presence is now essential for business operations. If you lack online capabilities, your business is not future-proof, it’s not sustainable, it’s not maximizing its channel of distribution strategy, and it’s not reaching its full potential.

3. WFH at Scale

Working from home, or remote working, has slowly become a more valid option for many businesses. What COVID-19 did to this category is nothing short of forced revolution.

Today, thousands of businesses are realizing that they can have parts of their workforce work from home and be equally as productive as they were in the office, in some cases even more so.

The flexible workplace is going to be tomorrow’s norm and the companies with the culture to adapt it into their processes will thrive and become more efficient and effective.

4. The Increasing Importance of Company Culture and Values-Driven Branding

We’ll continue to see a major shift in affinity for brands and businesses who focus on products, services, and a brand mission that is built upon resonant values.

Today’s social media landscape is fraught with tales of brands and businesses that publicly implode due to a toxic work culture and unsustainable business and employee practices.

The new workforce has different wants and needs than previous generations. Today’s millennials and young Gen Xers prioritize different core values than the soon-to-be exiting boomers.

We’ll continue to see a major shift in affinity for brands and businesses who focus on products, services, and a brand mission that is built upon resonant values.

Businesses that internalize family, community, spirituality, and sustainability (what we refer to as the four core values of the New American Middle) will be able to develop deeper relationships with their customers and employees, relationships that build affinity and drive loyalty.

One of the drivers of today’s changing marketing landscape is the current state of brand loyalty (or disloyalty) and how brands that stand for something (internally and externally) are positioned to have greater success in a marketplace that is moving rapidly toward pure commoditization.

Woman with face mask on ipad
Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash
Toilet paper roll on blue background
Photo by Claire Mueller on Unsplash

In unprecedented times (I did it again) like these, as shoppers, consumers, humans, we search inwardly and devote ourselves to things we can control and things that are familiar.

Our priorities change.

  • No longer is the new car a need, it’s relegated to a sometime-in-the-future want.
  • No longer is that extra bag a need. It’s now a want that can wait until it comes on sale.
  • No longer is that new iPhone a need. It’s now a want that can be delayed until the new series replaces it.

The fact is, the current circumstances have given us a bit of a reality check to what is important to us. What is really important.

At the end of the day, the things that are truly important to us are family, our health, our friends, and the ability to sustain those through a job with a living wage.

5. Uncertainty Changes the Hierarchy Between Our Wants and Needs

Businesses that understand and can adapt to changing consumer expectations and needs will be better positioned to create products and services that resonate within the marketplace.

And ultimately, that’s how a business grows, even in hard times.

If you want to know more about how [B]RIGHT can help your business go-to market with greater clarity and confidence, give us a call.