Is your business ready to catch the wave?

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There’s a brightness about the future right now. The Covid-19 vaccine is being rolled out in many countries around the world and businesses in industries that could see only darkness last year are starting to spring back to life. But is your business ready?
If your business downsized or pivoted to survive, how easy will it be to ramp back up or return to some of the core business you relied on prior to the pandemic?

Gearing back up can take time and businesses that are too slow off the mark risk missing out on opportunities.

This is precisely the challenge faced by many tourism operators, which will be looking to attract Australians once again now that the trans-Tasman travel bubble is in place.

Hospitality and events businesses are in a similar boat and will be trying to adjust their marketing messages back towards the joy of socialising and spending time with others.

Exporters face an extra layer of complexity because the Covid-19 situation differs by international market. It’s not easy, but by focusing on the following key areas you will improve your chances of catching the Covid recovery wave early.

Update your messaging

The way we sell our products or services needs to change once again. Most businesses shifted their messaging during the lockdown last year, whether it was to appeal to New Zealanders desire to buy locally or to remain relevant at a time many people were stuck at home.

With travel bubbles popping up and people re-emerging from their homes in some countries, it’s time for businesses to begin capitalising on the newfound hope many have.

We may not see a complete return to what we saw before Covid-19, but some industries are experiencing a resurgence as people overseas seek to make the most of the freedoms success over the virus can bring.

Promotions can once again celebrate getting together with friends and family to enjoy good times together.

Optimise online stores

There has been a sharp increase in the number of people shopping online in the past 18 months as national lockdowns and fear of the virus spurred many people to change their behaviour.

As a result, having a well-presented and easy to use online store is now critical. If you haven’t already, it’s worth exploring e-commerce options. And if you already sell online, then now is a good time to ensure is the buyer experience is seamless.

Make sure you have high-quality photos and engaging product descriptions. Ensure payment and delivery is straightforward. Take steps to ensure you can gauge the success of your marketing activities and measure conversions.

Country and region-specific marketing

For exporters, it’s more important than ever to have your finger on the pulse of each of the key markets you are selling into. The rebound from Covid-19 is vastly different depending on where in the world you are, and a message and product that might be well received in one country might be insensitive or taboo in another.

You wouldn’t dream of promoting a concert at a stadium in India right now, but the appetite for events that draw crowds will soon be greater than ever in places like New Zealand, Australia and the UK.

It’s critical to tailor digital messaging by country. Now, more than ever, one message used universally to promote your products in every country is not enough. The same goes for your marketing budget. Be prepared to regularly increase and decrease your spend in each country you target as the in-country Covid-19 situation changes.

Get your resourcing and systems right

Your marketing promises will be meaningless if you don’t have the systems in place to back them up. How fast can you ramp up and hire staff if opportunities arise? How easy will it be to increase production or get new stock in quickly?

It’s a good idea to get employment contracts in order and make sure you know where you will advertise positions.

Put some thought into how much inventory you will need to hold – If you only hold a limited amount of stock, then you will need to plan ahead more because of the longer delivery times resulting from recent disruptions to global shipping.

The recovery from Covid-19 won’t all be plain sailing for businesses, as the recent spike in cases in some countries demonstrate. But if the vaccines continue to be effective and businesses time their runs right in each market and country they sell into, then the light at the end of the tunnel may not be so far away.

Read more about Marketing: Are you timing your marketing right?

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James Heffield
James Heffield
Director of Bay of Plenty marketing and public relations consultancy Last Word. To find out more visit www.lastwordmedia.co.nz or email james@lastwordmedia.co.nz.

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