USING YOUR DATA DURING COVID-19
Over the past month, if I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a hundred times… it’s a new world and everything has changed. I’ve also heard many self-proclaimed “experts” say that now is not the time to use your historical data for marketing purposes. On both counts, I must respectfully disagree.
There is a quote from Henry David Thoreau that is very applicable here: Things do not change, we change. Yes, we can all agree that the environment around us has changed and continues to change almost daily. In addition, our purchase patterns as consumers have changed. Many purchase decisions are based purely out of necessity – buying the brands we’re familiar with, but also new brands that are available and fill a need. Other buying decisions are based on proximity; specifically, restaurants, gas stations and convenience stores near your home. Last but not least, there are also increased emotionally-based decisions – motivated by supporting friends and other small business partners in your community.
We are also seeing more conscientious buying behaviors in regard to how dollars are spent – consumers are wanting to maximize the impact of each dollar spent and are more attuned to their monthly budget. Ultimately, consumers are being much more attentive to the choices being made during this CV-19 crisis.
The underlying fact is that we as consumers are still buying – with rational and understandable changes to some of our habits. In essence, a new buying eco-system has been established, meeting our changing personal, economic and social needs. Consumers are simply adapting to the current environment around them. They are not completely changing.
The question to marketers is this – are these buying decisions an anomaly? Or are we seeing adjustments that will stay with us long-term? That brings me to my next disagreement. For those that say historical data is no longer useful, I say that perspective is short-sighted.
What we need to consider is the strength of businesses’ long-standing customer data and the predictions that can be derived from that data at every level. And now, with the addition of pandemic-related real-time data, the power of understanding changes in purchase habits and identifying business opportunities is limitless. If you have access to your customer’s transactional data, you need to understand it, analyze it, and apply it.
This may come in the form of reaching out to loyal customers with a message of brand connectivity and customer safety. It might be seeing customer purchase patterns change in your transactional data and reconnecting with them to identify inventory changes that you have made. It might even be changing the way you do business to cater to people’s new needs and mindsets and inviting them to engage and try your brand.
Households are in a very persuadable and impressionable position at the moment. Businesses that find ways to adapt, stay in communication and show interest and efforts to help consumers through this time will come out on the other side with invigorated advocates. Not to mention lucrative data points to keep driving for success!
Data. It’s yours – use it!