Never mind Plan B, brands need a plan C for Covid

covid_2How different does January 2022 look to January 2021? Swap Omicron with Delta and there are undeniable commonalities – albeit we had much tighter restrictions last year, although it remains to be seen whether Plan B will prevent the new variant from desecrating the already fragile NHS.

For businesses what is becoming abundantly clear is that we must learn to live with Covid. And in today’s uncertain landscape that means agility is the name of the game. Putting processes in place that enable pivoting on a knife’s edge to capitalise on whatever the twin forces of the pandemic and a distrusted global supply chain throws at us next.

Could Omicron be the variant that reduces Covid to cold status? The hope is there, but experts are saying that it is unlikely. Hopefully, it won’t be necessary but the old adage: fail to plan, plan to fail, is true.

Therefore, getting to grips with the new customer journey is critical and creating a roadmap which describes how to quickly react to ongoing and persistent change.

To do this there are for key steps and these should be the focus of planning for the year ahead:

1) Audit how the customer can now buy from you. Is it purely through physical stores or maybe online only? Do you have click and collect capability or home delivery? How else could you service your customer – maybe through product or service innovation – a subscription perhaps?

2) Identify any barriers to purchase and find work arounds. Do this by building hypotheses based on your data; a dose of common sense and your organisation’s collective insight and run experiments, run them quickly and learn fast.

3) Plot the new customer journey from need all the way through to post purchase evaluation. Be clear on all the touchpoints – think outside those that you control and map how you can accelerate the journey.

4) Ensure your data is fit for purpose and campaign ready in order to activate discrete marketing initiatives.

The good news is that while we can’t know what the future holds, we can have a very good guess at what the different scenarios look like. This means that the four steps outlined above can be planned in advance.

Richard-CalvertThen, if the worst was to happen and lockdown strikes again, it is possible to quickly and efficiently switch into lockdown mode keeping customers informed about how they can interact with you. This very act will initiate the new customer journey and you can move them through the funnel with personalised communications built around relevant missions.

Richard Calvert is co-founder of The Thread Team

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