IIn this content series, we aim to help marketers and agrimarketers alike find opportunity in these trying times, without looking overly opportunistic (no hoarding of hand sanitizer here). As such, we’ll look at some of the common challenges (the Lemons) we are all collectively facing and highlight potential solutions/opportunities (the Lemonade).
The Lemon: How Should Marketers and Agrimarketers Navigate the Return to Normal
The Lemonade: Return to Optimal, Not Normal
It’s been fascinating to take part in and observe the state of business during these recent “COVID months”. From a marketing innovation and evolution standpoint, I’m even more excited to see what will transpire over the next year or so. That’s because, in my opinion, the next 12-18 months may be marked by greater and more lasting change than we’ve seen in the past three.
While every marketer and agrimarketer was forced to change their strategies, tactics, behaviors, and actions this year to accommodate the new reality, as customers get “back to normal” it will be extremely interesting to see just how many of these same marketers and agrimarketers keep up the commitment to change, and how many fall back into their old ways.
As someone who has spent time studying and fighting to overcome habits and unwanted behaviors, I always found it interesting that it takes roughly 21 days to form new habits and much longer (at least 90 days) to break existing ones. As such, these past three months of COVID can almost be seen as a great marketing/agrimarketing detox, where we were all forced out of unwanted and unnecessary habits and required to embrace new ones that better fit our consumer and business realities. Unfortunately, what is also true is that past habits that have been “broken” are still very prone to coming back if they aren’t replaced with new, better ones. From a marketing perspective, this means that we must remain committed to abandoning the unwanted/unnecessary and embracing the optimal/valuable.
For example, on a recent call with one of our Ag clients, they shared that one of their agri-retail customers had found that the past three months were more productive for them because sales reps weren’t stopping by as often. In fact, they believed that they were so much more productive that they were now going to limit sales calls to only a couple of days a month, and all reps will need to schedule their visits ahead of time. So, while COVID has forced sales reps to cut in-person calls due to public health restrictions, how many of them will continue this valuable new habit once restrictions are relaxed. My guess is that it won’t be many, as the majority of reps will go back to equating value with the quantity of time spent on-site, versus the quality of said time.
At the end of the day, we all have a significant opportunity to completely reshape our marketing future, by committing to a new normal (instead of back to normal). And while it will take continued work and additional focus on change, it’s the only real way to make sure we don’t fall back into bad habits.