With Pesach a few days away, it’s comforting to put your head down and take a much-needed holiday break from the COVID-19 fallout. But eight days, four cups of wine and dozens of meals later, what’s next? What should you prepare for?
Like many Jewish small businesses, thinking digital was always an afterthought; the appeal of seeing your ad in Jewish print media on Shabbat or being known as “THE community store” with undying loyalty has a warm and fuzzy feeling about it.
But in times of economic uncertainty for both consumers and businesses, that warm and fuzzy feeling can give way to cold, hard truths, such as how Amazon’s COVID-19 sales surge continues to grab your market share and disrupt small businesses unable or unprepared to compete. Or how e-commerce retailers are outperforming you with more convenient order fulfillment for consumers tied down to work-from-home and distance learning obligations.
So what’s next? What ’s your next big move? After Passover break, what’s your next play?
The next big moves start internally. Here are a few strategic Jewish marketing concepts for you that we’re bringing to our clients.
As of the date we publish this, there’s no end in sight for the COVID-19 criss. But we do know one thing: the economic landscape will experience a seismic shift.
Non-essential businesses have been forced to shut down, projections show that 3 million jobs could disappear and thousands of small to mid-size businesses will shutter, even with the financial stimulus.
But have a clear sense of direction that goes beyond just trimming expenses. Seeing the impending decline in theatergoer revenue from the shelter-in-place mandates, Disney, Dreamworks and other studios launched “Theater at Home” initiatives, releasing films direct to the public.
Not only does the revenue-stream go direct-to-studios, the nimble initiative provided a unique opportunity to test out a long debated initiative: releasing new films online, direct-to-consumer, and improving profitability. That’s moving fast with a clear sense of direction. (Lincoln Center, Royal Danish Ballet and other arts venues soon followed suit.)
Move fast. Think about what you can leverage now to drive revenue, increase cash flow and stay afloat. Brush off that dormant email list you neglected. Rethink your social presence and how “active” they really are. Build an e-commerce operation fast (yes, it can be done fast, we’ve done it!) Focus on quick wins.
Ok, you’re moving fast… now let’s head in the right direction.
Looking at your e-commerce competition or the scale of ramping up an online business overnight can be quite intimidating. But that hesitation is predominantly born from trying to solve every possible customer experience, outcome, revenue stream and opportunity in one e-commerce masterpiece.
That’s not practical right now and you don’t have the luxury of waiting. Be practical.
Rather than launch the perfect experience, start with the products or services you can fulfill on seamlessly.
If you’re an apparel retailer, build your e-commerce operation around your top ten best-sellers to start and excel on fulfilling sales, delivery and experience of those select items. Go to market fast and then, over time, scale up your operation to include more products, expanded services and iterative customer experience.
You don’t need a home-run e-commerce operation out of the gate. Double down on your best performers and then, once you’ve launched, build on what you’ve learned, what you’ve missed and what you’ve achieved.
Selling candy during COVID-19 is not essential to families looking to hoard toilet paper and stock pantries. However, providing gift boxes and gift cards to help clients keep, maintain and win-back business is ESSENTIAL. See the difference?
Reshape your marketing on being essential right now. Carpets and home decor are now essential “home improvement” businesses. Cannabis dispensaries are “essential” to health. Music stores, like Guitar Center, are now essential for “starting a new hobby at home”.
How essential are you? What makes you stand out as essential to customers stuck at home, kids struggling to learn and parents trying to work-from-home?
Creating an “essential” pitch is also marketing with empathy and shows how you care about your customers current situation.
Launch, learn, adapt.
At the end of COVID-19 crisis, your business can be forever altered in shape, size and scale. You may find you’ve created more profit online than your brick-and-mortar locations. You may have your competition dwindle or grow. You may see your consumers purchasing power contract or expand; according to McKinsey, rethinking purchases is the most likely outcome this year.
Be adaptable and open to change. We’ve worked with dozens of clients hell-bent on being a “store-front” or adamant on their brand “aesthetics”. So what can we expect when an unstoppable COVID-19 force meets an unmovable corporate object? Lots of damage.
Be open to trying new things and seeing what sticks. Try anything that helps your ROI end-game.
Try a new social project. Start up the blog you’ve been dying to write. Create a vlogging platform to showcase your product expertise visually.
And most importantly, know that being adaptable is a constant iterative process, not an endgame. The more you launch and test, the more you learn and adapt, the more successful you become when life gets back to normal.
TO SUM IT UP: Move fast. Be practical. Be essential to lives right now. Be adaptable. These are the keys to success in the midst of a COVID-19 world. So enjoy your Pesach holiday but plan ahead now for when those last bits of matzah end in eight days. Let’s get it done together.