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Treat Everyone Like A New Customer

Posted by David Quigley on June 1, 2020

A new normal means new purchasing behaviors

It’s no secret, brick-and-mortar stores are taking a beating right now. And the longer “shelter in place” continues, the more consumers’ real-world buying habits will shift to e-commerce... delivery services... and curbside pick-up. So how will consumers behave when they actually start shopping in stores again?

Well, it’s an understatement to say that everyone is ready to get back out in the real world and start “consuming.” And when you combine that pent-up energy with the absence of any recent in-store purchasing habits, you suddenly realize this is a once-in-a-generation chance to influence purchasing patterns when they return.

Get Ready for the New Normal

Yes, consumers will eventually come back to the stores. But buying habits, like other habits, rely on repetition. And, just like muscle memory, they tend to “forget” when they’re not being used.

That sets the table for a whole “new normal.” What will consumers do when they return to restaurants, stores, the movies and more? Like it or not, businesses are essentially starting anew.

That’s why instead of slashing their marketing budgets many companies are reallocating funds. Some CPG brands are already seeing an uptick in purchasing (mostly from grocery store shopping).

But if we look at muscle memory in the body, for example, it takes about three weeks for us to “memorize” a pattern (like typing or the access code on your mobile phone). Likewise, the muscle memory that drives consumers’ purchasing patterns will take a few weeks to restore as well.

You can see these consumption muscles starting to return in states like Georgia that have partially reopened. Restaurants are back to 75% of normal levels, proving that consumers’ desire to get back out into the real world and use their purchasing power is strong. This gives us a window into the new normal.

How Can Marketers Prepare for the New Normal

One of the harsh realities of the COVID-19 crisis is that it will leave a long line of closures and bankrupt businesses in its wake. It’s truly unfortunate, but it means that a lot of revenue will now be going to other businesses. The ability to identify and engage customers who are looking for a “new home” creates an opportunity to attract them and their spending power.

Before COVID-19, retail advertisers focused on increasing store visits, or foot traffic. But after COVID-19, this “increase” should not be the number to key on. No, post-COVID, think of “conversion rate” and “cost-per-store visit.” Because every customer post-COVID-19 is essentially a new customer.  And that’s how we should be thinking about them.

Let’s face it, COVID-19 has changed society forever. The way we work, live and play is now split into pre-COVID and post-COVID worlds. And no doubt, history will look back at this crisis and this time as a sea change in terms of analytics. Imagine using tactics that weren’t even in your consideration set at the beginning of the year — and now they’re your go-to tools. Amazing.

Whether you need a new marketing strategy, creative or data analytics, J&C can help you prepare for this new normal. As a direct response marketing agency, J&C is experienced in motivating customers to act. With new customer behaviors and new consumer patterns developing, direct response channels and tactics should be built into your re-evaluated marketing strategies.

Contact me at dquigley@jacobsclevenger.com. I’ll show you how we’ve helped other companies like yours get through uncertain times.

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Topics: Behavioral Economics

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