How Fleet-Footed Marketers Adapt to Consumer Behavioral Change

If ever there was a time for marketers to be nimble and brave it is now. In fact, maybe they need to hit the reset button altogether and carefully analyze in which way consumer behavioral patterns have changed. We know for sure Covid-19 has thrown it all upside down.

As lockdown has affected the way we live, adapting to the “new normal” is typified by the words of Unilever CEO Alan Jope “Many of our categories and brands moved quickly to replan their innovation,” adding “Some we’ve postponed, some we’ve accelerated. We can adjust to consumers buying in different channels, and we re-worked our communication to make sure that it remains relevant.”

Time will tell if we are in for a permanent change in consumer behavior, as marketers are tasked to see into their consumers’ heads. Social and buying patterns have changed, and risk aversion to spending is high, which helps give answers to marketing in the ‘new normal’, depending on how long it lasts.

Lessons learned

Learning from the likes of Unilever, we can take a few tips to help interpret consumer behavior to base our decisions on, for instance:

  • Do not fear failure. Be bold and take a chance on your gut feeling. If it is wrong, well you tried, but if you were right, the upside is rewarding.
  • Be experimental using creative approaches to changing trends in consumer behavior
  • Do not be afraid to pull the plug if it is not working and do it quickly.
  • Use the consumer to give you feedback. This will detach you from the decision and help validate the way you are attempting to bring your new proposition to your consumer.
  • Use data to help identify trends which will help shape your decisions.

As marketing great Phillip Kotler observed “Great marketers don’t just rebound from crises. They continuously reinvent business models and marketing strategies during chaotic times so they can adapt quickly as circumstances in the marketplace change.”

The big guess is which consumer behavioral patterns will stay, which will be transitional or be lost forever. Successful marketers will be those using fleet-footed tactics to exploit emerging trends, and by trying to predict ever-changing consumer behaviors.

This, for marketers, will be the key to success.

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