How Companies grow Resilience amid Covid-19 Pandemic

The transformations imposed by the pandemic require an acceleration to the digitalization process of SMEs' marketing strategies

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Internationalisation Great Lockdown SME Export International marketing International marketing

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The spread of COVID-19 has exerted a significant impact on businesses on a global scale, leaving many SMEs owners vulnerable and uncertain about the future. The landscape for small and medium-sized businesses is changing and their response to survive the pandemic differs, according to McKinsey. Their survey reports that half of SMEs have reduced the production of goods and services as demand weakens, while over one-third of SMEs are negotiating wage modifications with workers or revising payment terms with banks and suppliers.

Digitalization and Covid-19

The year 2021 represents a transition period for many businesses to move forward on where and how to do business. The most important transformation induced by the pandemic is the acceleration of digital transformation. As retail shifted online, companies have quickly adapted to reconfigure their operations and meet new customers' needs. The adoption and use of digital tools accelerated and paved the way for an opportunity to connect and reach customers even during the pandemic. Many companies have therefore made an adjustment to their supply chain and operation model: whereas for B2C this process might have been more complicated, B2B sales have substantially moved to remote and digital, making remote work as a new normal.
The disruption provoked by the global pandemic has therefore led to a reassessment of firms’ Marketing Mix strategies.

The benefits of Omnichannel Distribution

One of the pillars of the Marketing Mix which is going through radical changes is Product Distribution. Producers may generally dispose of two ways to reach customers: single-channel distribution and omni-channel distribution. Whereas the former implies that customers are reached by only one type of distribution channel, an omni-channel strategy aims at integrating various channels to optimize customers’ experience. Due to social distancing measures, online strategy is now a top priority for many companies, as social media quickly become a necessity.
Developing an omni-channel distribution system requires integrated e-business systems. For this reason, the implementation of successful online selling strategies is becoming a rapidly-increasing concern for SMEs. This is necessary in order to bring about a revival of their production in the aftermath of Covid-19.

The relevance of customer experience

Using digital tools is a unique opportunity to keep in touch with customers and continue to provide them with the personalized, relevant and current information they are looking for, virtually renewing customer experience.
Changing one's marketing mix with the goal of driving consumers toward online shopping therefore becomes a priority for SMEs. This activity brings numerous benefits to businesses compared to a more traditional approach. In particular it ensures:

  • Customer service

    Digital media, especially social media, allow customers to air their complaints to hundreds or thousands of friends or followers, as well as interact directly with brand representatives on many channels. Marketing agents consider how their social media specialists handle customer service requests, because bad experiences can significantly impact the success of a product, service or brand.

  • Less barriers to entry and cost minimization

    The ubiquity of digital and social media has lowered the barriers to entry in new markets. When advertising was only on television or billboards, it was not cheap to market a product. Now, companies can place advertisements on social media channels and in the results of popular search engines at relatively little cost. Companies can reach wide audiences for a small fraction of traditional advertising budgets.

  • Tracking results

    Internet marketers also have the advantage and ease of measuring statistics inexpensively, and almost all aspects of an internet marketing campaign can be traced, measured and tested. This is possible as online marketing initiatives usually require users to click on an advertisement, visit a website and perform a targeted action.

The digitalization of services and distribution/communication channels is therefore proposed as the number one priority for SMEs. Investment in this direction, together with the promotion of a culture that privileges the ability to respond to Covid-related changes, will be of fundamental importance for the productive recovery of companies after Covid-19.