How long has it been since you’ve done a temperature check on your marketplace? Do you know your customers well, and how they are feeling during this ongoing Covid-19 crisis, with elections around the corner, with limitations on interstate and international travel, or access to products outside our Australian’ borders? Do you know if they are comfortable with making purchases, and the impacts on their cashflow to obtain your product or service? Do you know if their decision-making flow and ability has been impacted by working from home / staffing challenges, or other physical factors?
If you are unsure of the answers to these questions, chances are it’s been too long since you’ve done a true check-in with your marketplace.
The importance of such a check cannot be overstated – it is valuable at regular intervals throughout any given year. While the effects of Covid, upcoming elections, or access to components / products form overseas will vary across B2C and B2B markets – some sectors remain largely unchanged, while others may be struggling to maintain momentum. Whatever your market, it’s crucial to keep a finger on the pulse of how your clients are feeling.
By doing a temperature check in your markets you have the opportunity to understand your customers’ situations, and in turn are able to:
- Be sensitive to their needs and know how to better support them during this challenging time
- Effectively communicate with your customers, in the right ‘tone’
- Continue to build relationships with customers and improve on the customer journey
- Progress and unpack new ways to engage with decision makers, and to anticipate how they will respond to your marketing touchpoints
- Plan and manage promotions which suit the current climate
The results of which are likely to improve customer relationships and perceptions of you, which will ultimately increase connection and sales both now and into the future.
So, what should you be doing to check the temperature of your marketplace?
- Actively reach out to your customers – Call your biggest clients and ask them how they are doing. Without any sales push intended, call them just to check in. Listen if they have time to talk, and if they are too busy, respect that too. A simple touching-base can provide valuable insight which you wouldn’t gain any other way.
Depending on your market, a survey (consider a tool like SurveyMonkey) with a few simple questions might give you the insights you need instead.
- Look at your sales results
What are they telling you? What are your customers buying, and not buying? For service-based industries, especially in the B2B space, what purchasing has been put on hold? What decisions are now pending? What are you hearing from your marketplace? Look carefully at your data and make inference from what it’s telling you.
- Use social channels
Utilise your social channels to gain insights from comments, likes, shares and other analytics. Compare these to previous periods – how does your social traffic compare? Seek to understand trends from this data.
- Look at your competition
Take a look at how the marketplace is responding to your competitors. Look at their feedback on social media platforms, and see if there are any learnings for your business.
- Take a look at sector insights in the media, and other reliable sources – such as your industry groups, economic development arms of local government, and ask your business networks too.
These are just a few examples of how you can gain insights into the current sentiment of your marketplace in order to understand how they are feeling, and thus how to engage with them.
If you’ve not been in a habit of testing the temperature of your marketplace, perhaps now might be a good time to reassess how you can better connect with customers, and truly hear from them, as strong customer feedback loops are essential to general everyday operations, outside of times of crises.