We all know at a fundamental level that life as we knew it changed in March of 2020.
I believe we will all look back at it as a turning point. Yet, the further we move away from March 2020, I also think we will see with perspective that the turning point was wider and longer. That there were changes already afoot that were accelerated by the pandemic, not caused by it.
Like most crisis points in life, the crisis sheds light on things that are chronic. Because a crisis brings what is really going on into focus Forcing us to address it.
Pre-pandemic a lot of people used the word breakthrough when talking about transformational change. Funny the breakthrough is rarely used anymore. Just like we aren’t talking about a lot about viral marketing campaigns.
In 2018, I started using the phrase turning point instead of the word breakthrough. It was after watching a couple of The Great Courses series on turning points in history. Historians define turning points as a point or period where someone or something changes the trajectory we were moving along. The knock-on effect of the turning point is that it changes, well, almost everything in our lives.
One example they use is the invention of the printing press in the 1600s. Which made the communication of information more accessible to everyday people. Changing media, education and even religion. The internet was another turning point in history.
But I digress. Back to our current turning point.
Before March 2020 we were already on a trajectory of change in how we connect with customers. If the pandemic can be thought of as a standalone turning point, it was in how it accelerated these changes. Making it necessary to happen over night.
From a business perspective, these changes have been trending for some time:
Purpose guided buying decisions Customers not just buying, but aligning, with companies that share their values, or the support causes they support. Buyers expecting companies to demonstrate these values in all their engagements – customers, employees, partners, suppliers.
Customer centricity focused on engagement and experience A move away from viewing the customer relationship as standalone transactional interactions. Instead holding a wider look at the full customer journey. Where purpose is why, customer centricity is what and how.
Digital transformation The use of technology and data to create frictionless, relevant, and personalized touchpoints along the customer journey. Changes in business models. Consistency regardless of choice of channel.
Technical responsibility Transparency and choice with respect to the use of customer data and the technologies that utilize that data.
Your adaptability to the trends above may be an indicator of the overall health of your business post-pandemic. And it may help in your readiness for reopening physical premises.
You may be trying to predict how much business will remain online. As well as consider if you will regain any lost offline business. In truth, it will likely be a few business cycles before you probably fully know the mix of what returns offline and what remains online.
If you treat your offline business as an extension of an omni-present business, then you can be on the positive side of the changes these trends represent.
Here’s to a continued trajectory of growth and prosperity!
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