ALBANY TIMES UNION BLOG

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Demand Planning | Thoughts for the Future

Demand Planning

Prior to the start of this new decade, many local businesses viewed 2020 as a year for continued growth. However, the current state of affairs depicts a different scene.  The Conference Board announced last week that its consumer confidence index dropped to 120 in March from its prior 132.6 in February.  However, this downturn is significantly less than the estimated decrease predicted by Dow Jones. This better-than-expected consumer confidence most likely is a result of the longest economic expansion on record.

But still, stone cold facts remain – New York is currently on “PAUSE” and non-essential business doors are closed, leaving many business owners in despair. The majority of owners are begging the question, what is there to do now? The answer simply put? A lot. This difficult period of time should be viewed as an age of opportunity. Not only is there light at the end of the tunnel, but there is light currently seeping through a few cracks. Read on to catch a glimpse.

 

STEPS TO TAKE NOW

 

1. Communicate

We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again – communication is critical. When consumers tighten their budgets, your business should expand its communication efforts. Stay top-of-mind with your current customers. Instill a feeling of confidence in your products. Increased communication strengthens brand recognition. This method of marketing should be done tactfully and strategically, but with the knowledge that you are not expanding your customer base, you are maintaining it.

 

2. Build Out a Lead List

According to a study conducted by Borrell Associates Inc., 86% of local businesses stated that they are being negatively impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic and 42% of those businesses believe this negative impact will last 1-4 months. But what happens after those 1-4 months? Consumers will need your goods or services once again, and in new found fervor. Our advice? You should be working to build a new list of customers now, so you’re ready to hit the ground running when the floodgates open. Below are a few best practices for getting your list off the ground.

  • Identify your ideal client.
    1. Use your current clientele as a template for expansion. Avoid reinventing the wheel on who your target audience is. You’ve worked hard to establish a business that is best suited towards a certain demographic. Now, use this hard-earned knowledge to expand.
  • Collect your ideal client’s contact information in a central document.
    1. We suggest using an Excel document to house first names, last names, email addresses, job titles, company names and company addresses. If there is additional information that is pertinent to your business, add it!

 

3. Partner with the Times Union Media Group (or another media company)

If you are not overly confident in your marketing abilities, attempting to gain market share and gain new clients during an uncertain period of time is difficult to say the least. Partnering with a local media company provides you with advice, ideas and channels for promotion. Searching for new leads on your own is a great start but does not maximize the use of your time and can lead to slow overall growth. As we find ourselves in a crisis, marketing channels are booming. News sources such as timesunion.com have seen roughly a 30% increase in traffic throughout the pandemic. The public turns to leading, credible sources to gain information and insight. By positioning your brand in front of these new viewers, you are reaching a larger audience, gaining new customers and increasing your market share.

 

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS

 

Reap the rewards of your marketing and communications efforts. By working now to communicate with current clients, building out your lead lists and partnering with a media company to execute a formalized marketing approach, you will be in better shape than ever to gain market share.

In addition, plan for a recovery that is faster than anticipated. These are unique, uncertain times. While experts weigh in on what they believe is likely to happen to business in our country over the course of the next 6 months, no one knows for sure. What we can do is look to countries, such as China, who are slowly reopening doors to regain traction towards times of normalcy. China’s economy took a shocking dip, but six weeks after the start of the outbreak, consumption percentages across multiple industries are increasing… more quickly than anticipated. There is no denying that there will be challenges ahead, but work now to control what you can and avoid starting behind the eight ball when consumers reemerge.

Having been in business for more than 160 years, The Times Union is confident in its ability to provide expert level help to businesses as a trusted advertising partner. Does your business need help gaining market share during these challenging times? Through our parent company, Hearst, and our four other sister agencies around the United States, we offer the individual attention of a startup with the resources of a large corporation. Check out our digital services as well as our web and mobile services. If you have any questions about the Times Union Media Group or the Hearst Digital Agency and what we do, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

 

 

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