Strategy still the best way for SMEs to fight uncertainty

warehouse manager strategizing with colleagues and pointing at computer screen

The past year emphasized the importance of strategy, and communication with customers. An optimistic Julian Diaz, Skynamo’s chief marketing officer, shares what he expects from consumers in 2021.

 

The “wait and see” approach works in the short run. But only in the short run. Sound strategies provide certainty and direction, enabling businesses to act despite longer periods of uncertainty. We asked Skynamo CMO Julian Diaz to round up his expectations for the year ahead.

  

As a marketer, what were the biggest lessons you took away from 2020 that you would share with small businesses?

Strategy gives you an anchor in turbulent times – if you have a good solid strategy in terms of how you plan to grow your business, then you have something to refer back to when things get tough or uncertain. A solid strategy is a good foundation upon which to base decisions on how to pivot and still reach targets during challenging times. This way, you don’t go too far off-course from your long-term growth strategy for the sake of short-term gain.

Nurturing your customer base by engaging with them with helpful information and guidance, and consistently delivering value to them needs to be a fundamental part of your strategy. This ensures that when they face hard financial times and need to cut costs, your name doesn’t make it onto that list of products and services they can do without.

 

What other lessons will you be taking into 2021?

Do your research. Ask customers and the market what their challenges and goals are through surveys and interviews. This will help you to understand the market you are targeting and to formulate your messaging and positioning. This enables your business to speak with more confidence and consistency, which makes your brand stronger.

What do you stand for? Why are you better? How do you help your customers? It’s important for brand building that you remain consistent and confident in your messaging and market positioning.

 

How do you expect 2021 to play out from a market perspective?

I am optimistic. As the vaccines begin to be administered, businesses will feel more secure about making long-term investments than they did towards the end of last year. So, I expect there to be some pent-up demand realized due to businesses becoming more willing to spend now that there is more certainty.

 

What do you expect from consumers in 2021?

People are desperate to get back to something resembling normal – meeting face to face, going to live events, getting away from sitting behind a screen all day and going back into the office – albeit with the flexibility now of choosing to work from home (or anywhere!) when you need to focus.

I expect consumers to try to get back to normal and therefore – if financially possible – go back to normal consumer behavior and shopping patterns. There may be more online shopping, but people will want to go back to what life was like before the pandemic, so I do expect people to go back to the same amount or almost same amount of in-store shopping.

 

Our takeaway: Staying in contact with customers in turbulent times is fundamental to developing a sound strategy and staying on track despite uncertainty.

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A section of this interview originally appeared on marklives.com.