You’ve set your goal and objectives and looked at the world around you. Now we need to zoom in on your customers. Who are they? What is influencing their lives? And, more importantly, their buying decisions?
How has the pandemic affected them? How has it changed their thinking? Are they older adults, moving into retirement? Are they teens that will be off to college soon? Are they a new homeowner? Where will they be in three to five years?
Think about global influences as well as what’s happening in your region or community, depending on your market. What did your customers move away from over the past year? Perhaps higher priced items? What did they embrace? Are these changes likely to continue? Consider historical influences as well. When the economy tanked in 2008, how did that affect your business? What happened in the years after?
The chances of life as we knew it getting back to “normal” are slim. What can you incorporate into a new normal that will build loyal customers and an expanded base?
Yes, those are a lot of questions but don’t just throw up your hands. You know more than anyone else about your business and your customers, so set aside some time to ponder and make your own predictions.
Now, organize those thoughts beside each of your objectives to start thinking about timing. Here’s an example:
When the economy crashed in 2008, customers avoided a popular but pricey shampoo you sell. Within two years though, most started ordering again. In 2019, that same item was among your most profitable, but in 2020, orders were minimal.
Your objectives include increasing sales and profitability, so although you figure the item will become popular again by 2021, you don’t want to lose any customers this time. What tactics can you use to make sure they all come back? Or even to expand your customers for this item?
How about a deal for your past customers that includes a free shampoo delivered to a friend? Yes, that will cut into your profits for 2020, but remember you are working on a ten-year plan.
Look at each of your objectives along with global and customer predictions. Consider what to do first, last, in the middle.
Other Articles in this Series:
Planning Part 1 – Setting Goals and Objectives
Planning Part 2 – Environmental Scanning
Planning Part 3 – Consider Your Customers
Planning Part 4 – Timing Strategies and Tactics
Planning Part 5 – Scenarios