Customer Motivations Since COVID-19

identify customer motivations

In normal times, marketers try to discern customer motivations in order to create marketing that will position their product as a way to fulfill those needs. Products and services have both a functional and a socio-emotional component. The functional component relates to the immediate use of the product. For example, if I am hungry, I need food.

The socio-emotional component relates to how the product makes me feel internally or appear to others. In the food example, I may choose to eat a salad when dining with friends because I want them to think I make healthy choices. Or I may decide to eat mac and cheese because I am feeling stressed about COVID-19 and want some comfort food to feel secure.

Today, this marketing process remains the same, but customer motivations have shifted significantly. What motivated customers in the past may not work now.

Identify the Gap

Customer motivations exist in the gap between what I have/feel now and what I ideally want to have/feel. In early April of this year, German researchers asked people about what they wished for in order to uncover this gap. Going back to the food example, I am hungry now and I want to feel full. In regard to the socio-emotional aspect, I am feeling insecure now and want the approval of friends for my healthy choices.

What People Crave Now

The researchers found that the primary motivational themes in the age of COVID-19 are:

  1. Safety (remaining uninfected, financial security, etc.)
  2. Sociability (feeling of community, connecting with friends and family)
  3. Optimism (feeling at ease, planning for a positive future)
  4. Joy (zest for life, appreciation)
  5. Independence (freedom of movement, ability to go my own way)
customer motivations covid-19
WARC: “Beyond the Obvious: How to Make Your Brand More Relevant During COVID-19”

Differences by Age

Most age groups shared these broad categories, with the exception of the youngest, Gen Z. This group, age 16-22 are primarily looking for adventure, thrill and innovation and less concerned with security and being at ease compared to other generations.

Here are the driving motivations and least compelling motivations by generation:

Generation/
Age
Most
compelling
Least
compelling
Gen Z (16-22)Adventure, thrillCaring, protection
Millennials (23-38 )Inspiration, structureProtection, feeling carefree
Gen X (39-49)Sense of community, discoveryDiscipline, giving my best
Boomers (50-69 )Be unconcerned, be at easeThrill, adventure

Pro Creative can help you decide how to use these customer motivations to enhance your brand through creative marketing communication.

Emotions and Super-Customers

creating super-customers

Sure, you want your customers to be satisfied, but is it enough? New research from Harvard Business School says that satisfied customers are not sufficient to make a business truly successful. What is needed is to really connect with customers on an emotional level, especially loyal frequent buyers.

By discovering how your best customers feel in regard to your business and reinforcing those emotions, you can turn good customers into super-customers. Super-customers visit more often, spend on average twice as much and love to give you great reviews and recommendations.

Identifying Potential Super-customers

Go through your customer database or CRM and sift out one-time and occasional customers, leaving only those customers who buy regularly, make larger purchases and whom you can be confident are satisfied by checking complaints, refunds and reviews associated with that record.

Discover Their Motivating Emotions

Send them a little survey, asking about their attitudes and values in general. Don’t connect the questions to your specific brand because that could invalidate the results.

If you don’t already have data on their shopping behavior, ask questions about that too. For example, do they browse the website before coming into the store, do they tend to come in during sales, etc.

Look at the results and sort into emotional categories. For example, a majority of your best customers may be motivated by a desire to stand out from the crowd, feel a sense of belonging or feel secure.

Use the Information to Strengthen Your Connection

Let’s say a subset of your potential super-customers want to feel a sense of belonging. Your marketing strategy should incorporate community building. You could do this by coming up with a name for your customer community, and then encouraging customers to take selfies using your product and upload them to your website. Layer in customer loyalty rewards that are not just monetary but also experiential like exclusive events.

By featuring this user-generated content, you enrich your marketing and create a stronger bond with these customers. They are more likely to become super-customers, or brand ambassadors, trumpeting their love of your company to all of their social networks.

Pro Creative can help you put together super-customer strategies that will make a huge difference in your bottom line and new customer acquisition. Contact us today to get started.

Marketing Post COVID

marketing post COVID

As some states are cautiously (or not so cautiously) reopening, those businesses that have survived will need to navigate the new normal and figure out how to do marketing post COVID. Things are not going to magically go back to “normal,” so you will need to make adjustments to your marketing strategy and tactics. Some industries like airlines have been devastated, while others like home goods have skyrocketed. Regardless of where your company stands, but especially if your sales have suffered, it will benefit you to reassess your marketing post COVID.

Goals

Before the pandemic, you had goals for your business. Maybe you wanted to add a new product or location, or you wanted to break into a new market. If your business had to shut down, your goals will likely shift. Now, you might be interested in recovering some percentage of your customer base, changing the services you offer to adjust to new customer needs or improving your digital presence.

New Customer Needs

Your marketing post COVID will depend on new customer needs. Customer needs, attitudes and habits have changed because of coronavirus. For example, people are wary of being in groups of people, or even too close to one person. They want fewer people to touch their products and payment cards. Many people have suffered financially, so they may not be able or willing to spend the same amount of money they did in the past.

They want to be reassured about both business cleanliness and the way the company treats its customers, employees and the community at large. Take a look at your customers specifically and determine their new needs and fears. Try to determine whether your customer needs will be changing permanently or in the short term.

Positioning

Now that you have a good idea of the new needs of your customers, you can focus on re-evaluating your positioning. If your product or service was previously considered to be a staple, is it now look at as a luxury? An example of this in some places is Starbucks coffee both because of price and proximity. On the other hand, most people pre-COVID found themselves buying disposable latex gloves seldom if at all; now they are considered a necessity.

Maybe what you sell is considered to be an impossibility for your past customers. For example, you may run a bar and entertainment venue that customers think of as too risky to go to at this point. If you have the financial resources to ride out this period of extreme caution, great. But if not, think about how you can modify your offering through providing digital entertainment or custom cocktail delivery.

Competition

How does your company and its products and services compare to competitors now? Crises are great opportunities for new brands and products to break into the market because customer routines and assumptions are shaken up. You may be well positioned because of your price point, your technology or delivery methods.

Or perhaps your competitors have this kind of edge. If that is the case, your marketing post COVID will need to react with a change to products and services, delivery, price or added value in order to compete.

Product/Service Delivery

If you have a physical location like a store, you will need to make changes so that customers will feel more comfortable buying from you. Maybe this means you carry fewer products to give customers room to social distance. Or you could regularly disinfect and let customers know about it. Or you could focus more on delivering products to customer homes or digitally delivering services or content.

For help forging strategies for marketing post COVID, contact Pro Creative.