Make a mark.

Recent statements and projections by the Australian Prime Minister, ScottMorrison, are interesting, upbeat and questionable.

The core focus, if not primary cause, is COVID-19 and the related lockdownsand self-isolations.

References about “the otherside”, “spring-back”, “snap-back” and “bounce” areessentially subjective, and probably hopeful.

Australian business leaders may well recall, and be drawn to memories of thelate media magnate, Kerry Packer, at the time of a massive heart attack, whenhe reportedly “died” for some 20 minutes.

In a subsequent press conference and in response to a question about hisexperience, he declared, in his own imitable style:

“Believe me, son, I’ve been to ‘the otherside’, and there is nothing there.”

So, Prime Minister and all in commerce, once we arrive at ‘the otherside’ ifmay need a lot of “greenfield” construction. Achieving and sustaining “snap-back” and “bounce” will doubtlessly take time, money and resources.

In this journey there will be no definitive answers to the perennial question,which typically emanates from the rear seats: Are we there yet?

Many entities will not survive the transition.

Among the casualties will be established rules, conventions, relationships andsupply chains.

Clients and consumers will have been exposed to differing choices, experiencesand value-propositions.

Accordingly, new purchase routines and criteria will have been embraced andapplied.

PRESUME NOTHING

A total change is unlikely, and improbable. However, most aspects andvariables will be subject to review, refinement and development.

There will be little point in, “Scomo, from Marketing” (the Prime Minister)reprising his often touted past advertising campaign, when employed at TourismAustralia.

Having Lara Bingle, or any other attractive bikini-clad model hollering:

Where the bloody hell are you?

will highlight that, on the otherside, many will be lost – consumers andbusinesses.

Re-acquainting with clients and customers will be advisable, if notimperative. They will be an essential element of change, and the changeprocess.

Realignment of philosophies, values, missions, goals, objectives and targetsseems inevitable. In all likelihood the changes will be structural, strategicand, in many instances, substantial.

Supply chains, payment systems, service expectations, policies and practicesand people will be, or should be subjected to forensic analysis.

Capital adequacy, risk profiling, expected internal rates of return andinventory levels (and distribution) should, ideally, be assessed, determined,documented, declared and adhered to.

ZERO-BASED PLANNING

It will be prudent and appropriate to begin the planning process with a cleanslate, free from the encumbrances and limitations of past practices, butinfluenced by experiences, training and expertise.

DON’T WAIT FOR GOVERNMENT

The lock-down scenario and its many and varied consequences provide a soundbasis for reforms to business tax, superannuation, negative-gearing and GST bythe Australian Federal government.

Sadly, it will be a forlorn hope, unrealised, for those looking for governmentleadership.

Therefore, certain fundamental characteristics of the economy and marketplacewill persist because of inaction, inattention and a lack of resolve within thepolitical fraternity.

Individuals businesses and leaders may not be alone, but will do their best ifthey go for it on their own.

REVIEW, REFINE RESTRUCTURE

On the otherside, nothing will be immune to detailed analysis withinorganisations, big and small.

All twenty elements of the marketing mix will, or should be, subject to study.

THE PRODUCT / SERVICE RANGE

It is noticeable that throughout the world, department stores, supermarkets,motor vehicle manufacturers, manufacturers, media groups, accountancypractices, profession associations and service centres have all declared anintention to reconfigure (and in many instances, reduce) product/serviceranges.

Proposed smaller, narrower, and leaner offerings reflect the importance beingassigned to relevance, productivity, efficiency, effectiveness, financialprudence and longer-term viability.

Supply-chains will be revised, with greater emphasis on local production andsourcing. National and individual security will demand no less. Globalisationwill begin to wane and nationalism grow

The concepts of cross-subsidising and ambitious financial gearing are beingassigned to history in many cases. Products, categories and clusterings, andspace allocations will need to be closely monitored profit-generators.

Attendant structures, disciplines, philosophies and practices will be neededto ensure adherence and optimisation.

TARGETED AUDIENCES

A logical extension will be the need for determination of the profiles of,connections with and the servicing of primary, secondary and tertiary targetaudiences.

Old-style, long-established demographic and psychographic determinants willinevitably be obsolete, and replaced with more relevant commoncharacteristics.

This aspect alone will isolate and highlight to many management teams, justhow little they really knew about previous preferred clienteles.

Better, more detailed appreciation of clients and customers will contribute tobetter understandings, more effective communications and interactions, andenhanced, more resilient and profitable relationships.

Standardised, sector-wide “value-packages”, which contribute to widespreadcommoditisation will be, or should be, cast aside.

COMMUNICATIONS

The principles of multi-channel and omni-channel communications will berevisited. Over-reliance on, or a bias to one or few of those channels will becorrected.

The strengths and weaknesses of ubiquitous social media will be identified …if not quantified. Poor returns and low conversion ratios will be noticeable.

Complementary and integrating tactics will strengthen the previous overridingdeficient strategies. The power and evocative, emotional nature of the spokenword will, in increasing number of cases, be recognised and deployed (orperhaps redeployed).

THE WORD IS “SUPPLY”

Well articulated case-studies of empty shelves because of panic-buyingresulting from the perceived threats of COVID-19 highlight the need for,benefits of and rewards for short, malleable, efficient and effective supply-chains.

On reflection and in balance, it became apparent that surges in purchasedemands exceeded both short-term supply and consumption. Consumers simply“hoarded”, in fear of a lack of supply, or an inadequacy of the supply-chain.

The other sixteen elements of the integrated marketing mix will be dependentupon, and need to both contribute to and complement the key pillars.

Deficiencies in, or the absence of, any, will ultimately result in sub-optimalperformances and the inability to be competitive and compellingly attractiveand different.

It will be well to reflect on the philosophy:

The objective of marketing is to make selling superfluous

NO ECONOMISTS’ RATIONALISATIONS

Foremost among the realities on the otherside will be that there will be nocurrency in the attitude on the otherside.

That is, there will be no scope for a fall-back position to “old establishedways”.

In the initial period, measures of relevance, productivity, efficiency andeffectiveness will be absolute. There will be no comparative measures in theexciting new normal. This is zero-base management real-time.

He, she, or they, who are first will be best, preferred and winners, on theotherside.

Imagine, if you will, there will be no purpose or capacity of looking backbecause many will conclude:

The past. That’s where I’ve been, and there’s nothing there (… ofrelevance)

Barry Urquhart
Business Strategist
(and sardonic scribe)
Marketing Focus
M: 041 983 5555
E: [email protected]
W: www.marketingfocus.net.au

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