Orders for goods both in and out of the promo industry are on a significant rise. The consumer retail demand has given way to further advancing the b2b demand for hard goods. This has helped create unforeseen market stability throughout our supply chain. Many in the industry are still content with the idea that pre-pandemic supply and demand will return early next year. However, the present demand has moved the promotional industry as well as associated industries beyond what was the anticipated recovery for this year. But with this demand comes a need to better understand the customer’s market and where efforts should be focused.
This year’s demand has created new needs for customer success. The traditional customer, regardless of what vertical market they can be categorized into, is looking for heightened ROI. In any other climate where business cash was plentiful, budgets were balanced, and the market was stable, ROI, while important, might not be top-of-mind. But the delicate nature of the post-pandemic emergence means that every dollar spent must have direct, associated value.
Customers are also looking for expertise. This goes beyond being an expert in the field that you represent. This means becoming an expert in the client or prospect’s field. For example, a prospect might reside in the financial industry, and they understand that you reside in the promo business, but they have no idea what is going to produce success for their segment of the financial industry with the use of promo. This means that your expertise must double. You should learn about their industry pain points, understand what success as well as failure looks like, and get a sense of their market’s viability in the present climate.
What motivates someone to acquire goods has changed since the pandemic began. For the past year any use of goods was out of necessity for maintaining relative business operations. As a result, customers are driven by logic more than they ever have been. They are smart, tested, and cautious. So, the more logical the outcome, the higher the likelihood of doing business.
Another motivation ties into financial caution. Though the state of the economy suggests that financial caution is not as relevant as it was one year ago, a lingering effect of the pandemic is that businesses will be much more cautious about spending. They must see that every purchase has a direct financial incentive. Traditional forms of advertising such as print and digital have continued to maintain at lower-than-normal levels. This is because of the financial impact on businesses, especially small businesses. So, cost-effective, and financially considerate purchases are critical.
by Seth Barnett, VP Content Development