Look to the Future

At this point being able to say I am fully vaccinated is a relief and a dilemma. I feel my whole body relaxing because the risks of the worst effects of the Covid-19 virus are lower. Now, the future is here. Wondering what the right strategies, plans and actions to take creates a whole new level of stress. There is a desire to return to what was normal pre-pandemic. But do I want to bring back the frenetic pace that I was working, just to keep up with what was happening around me. After about 15 months of slowing down and letting deeper thoughts surface as the pandemic progressed, the clients that are coming to TCW are ready to leap forward.

Looking backward at 2019 is a risk since customer and buying behavior shifted dramatically in the pandemic. Learn to do your own market research in your industry, local operating territory, customer segments, and specific niches. This is the first step that we take our program participants and advising clients since 2008 to the present.

Now is the time to contact loyal customers by phone, email or in person and ask them what they need and want in the coming months

  • Prepare five to seven key questions and actually write down the answers.
  • Go back and read the answers and mark the most frequently used words
  • Their answers are literally telling you

• what products they will buy

• why they need them

• when to deliver them

This current data will make it much easier for you to plan through the end of 2021. Frequently, the responses trigger deeper and more insights understanding of your customers that leads you to innovative ideas for new products or enhancements that lead to major growth steps.

Turn this information and your insights into an action plan and a budget. Then you can focus your work efforts. Combine the insights from customers with your expertise and experience to take your business to a much better place.

What Do New Frameworks for Marketing Research Mean the Whole Company?

With the release of the 2020 Census data, every corporation is dissecting the numbers to shape recommendations for executive teams on company strategy and objectives for the C-Team. Based on Beniflah’s research, marketing professionals over the last 30 years have communicated to the Latino population with the assumption that all Hispanics and Latinos are culturally similar and speak primarily Spanish. His book presents detailed social and cultural research highlighting the significant differences in consumer behavior by generational segments. First generation immigrants to the U.S. have the highest usage of Spanish language. However, second and third generations of U.S. residents with immigrant parents are bi-cultural and speak primarily English.

Essentially, U.S. advertisers are wasting billions of dollars to reach second and third generation Latinos, a valuable consumer segment. The 2020 Census is expected to document that 20% of the U.S. population is Latino. Assumptions that Latinos are a single race and ethnicity per U.S. Census data is not valid. There is a practice of about 40% of Latinos self-identifying in the Census process as “other” according to Laura E. Gomez, UCLA Professor and Director of the law school’s Critical Race Studies Program.

I ordered the book and have been reflecting on how more in-depth analysis of U.S. demographics impacts company strategy and objectives for smaller companies with diverse business ownership. My general response is that deeper understanding of the full range of diversity in the U.S. population opens up more opportunities for smaller companies.

  • Diverse business owners have a competitive advantage in serving bi-cultural and multi-cultural consumers. Owners need to seek out trusted data and insights to spot opportunities to expand their businesses, product lines, and industry presence.
  • Allocate budget to market research, refine customer segmentation to innovate and grow, and increase long-term company value.
  • More professionals with the inside knowledge of diverse populations and consumer behavior will be essential in all business disciplines and services.

However, the challenge to realizing the benefits of deeper and more relevant market research across diverse consumers will take a while to gain acceptance. The transformation into organization re-design and budget allocation will take even longer. My hope is that corporations aim for better informed allocation of budget to marketing research and communications.

The economic development, professional services, and public sectors also need to learn from deeper demographic research and published insights. Our small and mid-size companies need this deeper information to come out of the pandemic crisis period. Equipped with deeper insights into consumer segments, niches and micro-niches, they can better serve their own cultural communities and local economies.