Covid-19, Marketing Strategy

A Key to Sustainable Marketing Strategy by Firm in COVID- 19

Market situation in present time:

We talk about different marketing strategy under different market conditions and most of the firm use diversified strategic approach as per market situation. Offers also vary by looking into the demand supply ratio. Company change their strategic decision in terms of selection of products, price and distribution system and also they restructure their market segmentation and positioning. So this is a common platform of every business cycle, and business opportunity also depends upon economic situation of the country.  But the present scenario, all strategy fails because of lockdown situation due to COVID 19. Manufacturing system partially stop, distribution systems are getting hampered, supply of raw material was not taken place. Now this is not that economic slowdown market system break, it is a situation which collapses all the chain system. As a result the firm crisis develops in terms of production, selling or marketing and that reflect the economic crisis of the firm.

Challenges of the firm:

In this regard what could the probable strategy of the firm to handle and overcome the situation. Because in this situation buying behavior of the consumers get reduce. A statement published in Harvard Business Review (2009) and commented that we’ve identified patterns in consumers’ behavior and firms’ strategies that either propel or undermine performance. Companies need to understand the evolving consumption patterns and fine-tune their strategies accordingly. During recessions, of course, consumers set stricter priorities and reduce their spending. As sales start to drop, businesses typically cut costs, reduce prices, and postpone new investments. Marketing expenditures in areas from communications to research are often slashed across the board—but such indiscriminate cost cutting is a mistake. At the time of slowdown, we have examined the disposable income, feeling confident about their future, trusting in business and the economy, and embracing lifestyles and values that encourage consumption. So this is basic model to understand buying pattern of the consumers.

COVID-19 situation in India

Now if we discuss in context of Indian market where 70% people have an income limitation and unemployment level is higher and recent problem COVID 19 a long lockdown scenario most of the company are not in a position to operate properly. So for large corporate it is big challenge to retain their customers because now local player are getting edge in the market and they understand the psychology of the consumer in recession time. On the other side level of unemployment increase and there is no control mechanism. For that tendency towards preference buying will surely affected. Now the relationship between consumption pattern and demand supply are getting affected.

How firm should sustain:

In this regards some important measure can be taken by the marketer leaders, challenges and follower. These are they have to emphasis on short term investment by looking availability of local resources as result the price mechanism system can be control and the firms need to take extra burden and also try to avoid  long term investment because this time need immediate return to manage working capital of the firms. In terms of product development decision more emphasis has been given on essential products rather than premium. As I already mentioned that in this situation people do not have capacity to access money for purchase of premium item rather they should prefer the common item where price is in their control. Monitoring is required by the marketers that they must balance effort to pare cost and shore up short term sales. In Indian market it is very much applicable because highest number of consumer comes into small income group and tries to make up their immediate necessity. Marketers need to streaming product portfolio, improving affordability and bolstering. Now come to the customers mind prospective. In India also we find that large corporate do huge promotion of the product to attract new customers and retain their existing customers. What I suggest in this COVID 19 situations marketers can changes their promotional structure by looking into the scenario. More emphasis can be given on sales promotion rather than advertising. It should be maintained through middleman like wholesaler and retails because they are the ultimate people who deal with direct consumers. In this lockdown situation the role of company sales people affected. Therefore, if marketers’ offers through middleman than it can influence the existing customers to develop a bonding with the company and by their word of mouth communication, new customer may attract, for that company need not to pay extra. They can cut down some cost of advertisement and put into the sales promotion. It will also help the large firm to maintain a corporate social responsibility in this situation and sustain their brand image. Now the question arise about distribution pattern, what I suggest the most important techniques of distributions are breaking down the large chain and make the supply by following short roots, develop temporary warehouse as per the market demand, allocation of more local trader to maintain the distribution network in a small cluster. So the above discussion may help the reader to understand the market survival policy in such condition in India. (Reference- Quelch. J   & Joch.K (2009), How to market in downturn, Harvard Business Review, April issue).

So in summarization the strategy may be

  • Emphasis of short term investment instead of long term to get immediate return
  • Emphasis on essential product rather than premium.
  • During downturns, marketers must balance efforts to pare costs and shore up short-term sales against investments in long-term brand health.
  • Streamlining product portfolios, improving affordability, and bolstering
  • Development of win –win policy for the exiting customers.
  • Emphasis on sales promotion rather than advertising.

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