Warning: contents may have shifted during the flight…

julian-dufort-I4RKUKWRSC8-unsplash**This blog was originally published as a LinkedIn article**

“So… who are we talking to?”

That’s one of first questions every copywriter will ask you. It’s also the most important… so of course, it’s the hardest to get a clear answer on.

Real responses I’ve had to that question include:

“Everyone with a wallet”

“Women who go to the cinema”

“Men who watch sports”

(Don’t worry, this isn’t another article about how well you need to know your target audience. Well, it is. But not really.)

What I’m trying to say is that, in terms of this COVID-19 thing, there’s both a risk and an opportunity here in terms of knowing who your customer is now.

This virus has pushed the ‘reset’ button and restored us back to factory settings. Those reassuringly glossy customer avatars we’ve put so much faith in; all those needs, values and expectations – they’ve been tossed in the air during transit. And I sense there’s more turbulence to come. (You may want to be careful opening that overhead compartment.)

The risk: businesses may assume that they can continue to market themselves in the same way and to the same group they always have. Sooner or later, regardless of whether your marketing assets were created purely on “I know my customer” assumptions or using research conducted ‘before’, a look at your data may reveal that your messaging just isn’t resonating like it used to.

The opportunity: We’re all floating around in the same lifeboat here. The playing field is still far from level, but a great many businesses, large and small, will be ‘meeting’ their customers again for the first time.

You may emerge from all this, blink, look around and realise that the people you serve are quite changed. Customers may not want or need the same products or services – or may be using them in a new way. They may have adjusted to a new version of you that was created as a “temporary measure”…

Heck, it may even be a completely new group of people lining up at your door.

That’s not to say that where you left off is not a good place to start; a great many things may well have stayed the same. For some industries, any shifts will be subtle. Others will have been more structurally impacted.

Either way, any business’ first move must be to check in with their customers. New insights will need to be gathered and copy assets will need to be tested and reviewed to make sure businesses are still aligned with their customers.

Funny. That’s probably the one thing that has remained “business as usual”.

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