Have you tried to buy a bicycle recently? I’ve been researching a replacement for my 23-year-old road bike, and I have my eye on a couple of models. I did all my research, then went to the bike shop to test ride them. One problem, though. No bikes. They didn’t have a single bike in any size for that model. That’s when I learned that 2020 was the year of the bike.
The pandemic is changing the world around us, and having an outdated marketing presence tells the world your company isn’t ready for the new reality
I also learned that because of the huge demand last year, there is a major shortage. Manufacturers, unable to meet demand, fell woefully behind in production. In fact, when I asked the sales person about placing an order, she informed me that I likely wouldn’t receive my bike until 2022. I’m all for delayed gratification, but that one’s testing me.
It’s not just bicycles that are hot items. I hear golf is back in favor again. And everyone in our neighborhood seems to have a new puppy. Above-ground pools sold in a snap at the beginning of the summer as desperate parents looked for any reason to get their kids out of the house.
These consumer purchases (or sometimes rescues in the case of puppies) are lifestyle changes that have been stimulated by the pandemic and our need to social distance and isolate. If you’re stuck at home, no longer able to go to the movies or restaurants or visit friends or even family, you begin to look around for other forms of entertainment. Bicycles, puppies, golf and pools are four that caught our imagination and interest. There are others.
These changes feel like they’re the tip of the spear in a major shakeup of our normal lives. Sure, we may regret that above-ground pool purchase when we realize removing it is going to leave a crop circle in our backyard, but we’ve all learned a new way of living. And working.
In a consumer-driven economy, these kinds of changes can have huge ripple effects that thread their way down to the need for new construction and facilities. That means our industry is going to experience new opportunities that none of us had anticipated.
A similar event has occurred in the legalized marijuana market as producers are ordering grow houses at an incredible rate, many of them metal building systems, and most of them highly profitable. Ten years ago, few people could have anticipated the unexpected emergence of that market.
At the same time, new work habits—and by that, I mean working from home—are going to affect the market for offices and infrastructure.
In short, any reliance on our past sources of business can be dicey. For those of us who have built businesses based on repeat and referral business, we are now faced with the necessity of prospecting for new work. Making sure we have all our marketing and sales ducks in a row is essential to meeting the new challenges of the new marketplace.
Consider this, if your website isn’t mobile responsive or doesn’t show a project more recent than five years ago, or anything about your appearance to the world looks old and outdated, you are going to face a tough hill to climb. Prospects who aren’t familiar with your company are going to see an out-of-touch company that may not be able to meet their needs. That may be a wrong assumption, but if your market presence is dated, you may struggle to overcome that objection.
Now is the time to do a soup-to-nuts evaluation of your brand and market presence. For many of us, that kind of process can be very uncomfortable. What we had, we knew worked. What we’re creating doesn’t have the same certainty. So why change?
Because what you had before isn’t going to work now. We’re in a different world where puppies are running rampant and the roads are choked with bicycles and golf courses are no longer vast empty swaths of greenery.
As famous troubadour, Bob Dylan, famously said:
“The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’”