A few days ago an illustration of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs showed up in my Facebook feed and caught my eye. It was marked up with a crayon pointing out “we are here” which I thought really cut through the fog of stories we tell ourselves, and changed the focus to how we actually feel about our #NewNormal where everyone’s priorities – maybe even yours – have shifted.

It’s fundimental that successful businesses satisfy customers needs and relieve their pain points, so these Covidian times demand a reassessment of how you position, promote and market your products/services to meet the #NewNormal needs of your customers.

“As a general rule, customers will focus first on the needs at the bottom of the hierarchy. Once those lower level needs have been met, their attention will shift to the need in the next higher level of the hierarchy” — G. David Dodd

These changed needs impact the market in surprising ways. Who hasn’t been mystified – and aggravated – by the panic buying of toilet paper and cleaning supplies in the past several months? Hoarding these items highlights our perceived uncertainty about the future, and as the empty aisles show that’s powerful motivation to grab on to security, wherever it’s available. “At least I’ll have that vestige of civilization during quarantine,” you can imagine shoppers thinking as they filled their carts.

Five Ways to Adapt 

How you can adapt will be as different as your products, services and markets. But it’s not about the product features, it’s about how customers feel and what motivates them to action. How you can re-position your product or service to meet your customers #NewNormal today? 

Here are five ideas to get you started, but I’m sure you can come up with many more appropriate to your business. 

👮‍SAFETY 

Ensure a safe environment to do business, whether you operate in a physical (masks, hand sanitizer, deep cleaning) or virtual (enforce SSL, required passwords or other appropriate security on all sessions) environment. 

🔒 SECURITY 

Position your product or service as essential to improving your customers’ need for  security. Demonstrate how it is the foundation they need to build on. Make sure they can count on your product or service delivering.

👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 BELONGING

Find a way for customers to feel part of a community; convey how they can build and sustain networks and connections. Invite them to a Facebook Group or another forum to host the conversation and facilitate connectivity.

🥇 ACHIEVEMENT

Do well by doing good, and let customers share the glow. Consider donating a % of sales to a pandemic relief organization or fundraising drive. 

💵 VALUE

Ensure your product is priced right, that customes know they can count on it being delivered seamlessly even during difficult times. Reward old (and new) customers with special promotions (BOGO, pay-what-you-want, reduced rates, sales)

As our #NewNormal evolves, as it will, you may want to revisit this needs–motivation–solution analysis. That’s a good practice to follow on a regular basis in any business climate; today it’s an essential one.

This post also appeared on LinkedIn.

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