Marketing Strategies: Facing the Challenges, Seizing the Opportunities
The Facilities Services market is constantly changing, and FM businesses need to evaluate and change their strategies accordingly. The challenge always lies in understanding the market, so that organisations can identify where they want to play and win.
As Covid-19 swept the world, people underwent an emotional rollercoaster. People experienced a whole range of emotions started from feeling scared to being hopeful, concerned, confused and skeptical. This cycle will continue for foreseeable future so it’s important to remember emotional and mental exhaustion when reaching out to customers or other organisations.
The pandemic caused a huge shock to the economy and every individual, company and government reacted to this shock in different forms resulting in unpredictable or NIL sales, low or no margins and nontransferable value.
UK Government created new policies on daily basis and will continue to set budgets and reforms. Changes were happening everywhere, and nobody escaped. Here are just some of the changes that happened within the span of a few months of covid19:
- 100+ contracts terminated
- 3x contracts extended or renewed with different terms
- 15000+ FM employees furloughed
- 1000+ FM employees redundant
- Many employees working long/late facing uncertainty
- 300+ fallen FM heroes
Many industries were destroyed during this time. My team and I had conversations with 130 senior stakeholders from the top 85 FM companies and 20+ Commercial and Government Buyers (Sep – Nov 2020), this is where the market stands!
More than half the FM organisations are planning to observe the market changes while one-fourth is putting in plans to survive the pandemic. Read More on Impact of Covid19 in FM Market!
The rest of the businesses, a small fraction of, are accelerating and growing during this period. It was obvious, many organisations simply reacted to the market and are in standby mode. Where do you stand?
One best marketing strategy during these tiring times is showing empathy and being empathetic. It might sound boring and basic. It was really fascinating to see many companies stood by their clients and offered/extended their support in tough times . This a strategy that any company can employ not just during pandemic but all the time. Have conversations, create connections, do not sell, and ask people if you can do anything to help.
Trends are also being created based on the varied reactions to market conditions. Everybody is pulling the market in different directions. Remember market, buyers, and providers are all confused! To make it worse, there is NO Facilities & Workplace Services industry body88
Yes, there is also a huge identity crisis in the Facilities and Management sector! Its going to be lonely battle hence I suggest the conversational approach…
Who are you marketing to?
What else – The market has completely changed, including who your buyers are. The government has become the biggest procurer and it is radically different post Brexit and Public Procurement reforms. In the commercial area, facilities teams are merging with property and real estates, some buyers have integrated with IT. Do you speak the right language to your new buyer? Be willing to learn and engage through conversations.
While the market is chaotic, as service provider you will need to find opportunities in a crowded Facilities service market. Every company is trying to find a niche while more and more organisations are expanding and joining hands. Where are you standing?
We live in a digital world and now marketing matters more than ever. If marketing is important, then marketers are of value. Everyone is being marketed to and now, everyone needs to be prepared for any possible change.
First, find out how customers reach you and find you. Study the marketing strategies already in place and analyse if they are the right options for your current customer base.
Go to the very beginning of the sales, marketing, retention and customer experience process and work through how the process works end to end. Your bid lifecycle only solves part of the puzzle! Find the gaps and leaks and map out your process. Think of ways to overcome these setbacks and bring about a change. Check whether your buyer getting mixed messages!
Optimise your Content
Optimise your marketing strategy starting from your thought leadership content, emails and blogs. Look at all your current campaigns, website, content and tailor it to the changing customer base!
Define your business by the people. Most organisations build their identity around the products and services they provide. But think of your business in terms of how you help your buyer (the person)?
Building a customer-focused business is key. How close are you to your customer? Gain your customers’ trust. Put in processes and steps to increase interaction. Add an element of the human touch in all interaction. Think of your clients as people and do not treat them as a transaction.
Look into your value engine types. How do you plan to grow?
- Innovation Engine – Create, Update, And Improve Offerings
- Fulfillment Engine – Deliver The Promised Value
- Growth Engine – Attract And Convert New Customers
- Monetization Engine – Expand/Ascend Existing Leads And Customers
Reflect upon the values your business embodies. Track these values and remove actions and processes that do not contribute to these values. Utilise value mapping.
Market a Company with a Soul
Every company has a mission. Think of your brand as a character and what you project through the brand is the soul of your enterprise. Faceless brands are boring and dull. It will not grab attention. Your brand is not just a logo. It is a character that represents the company values and flaws.
Gone are the days where brands had to have a pristine representation. Flaws are what makes us humans and adding this level of humanity to your brand will make your company more relatable to the customers.
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