It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a year since cities across the U.S. shut down because of COVID-19.
Lockdowns. Quarantine. Mask mandates. Years ago, if you had told me 2020 would have gone the way it did, I never would have believed you.
If you’re like me, you’re more than ready for things to get back to the way they were. But at the same time, we know that in some ways life will never be the same.
So how do these changes impact you as a business owner? What do they mean for your marketing, your sales process, and your business’s future as a whole?
Below, we’ll explore some of the ways the pandemic impacted consumer buying behavior, as well as a few tips you can follow to reach customers where they are today.
A Few Ways the Pandemic Changed Consumer Behavior
One of the first things that changed when the pandemic hit was the way consumers connect with others.
Social media usage skyrocketed, with 321 million new users during 2020. More and more customers used virtual calls to connect with friends, family, and even businesses. In fact, 72% of companies report an increase in client collaboration over virtual communications like Zoom.
Shopping as a whole has been significantly impacted since COVID-19. Not only is online shopping an increasingly popular option, but customers place a higher value on personalized shopping experiences (whether they’re purchasing products online or in-store).
This clip from the Mindstate Marketing Hour Ep. 3 breaks it down clearly:
The biggest impact the pandemic has had on customers, however, is in the mindstate they have when they purchase products. Mindstates are the temporary state of mind consumers experience when they shift from rational to emotionally-driven decision-making.
There are 18 mindstates, as laid out in my book Marketing to Mindstates. Since COVID-19, more customers are falling into 3 specific mindstates.
By targeting these new mindstates, you can increase your marketing impact without investing too much in strategies that might lose their effectiveness as the pandemic (hopefully) becomes a thing of the past.
1. Cautious Security
The first mindstate we’re seeing more than ever is centered on one simple thing: safety.
Right now, there's so much volatility in our lives. Even with the vaccine, fear of the virus continues to impact consumer behavior. We’re afraid of getting sick, of another shutdown, of losing some of the freedom we’ve gained since 2020.
Many customers are looking for comfort and safety and security in places we might not as much. They want a place where they know what to expect—where they can put their worries aside.
The relief we feel when we are free from worry is the basis of the Cautious Security mindstate. These customers are driven to achieve a sense of security by minimizing their chance of making a mistake while pursuing their goals. In this mindstate, people will look for strategies to help them achieve their goals in a way that helps them mitigate risks now.
Watch the video clip below to learn more.
2. Cautious Empowerment
Yet another thing the coronavirus impacted is our sense of control.
So many things are up in the air now. Unemployment is an increasing concern. We don’t know if our kids’ school will stay open for all of next year, when things will get back to “normal,” or whether the virus will ever go away.
The less in control we feel of the world around us, the more we seek out brands that give us control. So it’s no surprise that more customers are falling into the cautious empowerment mindstate.
These customers are driven by the desire to feel capable and equipped to take on life’s challenges. They want to avoid restrictions when making choices is the basis of the Cautious Empowerment mindstate.
If you can help your customers feel in control of something, whether it's picking the experience they want online or having a kind of multiple choices they can go through when they're engaging with your brand, that's also something that you should be dialing up.
After all, we may not be able to control whether our family gets COVID-19, but we can control how clean our house is or how safe our car is.
3. Optimistic Engagement
The third mindstate involves engagement.
For months now, people have been stuck in their homes. For the most part, they weren’t able to host large gatherings, throw parties, attend events, or go on vacations. Even simple things like going to a soccer game with your kids wasn’t an option for a lot of people.
So now that the worst is over (fingers crossed), we’re searching for enjoyment and relaxation. That’s where the optimistic engagement mindstate sets in.
Customers in the Optimistic Engagement mindstate want more than anything else to feel captivated, excited and absorbed in activities. When in this mindstate, people seek to feel engrossed and captivated while reaching the key goal they desire.
If your product or service can help release the stress of everything happening, you’re going to stand out from the other guys. Here’s an example of what that might look like.
Speak to New Mindstates with Timely Expression and a Timeless Purpose
Now that we know the 3 mindstates our customers fall into, we need a timely expression to connect with them. But what is this timely expression, and how can you create it for your business?
Timely expression is communicating right now, while these mindstates are highly relevant. Start by just listening to your marketplace. Find out what products and services make sense to them in this new world. Spend time with your consumer to see which mindstates they fall into. Then, communicate how your product/service makes sense in this new world to this new persona.
Evolve your strategy to meet your consumers where they are. Help them see the ways your product or service meets their three desired emotions, how it fits into their world right now.
Another key thing to do is connect with your timeless purpose: your why. As I stated earlier, today, what you stand for matters. It’s important. Today, customers want to connect with companies that they relate to.
People have a fundamental why, including you. Think back to the thing that made you start your business in the first place. What inspires you? What’s your passion? Why does your business matter in the world?
In today's world, we business owners are so interested in making the next quarter that we forget why we started it in the first place.
Apply Mindstate Marketing. Get Dependable Results. Grow Your Business.
Theory is just theory unless you can apply it and get results. So now that you understand the three mindstates many customers now fall into, how can you take that knowledge and use it to get a consistent lift from your marketing?
Buy the Mindstate Marketing Masterclass.
I created this course to help business owners from all backgrounds learn how to apply Mindstate Marketing to their organizations, gain a deeper understanding of behavioral science without having to be an expert, and stop wasting money on marketing tactics that just don’t work.
If you want to learn more about how COVID-19 impacted customer mindstates, be sure to watch the rest of the Mindstate Marketing Hour Episode 3.