There’s a saying that sounds confusing but is true nonetheless: “We don’t know what we don’t know.” If the previous year has taught us anything, sometimes things happen that we couldn’t have predicted, let alone know how to prepare for it. The global pandemic was an “unknown unknown” for hundreds of thousands of business owners who suddenly found themselves trying to adapt to impossible situations “on the fly.” 

That being said, while we can’t be entirely prepared for what we don’t know, we can still learn from past experiences by being more agile in our thinking and more adaptable in our execution. Let’s give a few examples of what we might see as “unknowns” in 2021 —and how we can adapt from a marketing perspective.

Unknown: Another Event Rocks the World

Whether it’s variations of the pandemic affecting the global economy, or a significant new issue affecting local communities and regional areas, disruptions will make us more cautious in our businesses. 

How to prepare:  

  1. Pay close attention to your numbers, and be aware of even slight changes that could point to changes in response. 
  2. Keep your finger on the pulse of your target market; be mindful of your customers’ state of mind so you can adapt to their changing needs and support them with your product or service.    

Unknown: A New Competitor Emerges and Affects Your Market Share

The concept of “disruption” is the mantra of startups everywhere—and even startups built around disrupting their respective market can themselves be disrupted by someone else. What happens if a surprise competitor starts eating away quickly at your market share?

How to prepare:

  1. Start and maintain a competitive intelligence program that monitors your marketplace for signs of new activity.
  2. Work on building a “moat” of sorts around your business by improving on the things you already do exceptionally well so you can solidify customer loyalty.
  3. Think about how you can specialize further and develop a niche, as niche markets are more difficult to disrupt.

Lastly, what do you offer that your current customers may not know about? Upselling them with additional products and services may help their business while growing yours.

Unknown: You Discover a New Target Market Serendipitously

Not every “unknown unknown” is a bad thing. Sometimes unknowns come in the form of untapped possibilities, like finding an unexpected new market. The danger of these kinds of unknowns is in failing to seize the opportunity before the window closes.

How to prepare:

  1. Test and re-test your marketing efforts, even when things seem to be going well. 
  2. Try bullet-testing small marketing projects to see what emerges, and be prepared to invest more if they produce successful results. 
  3. Use analytics to track your responses, click-throughs, and conversions religiously to notice shifting patterns in the early stages.

One key to not being broadsided by “unknown unknowns” is to have the most current marketplace intel possible. Wicked Bionic lives on the cutting edge of marketing trends and demographics to help clients anticipate and pivot quickly for maximum results.

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