Building Ability to Adjust to Rapidly Changing Needs of Target Markets

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“Businesses that are able to remodel structures, processes and operations to keep pace with the changing expectations of customers will more likely than not engage customers positively, raise satisfaction levels and in turn benefit from long-term financial resilience,” – Neeta McGrath

Modern brands, businesses, and enterprises operate in changing world markets characterised by constantly evolving customer requirements and preferences, fluid business and economic environments, fluctuating foreign exchange rates, the advent of new technologies, generational changes in consumer behaviour, and different government policies. In addition, modern customers face a plethora of commercial offerings in every domain of consumption and therefore, have become fickle entities that can change brand loyalties in quest of better value for their money. In light of these conditions, brands and businesses need to adjust to the rapidly changing needs of customers and markets.

Expanding the concept of customer choice has emerged as a watchword for every business, in response to commercial competition. For instance, the quick service restaurant industry is acutely aware of evolving customer preferences and the rapidly changing needs of the market. This is manifest in the fact that leading operators in said industry are diversifying their menus to accommodate changes in customer taste and a preference for healthy eating practices. Premium food products and health-driven food processing is one way in which modern quick service restaurants are responding to emerging requirements in the market. The use of natural food ingredients is also helping said industry to conform to new customer requirements. This strategy is widely being replicated across said industry because traditionally it has been viewed as a purveyor of unhealthy food consumption patterns. This strategy adequately outlines the manner in which rapidly changing needs are dictating fundamental shifts in the industry’s operations and procedures.

In recent times, the financial services industry has taken steps to upgrade key aspects of its interactions with customers. We must bear in mind that globally, cash (paper currency) is yielding to electronic payment systems because the costs of handling cash remain disproportionately high for banking systems. An early form of electronic payments manifests itself in the widespread use of debit cards and credit cards. However, recently the trend points to contactless electronic payment systems and hence, the global financial services industry is building capacity to face the rapidly changing needs of its core markets. In fact, consumers are increasingly becoming reliant on cashless payments and the numbers of such payments are incrementally rising with each year. In light of the above, we may say that electronic payments systems represent the new horizon in handling monies and is indicative of the rapidly changing needs of customers that operate in such markets.

The global electronic media industry is a modern commercial behemoth that operates in every country. Radio, television, newspapers, and magazines represented the traditional means of media consumption for many decades. However, rapidly changing needs and the unassailable march of technology has enabled social media platforms, Internet websites, video streaming, and news apps to emerge as the flag bearers of change in the mass media industry. In response, most media enterprises have created and consolidated a definitive presence in the ‘new media’ channels in an effort to cater to the rapidly changing needs of the market. Internal processes and guidelines in media houses have been re-modelled to conform to the demands of the emerging channels of communication. The traditional means of media consumption remain significant, but appear to be giving way to the social media, mobile apps, etc. In light of the above, we may state that media enterprises have managed to execute competent operational strategies in response to deep changes in the consumer landscape.

Advertising and marketing strategies have undergone significant changes in recent times in response to rapidly changing needs and requirements. The traditional methods deployed by these industries hinged on creating one-size-fits-all campaigns that dominated the customer mind space. However, the emergence of discerning consumers and varied customer appetites and preferences encouraged the industry to focus on personalised campaigns to engage different customer segments. This change in strategy also emerged as a response to the use of different electronic technologies that enabled the industry to track all manner of customer preferences, consumption patterns, and market behaviour. Personalised human attention, as opposed to the one-size-fits-all approach, emerged as a key plank that drives modern advertising and marketing strategies. Therefore, we may state that the industry response to rapidly changing needs has been successful and has helped the said industry to bridge the gap between its past practices and its present stratagems.

Business attitudes towards the customer have undergone many changes, primarily driven by rapidly changing needs that have emerged in recent times. We may say that legacy business enterprises worked to impose their view of a product or service on customers, but this has changed drastically in recent times, wherein, businesses demonstrate an active stance to seek feedback from all levels of customers. In addition, modern brands and businesses have become more inclined to be transparent and accountable in their operations, because social media handles have created clear lines of direct communication between a brand and its consumers. Large commercial organisations have defied traditional thinking and now reach out to customers through a variety of electronic and offline channels. For instance, fast food operators often deploy daily offers of free beverages and complimentary food hampers to woo customers in competitive markets. This strategy represents a stark demonstration of the power of customer choice and lends credence to the fact that every business must respond to rapidly changing needs with alacrity.

The means of personal transportation have significantly expanded in the last five decades. This industry is one of the most visible among consumer-driven industries and definitive changes have emerged in terms of the products and platforms that are being offered by modern day automobile makers. For instance, major auto makers have announced initiatives to sell fleets of battery-powered vehicles in a marked shift away from gasoline-driven cars, buses, trucks, and two-wheelers. This action signals serious intent to drive policy shifts inside the global automobile industry because more and more consumers prefer to lessen their carbon impact on the natural environment. Similarly, heavy motorcycle makers are responding to rapidly changing needs of consumers by manufacturing smaller motorcycles designed to appeal to youth segments among modern consumers. We may state that these actions initiated by the automobile industry will cast far-reaching changes that will impact the future fortunes of the said industry, while significantly helping to reduce stress on the natural environment.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have surveyed some of the instances wherein, major industries have built capacity to respond to manifest changes in their respective markets. We may state that this examination corresponds to Charles Darwin’s theory, which propounds that only the fittest of animal and plant species will survive by innately responding to changes in their natural environments. Commerce and industry must view such survival as a critical element because an inability to perceive changes can consign any brand or business to oblivion. Corporate captains and brand managers must take cognisance of the strategies described above in an attempt to rise above the competition. That said, every business organisation must exert itself to refine the strategies that will drive its survival well into the future.

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