Oh, the honeymoon stage of any relationship—there is no better place to be. It's the timeframe in a relationship when the romance is most intense, and the attraction creates an unbreakable bond. Here is where couples decide their togetherness is a lasting, forever commitment. Experts say that in a marriage, this stage lasts for about two years before entering into the other phases that begin to test the love and loyalty that exist.
One of those stages is termed the "Explosion" step of the relationship. Here is where a dynamic duo experiences job loss, illness, death of parents, major life-changing decisions, financial struggles, or change of heart in initial life plans. This phase is where world-altering moments occur in the relationship that will seemingly shake up the marriage. The effects can be for a day, a month, or years—no matter the length of time, there will be an impact.
There is no order or rhythm for when "Explosion" occurs. When it does transpire, defining what role the union will play should be factored in. Face with personal crises, the marriage is a source of strength or sorely worn out by the unexpected pressure of new roles, new hindrances, and new fears. Both parties must be willing to take on life's challenges and changes while still meeting each other's needs, to continue in a healthy relationship.
So, what does this all have to do with marketing, you ask? Great question. Whether we are aware of it or not, marketers are in a marriage with our audiences. We also will experience different phases of the relationship, and to maintain it, we must be aware of the stage we are in and how to navigate it best. Once we acquire a new customer, we begin in the honeymoon phase. Our campaigns, website visuals and content, social media persona, and communications strategy lured our audience in. We gave them what they needed, and in return, they gave us what we wanted. It's blissful until it is not.
Then enters turbulence. The unexpected happens, impacting both our organizations and customers, and we must make sense of the space we both are experiencing. It is "Explosion"! Can we agree that we have entered into this phase of our marketing relationships due to the shocking pandemic none of us saw lurking? We are all rattled and rolled by the ebbs and flow of COVID-19 with no real answers in sight, yet we must maintain.
Perseverance will look different for each company, and how each of our audiences defines that will also take on various forms. However, here in this moment is where we must be the parties in the relationship, willing to ensure the bond our audience has with our brands is valuable and a source of strength. As marketers, our duty is to assess the relationships we have cultivated, and in our present "Explosion," it becomes even more vital that we do so.
The pandemic has changed everything for our organizations and our customers. The question now is, "Do we understand how?" In our here and now, marketing must do more than its everyday drive for greater awareness, engagement, and sales. It must be a tool used to assist in gaining more insight and knowledge of our audience's needs—then utilized to meet them.
When our needs go unmet, value diminishes. Let's ensure our customer relationships outlast the "Explosion" and endure ready to take on the next phase.