Strategies for the “No Normal” Reality

The “new normal” being bandied about is in fact not normal at all and not an accurate depiction of the times we live in. Teams must not attach themselves to any one strategy, new or otherwise, but instead remain flexible with plans as the facts change.

I’ve received enough purchase data from teams that are opening their buildings to determine that some of the assumptions they built their reopening plans on just aren’t the same as the reality. Right now, we are dealing with a period that’s not a “new normal”, but one that reflects “no normal”.

As we work to get folks back to stadiums and arenas, managing our sales efforts in a time of “no normal” needs a whole new set of ideas and understandings to ensure success. It makes sense to spend a few minutes on managing your strategy in a time of great change.

Let’s look at three things we need to do right now to set ourselves up for success.


There is a concept called “Emergent Strategy”. Emergent Strategy is an idea that says you start out your strategy with a plan, a set of milestones, and some action items. But once you get into the market, you are entirely willing to throw out the actions and milestones if you find they aren’t serving your strategic ambitions.

That’s an idea that should appeal to folks right now because in the time of “no normal”, planning is great, but execution is likely something that needs to be revisited constantly to reflect new guidance from the government, changes in attitudes and tastes from the pandemic, or buying patterns impacted by office cultures.

Hear the Customer’s Voice

I’m not sure what migration and office patterns from the pandemic are going to hold in the long term. Neither is anyone else, so people telling you that they know exactly what is going to happen now are lying, which makes the idea of research and market orientation so important coming into this new time.

We are going to need to listen to our customers, find out what they want and need from us now, and be quick to find ways to fill their needs and wants. It is important in every scenario, but in a time of “no normal”, it is likely to be a key ingredient in whether your business succeeds or fails.

Communicate Effectively

One challenge a lot of folks dealt with during the lockdowns was how to communicate, what to say, and when to say it. As we head into a period where changes are constant and there are ample reasons to talk to our customers and our market, we have a great opportunity to rethink our strategy and communicate consistently with our market.

In the period of “no normal”, let’s think about communicating with our customers in two specific ways.

First, let’s focus on value. Make sure that every message offers something of value to your customer. It can be a new seating section going on sale, new safety measures, or something that will be valuable for this customer to know. Don’t go generic and say, “everyone needs to know we are on sale.” Get specific to help your message cut through.

Second, be consistent. Too often, we only send a message when we want something, which is one reason why I show up in my customers’ inboxes with email messages on a regular schedule, so that when I do ask for something or have something to sell, I’ve given enough value to get through. Consistency of value creation gives me a better chance of getting someone to pay attention to my sales message, so make sure you are communicating consistently with a mixture of value and asking for sales.

The truth is that the next few months, or longer, are going to be a time when we aren’t dealing with normal, but “no normal”. We need to be sharp on our feet, ready to adapt, deal with new information, and get messages out so we can continue to serve the people that made this year without fans such a drain.

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