Buyers Are Facing New Endemic Realities

Buyers face endemic new realities
Tony Zambito

Tony Zambito

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4 Buyer Challenges Can Be Endemic For A Decade

For the past two years, we have been living in a state of an enduring COVID-19 pandemic.  New variants have disrupted countries, economies, markets, and industries.  Some detrimentally.  Business buyers have had to navigate new and mounting challenges.  Making planning less predictable.  Uncertainty reigns in business.

During this span of two years, we have seen writers and pundits posit the notion of a post-pandemic world.  Offering up how marketing and selling can succeed in a post-pandemic world.  And buyers, and citizens of the world, anxiously waiting for an answer to – “when will the pandemic.”

The prospects for a dramatic end to the pandemic have diminished considerably since the beginning of COVID-19.  We had all hoped there would be.  That we can return to what the world was like in 2020 and before.

Since this hope has diminished, buyers of today are facing new realities that are endemic in nature:

COVID-19 Transitions from Pandemic to Endemic

The inability, on a global scale, to vaccinate nearly the entire population of the earth suggests that COVID-19 will continue to sprout variants of concern.  It is a stubborn virus.  While future variants may weaken, as we hope Omicron indicates, they will nevertheless be disruptive.  Businesses and buyers will face disruptions in operations, talent development, and their abilities to retain customers.  A good portion of accelerated change in how work and purchasing get done will become permanent. 

Talent and Work Suffers Endemic Issues

When history books are written, the great resignation will have a chapter.  Throughout the remainder of this decade, employer-employee alignment will be out of synch.  Largely due to transitions in how people incorporate work into their daily lives.  I, for one, prefer to call this the great awakening.  The pandemic has awakened people’s views about work and how they perceive the value of the work they are performing.  It is easy to make this just about retail, restaurants, and hospitality.  It is not.  It cuts across many industries.  The shiny object of working 16 hours a day for a high-tech startup has become much duller in the past two years. 

Inflation Becomes Endemic for a Period

During the next two years, we will see inflation continue to be a factor affecting businesses and buyers throughout the global economy.  We have seen this story before.  Inflation is positioned as a temporary even short-term event.   It is evident now that inflation will affect many parts of the economy, and this will lead to a longer period of inflationary pressures.  The impact will put a crunch on the ability to keep costs of goods down for businesses and lower profit-making capabilities.  The job of the buyer will be getting much harder with less wiggle room.

Supply Chain Problems Are Now an Endemic Issue

Supply chain challenges and shortages have become more visible than at any time I can recall.  To the public, it is a good bet that many were not even aware the term existed.  Catching the news and seeing ships at sea stacked with storage containers for the first time.   The story, however, is much deeper than this.  I have performed several engagements in the supply chain space.  One key insight is disruptions in supply chains, for manufacturers and high tech, tend to have a ripple effect.  Especially in businesses that converted over the last few decades to just-in-time processes.  Simply stated, when a just-in-time component is not there just in time, it can shut down an entire manufacturing process.  Creating multiple issues.  Just ask car manufacturers today who are lacking in chips.  Another issue is several industries are caught flat-footed in the pandemic with transitions.  That is, transitioning from a labor force to an AI-driven robotic force.  The pandemic has put such companies in the middle nowhere land.  They cannot go back but must figure out how to accelerate the transition. 

What we have in 2022 is buyers and businesses are being faced with not necessarily a clean-cut post-pandemic world but with endemic new realities instead.  On four major fronts.

If your company is primarily a supplier to buyers, the ability to have keen up-to-date buyer insights and informative buyer personas is doubly important.  There are long-term, or shall we say endemic, implications you will need to address to retain buyers. 

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