Inwood Manhattan as a Study in Community Marketing and What Worked as Well as What Did Not
What is Community Marketing?
Community Marketing consists of promotional methods specifically targeting gatherings of people who share something in common. There are communities that consist of hobbyists and others sharing a topic they like, while there can also be communities in the form of families.
Enter the Villain
Regardless of the type and category of Community Marketing there is that which is online, as well as examples of it offline as well. The Pandemic and all that we have faced in a world taken down by COVID.
In-Person Versus Virtual
Online communities flourished because so many were housebound making the computer/phones connection escalate because it provided a method of continuing to interact with communities, despite in-person activities plummeting greatly.
The Mood Can Change Quickly when there is the Presence of Challenges
Inwood Manhattan prior to the virus, was very community oriented in an in-person manner. New parents with their kids sought out other families like them. Interaction was at an all time high just prior to what at first was described as the Coronavirus.
Message Boards, Forums, and social media
All forms of online communication rose in popularity as communities became more active using their computers or phones. Certain kinds of businesses did well because they were digitally oriented, while others that required an in-person forum, did not fare well.
Companies that Pivoted with Digital Transformation Succeeded
Big brands had the budgets to be able to focus on adapting to the new communication restraints and there was a great deal of innovation, whereas if a business was small, it was not as easy for them to create digital solutions to managing their organizations online. Many businesses were functioning at a much lower level than before, and some companies had to close down permanently.
Inwood Manhattan Became a Petri Dish for Big City Meets a Small-Town Feel
Inwood Manhattan, is a neighborhood that although being urban and a part of Manhattan NYC, had a small neighborhood feel as well, likely due in part to being a place where small business entrepreneurs thrived.
What Kind of Businesses Survived in Inwood Manhattan
Like was the case with companies all over the United States, the Inwood Manhattan businesses that were able to adapt to reinvent how their companies were the ones who survived. Those that were unable to make the transition closed.
Impressive Transition for Some Businesses
An area of small business in Inwood Manhattan and other communities where in the physical fitness industry with an emphasis on exercise and the related. Specifically, there was a popular business dance school for kids, as well as another beloved company that offered yoga. COVID impacted both businesses, but one was able to adjust to the restraints brought on by the virus and the other was not.
Successful Adapting to COVID Restraints by Dance School
The business that pivoted was the one offering dance classes for kids. They had built up a strong base of loyal customers and because of this, were able to alert parents to the alternative way of working with them. Classes resumed as normal but with the digital twist. Analyzing the situation, it seemed in part, that parents, who wanted the best for their kids, saw the online classes as an opportunity to bring some degree of normalcy for their children.
Unsuccessful Reinvention by Yoga Studio
Although pre COVID the yoga studio was quite popular and had a good business targeting both adults and kids, their primary audience appeared to be parents more than their children. Though, they did do “camp” for kids. But it seems as though maybe kids were not their primary market. At any rate, although the “camp” approach worked for the Dance Studio, it appeared not to with the Yoga group.
Key to Adapting?
So, it seems as though both nationally and locally, such as in Inwood Manhattan, those businesses that were able to hold on to their core audience by adjusting to the needs of their customers now confined to their homes for a long period of time, where the ones that succeeded. Adjusting to new circumstances is easier said than done.
It takes innovation as well as requires analyzing the needs of the audience. It seems to come down to being clear on the “why” customers are with you and then giving them a new approach to that digitally. And it is interesting to note, that even small businesses, like giant corporations with eCommerce, maintained aspects of their digital approach, even as “normalcy” set in, with more in-person opportunities.
Community Marketing and the COVID Impact