Change has arrived in the marketing industry, and it has come in the form of a worldwide pandemic now known as the COVID-19 outbreak. When things get back to normal and the coronavirus is under control, it’s highly likely that consumerism is no longer going to look the same as it did at the beginning of 2020. And, it shouldn’t; our priorities have changed, and it’s important for this to be reelected in the marketing strategies that companies use. Any good marketer knows that marketing strategies that are tone-deaf or out of touch is one of the sure ways to alienate a customer base and have the opposite to the desired effect.
So, what can marketers expect from a post-pandemic world, and how are they using the current world situation to their advantage?
People Are More Connected
One good thing to come from this pandemic is that it has brought more people together and really highlighted how connected we all are as humans. People are staying at home as much as possible to protect members of society that they don’t know in person, and we’ve all made sacrifices for the greater good this year. And, this new, connected mentality of ‘we’re all in it together’ is likely to spill over into consumer behavior and affect the way that people shop for a long time.
Many leading brands are already taking advantage of this new attitude in society, such as Nike, who launched a new campaign asking customers to play inside and play for the world – still sticking to their brand by motivating people to move, but to do it in a way that embraces this new sense of community and looking out for one another that has been brought about by the pandemic.
Brands and marketers need to figure out how to delicately balance getting their core message across while incorporating how the world’s attitude has shifted. Right now, consumers are more interested than ever in making sure that they are spending their money with companies who are committed to doing the right thing even when it’s difficult. This means that consumers might be placing more emphasis on supporting companies that have protected their employees throughout the pandemic or are sourcing products in a sustainable manner.
With more people staying home than ever before to avoid spreading the virus around the world, marketing strategies have seen a much higher focus than usual on creating content that is designed to create powerful online connections. One of the big advantages of this pandemic for marketers is that consumers have been shopping online much more often than usual, with a huge uptake in online shopping during the beginning of the pandemic that does not look set to slow down any time soon.
With consumers around the world locked in their homes with stores closed and no other option than to shop online, marketers have had access to a much wider range of data on consumer behavior, trends, and preferences that can be put to use when designing future marketing strategies both for the present and a post-pandemic world. If you are interested in learning more about modern marketers and how they use data to drive marketing strategy decisions, click here for some useful information.
During the pandemic, customer engagement has become one of the most vital marketing strategies. In difficult times, consumers are not going to be drawn to companies that appear to have simply forgotten that they exist. Marketers working for companies that were forced to close down and were unable to serve their customers throughout the pandemic have had to continue working in order to build relationships with their customers throughout the crisis through online engagement. Keeping a brand at the forefront of a customer’s mind for the right reasons has become essential throughout the crisis in order to ensure that businesses have a chance at survival when things go back to normal.
If your brand has been struggling to serve customers due to national lockdown and stay-at-home orders, social restrictions, or the simple fact that people are generally worried about going out and taking part in things, consider what your brand could bring to the table. Perhaps you could do something different by hosting virtual classes, seminars, online meetings, or video series to provide your customers with content that helps them through these times and encourages them to engage with your brand even if they are unable to make purchases right now.
The Human Factor
With the pandemic leading to a huge increase in working from home, it has been a wake-up call for most of us, with the biggest message being that at the end of the day, we are all human. Authenticity and value have been a key factor in the messages from many brands and during the pandemic, putting on a professional face has not been so important with everybody understanding that this situation has been difficult for everybody. Even major news network presenters have been delivering world news from their home which has led to a more personal connection between customers and brands. The pandemic has brought about a wealth of emotions and feelings for people and right now, human connection, empathy, friendship, and compassion are the most important things that many people want to see from the brands that they use.
Changes in B2B Marketing
Changes to B2B marketing have been coming for a long time and thanks to the pandemic, it’s more likely than ever that B2B buyers will demand to be seen and treated as partners rather than targets by their suppliers. Business buyers expect a very different relationship with your company due to the pandemic with more businesses looking to work with suppliers and companies that market a helpful, collaborative partnership to them rather than trying to sell them a product or service. Small businesses, in particular, have been quite hard-hit by the events of this year and are therefore going to be more attracted to marketing that offers support and the option to work together.
Events Will be Digitalized
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on social gatherings meant that marketers had to rush to turn physical events into a digital alternative. And, due to the pandemic, many marketers have begun to realize the advantages of hosting digital rather than in-person events with a range of benefits such as better data acquisition from attendees, broader reach, and the ability to extend the value beyond the date of the event alone. As a result, experts project that marketing event managers and other key leaders are likely to use digital events more often in the future, with hybrid models expected to take the lead in a post-pandemic world allowing for events to offer both in-person meetings and activities alongside a digital experience.
More Adoption of Marketing Automation
The pandemic led many industries that were lagging behind to increase their use of marketing automation tools. For example, marketing leaders in industries such as wholesale and manufacturing are expected to go a step further due to the pandemic and actively increase their investment in automated marketing tools and technologies to learn from the crisis and build better digital relationships and engagement. The COVID-19 pandemic was a huge wake-up call for many industries that had relied on traditional relationship channels for a long time only to find that these channels were often rendered almost useless when the crisis hit.
More Focus on Customer Retention
The COVID-19 crisis solidified the importance of loyal customers who become an advocate for a brand for many companies. Companies who placed more focus on customer acquisition and less on customer retention often suffered more during the pandemic when new customers were harder to come by due to job losses, uncertainty, and other economic factors caused by the crisis. This has led more companies to focus on investing more resources across the lifecycle of the customer. And the biggest impact will be seen in not only moving from focusing more heavily on customer retention, but going even further to turn customers into advocates for a business; using more customer insight and empathy to build more trust and credibility.
Why is Marketing Important During COVID-19?
Whether or not there’s a worldwide pandemic going on, marketing to customers is always an important aspect of running a business. But regardless of the impact that the crisis has had on your company, there are many reasons to keep on marketing during the pandemic. Continuing to improve and diversify your marketing efforts during the crisis can help you learn more about your customers, improve your relationships with your customers and other key business figures, get ahead of your competitors, and ensure that you are on the right pathway for success in a past-pandemic world. For many marketers, the pandemic has brought about an opportunity to get more creative, facilitate deeper relationships with customers, and be more strategic than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic led to unprecedented changes in many aspects of the world as we once knew it, and marketing is an industry that has been heavily affected in many ways.
Featured photo by pexels.