COVID-19 has introduced the term « new normal » and its related habits into the global lexicon. As a result, marketing teams around the world have strived to deploy innovative strategies to keep pace. Now, as some countries regain a sense of pre-pandemic normalcy, marketers (maybe even you!) Are faced with a new challenge: permanent changes in consumer behavior caused by COVID-19. From more time spent online to changes in customer expectations, quarantines and lockdowns have dramatically affected people. While it may seem overwhelming as you seek to adjust, there are some common “post-pandemic” trends worth discussing that can help guide your strategy for 2021 and beyond.
# 1 deaf marketing is out
You’ve probably seen a viral story about a brand tweeting something thoughtless during a crisis or dramatic time. More likely than not, it was something planned days or weeks in advance. However, the effect is noticeably negative. A similar example would be an organization’s “news hijacking” or callous exploitation of news. Yet another would be for companies to go about their business in times of crisis as if nothing had happened. These behaviors have gradually become more and more obnoxious, but COVID-19 has accelerated the need to get rid of such deaf marketing.
In its place emerged more empathy. At the height of COVID-19, businesses around the world have approached the situation with sensitivity. Sometimes you might have felt inundated with emails, tweets, and blogs with this messaging. For the most part, however, people welcomed him. And by showing compassion, companies have always been able to market their products and services.
In some cases, they have offered solutions to help prospects and customers get through the COVID-19 crisis. For example, at Lynton, we provided free advice to businesses working from home for the first time. Other examples included the provision of discounts, additional communications and adjustment services. Many marketing directors noted that injecting humanity – whether you are B2B or B2C – was and will remain essential to retaining current customers and building brand value to acquire new ones.
# 2 increased focus on employee health and engagement
COVID-19 has not only changed the way businesses treat customers, but how they take care of their employees. Much of this internal communication responsibility falls on the marketing department, making it an important trend that is only gaining momentum. For example, alongside management teams, marketers have developed transparent messages to keep company employees up to date with the situation, including how they are dealing with it and more. Other companies have developed wellness programs to keep employees happy and engaged while everyone else was working during a pandemic. These programs offered free fitness classes, mediation, extra days off, counseling, virtual events, and more.
# 3 A transition to more frequent and unique online experiences
As COVID-19 sent people indoors, internet use increased to a save 70%. Currently, every minute, Americans generate 3,138,420 GB of Internet traffic. This shift to increased online activity may have been one of the biggest shakes for marketers in 2020 (and still is). This is because it was a direct replacement for in-person events. For some businesses, that meant finding ways to hold a traditional conference, trade show, or similar event and get it live. Others, whose entire business model revolved around in-person activity, such as gyms or brick-and-mortar retail stores, had to completely revise their strategies.
Even as the pandemic abates in some parts of the world, marketers can still capitalize on increased online usage by getting creative in their efforts. Stop and think: can you do something about video conferencing, like having a branding workshop? Can you create a series of videos similar to a talk show to explain products or concepts? Could you take a hybrid approach to a previously all-in-person event, expanding your audience and diversity? Either way, now is the time to experience more frequent and unique virtual experiences or events.
# 4 increased personalization on the web
As noted, digital demand has increased in 2020 and is holding steady. But because so many organizations were struggling to gain attention online, personalization became crucial. Indeed, by adding personalization to their marketing, Ecommerce businesses have seen their online sales increase. Contextualized experiences were already a demand of the younger generations who have grown up with technology, but COVID-19 has accelerated it for all customers. Consumers know businesses have personal data, so they want to think about every interaction they have with them.
But what does it look like exactly? Some ideas:
- Capture as much information as possible about prospects and customers
- Create the right content and send it to the right person
- Use of real-time data to quickly detect changes in demand (help with “just-in-time” personalization)
- Map a complete customer journey for different audiences
- Use personalization in an omnichannel experience (think: first names in SMS messaging, company names in an email, etc.)
- Creating dynamic content on websites to provide varied and targeted content
- Align individual and collective goals throughout each customer’s journey to eliminate silos between departments
- Human and emotional being in messaging in addition to personalized tactics
# 5 invest more in digital marketing and other technologies
According to Forrester analyst Jay Pattisall, “marketing technology, analytics and advertising technology will now be the basis of all marketing strategies. « Whereas all the previously mentioned trends are rooted in the use digital marketing technology, this statement makes sense. Without the right marketing tools, teams can’t be as proactive as they need to be and rather responsive to what’s going on around them – something that is detrimental to leadership.
In addition, the use of different marketing platforms allows businesses to create the personalized and contextualized content needed to cope with the increase in online activity. It can help you create a more human and empathetic message. Likewise, you can dig into reports and perform optimizations based on the exact behavior of your customer. It can help you meet consumer demands and provide better experience. So if you’ve been hesitant to pull the trigger on a solution, whether it’s messaging software, marketing automation, or SMS tools, you might want to give it some thought.
Perhaps the best trend is the last bonus. Despite COVID-19 which is shaking things up for many teams, marketing optimism is at an almost record level since the start of the pandemic. Big brands are now thinking about what has changed and what is changing and are creating initiatives based on that. If you consider these trends, you should be able to climb that high. If you would like to start by discussing everything described here, please do not hesitate to contact us today.