When venturing out into the world resembles a post-apocalyptic wasteland during lockdowns, and covid is still ever threatening on our horizons, only the nimble and flexible businesses have the best chance of survival.
The Covid-19 pandemic has rewritten and redefined marketing for this new age. Marketing and the way people do business has been fundamentally changed. However, marketing goals remain the same, whether it be generating brand awareness, increasing leads, or creating customer affinity, and ultimately growing and scaling your business.
Following are the trends that the Covid era has expedited, and how the marketing sphere can utilise and maximise these changes for the advantage of your business.
Mass Digital Migration
The Covid-19 pandemic propelled the adoption of digital five years into the future in the mere period of 8 weeks.
Gen-Z has already grown up with technology seamlessly woven into their lives, and now with other significant cohorts trying digital for the first time or radically increasing their usage, a mass migration to the digital realms has occurred. This is due to the need for consumers to turn to digital means and reduced-contact procedures to access their products and services.
This trend is not fading, even outside of lockdowns and isolations. It is a trend favoured to continue, which to a large extent is due to e-commerce often being more efficient, less expensive, and safer for customers than heading into physical stores.
Today, consumers expect their interactions with businesses to be frictionless, relevant, and connected. They like the instant gratification of getting what they want, and having the information needed at their fingertips. Now that consumers have had a taste of this immediate online fulfilment, they expect high quality and speedy service in all of their online endeavours.
For marketers and businesses this means rethinking how to connect and interact with customers. A stronger emphasis on e-commerce and digital channels is crucial. This includes a company’s online brand presence through digital marketing and websites, and the consideration for the role of direct to consumer e-commerce channels.
In specific terms of marketing, this mass migration to the digital lands of business naturally lead to the increased requirement for successful digital marketing.
Marketers need to adjust their offerings to meet these new expectations and opportunities. The ambition becoming to seamlessly deliver your messages through the engagement of smart devices and interfaces throughout consumers homes without coming across as intrusive.
Previously, it had often been common for marketing to be cut first during tough periods, with its principle accountability being to maximise ROI. However, especially during a pandemic, marketing is elevated as the driver of digital transformation, a key leader in the customer journey, and the voice of the consumer, which are all paramount to the accomplishments of other functional business facets. Without understanding the consumer and the environment they exist in on a fundamental level, whether during the good times or the bad, organisations cannot adjust to threats and opportunities as they arise. This is critical to successfully navigate the present and the future.
The pandemic has created a leadership culture of immediate collaboration focused on the urgent need for resilience. Marketing in this environment therefore has the opportunity to seize an ongoing role in this dialogue, driving businesses broader growth and innovation agendas.
Covid-19 has created the irreversible trend for marketing to adhere to a nimble strategy, embracing that of Agile Marketing. It has always been seen that technological development benefits from said Agile Marketing, rather than that of sequential or linear approaches. Creative processes that have long lead times along with traditional approval dynamics have become more constraining and outdated.
Digital technology has long been encouraging marketers to engage with consumers in innovative ways to meet their needs more effectively. Taking advantage of the new possibilities enabled by digital technology requires nimble mindsets and a bias towards action. They need to be agile.
In the marketing context, agile means utilizing promising opportunities and solutions to problems in real time through current data and analytics. Creating a speedy cycle of creation, result evaluation, and rapidly iterating campaigns to stay relevant and on trend.
For many large businesses, a glacial pace is the norm. Even though some may think they are working in an agile way, when you look closely you see they have just adopted some agile principles and therefore only reap some of the benefits. In terms of agile marketing the saying goes, if you are not agile all the way, then you are not agile.
In this era of disruption, being agile is ever more important. Agile marketing in marketing firms have seen an increase in revenue of 20-40%, and businesses have seen an increase in revenues in segment offerings and product lines grow as much as a factor of four. Not only that, but as the name implies agile marketing also increases speed. Where ideas took multiple weeks or even months to translate to customers, agile marketing practices can do it in less than two weeks.
We cannot talk about increasing and improving digital marketing without talking about social media optimisation. With Covid forcing people to stay home, a lot more time is spent online, and specifically on social media.
A huge boost has been seen in both organic and paid social media, because of social distancing. A lot of people have come to rely on social media for socialising and interaction, becoming more intimately familiar with social media platforms, all of which have seen a massive increase in their usage.
It’s not only paid content that needs expansion, but also other forms of engaging content. Posting content that relates to your business that customers will find engaging are excellent to help build relationships and remind them of your brand when you are apart. For example, recipes, workouts, or home beauty treatments if you are from industries involving food, gyms, or beauticians respectively. Making the effort to ramp up social media efforts can result in strengthening existing customer relationships and forging new ones.
Social media provides a sense of community, therefore customers are often interested to know what their money goes towards after they give it to companies. There is a heightened importance and focus on corporate culture, missions, and vision. People are staying home to protect each other and society as a whole, making sacrifices for the greater good. This mentality has bleed into people’s general mentality and is changing the way people shop.
Being seen on social media is imperative to generating brand awareness and reach valuable customers. Its importance has only increased in these pandemic ages and post lockdown eras. Building a sustainable and memorable social media strategy will give edge to those companies, and help them survive and even flourish.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) has always been important, but now with covid changing consumer behaviour it is more important than ever.
SEO has always been popular because with a relatively small initial setup investment, it is essentially free website traffic.
A lot of customers, with their new found understanding of digital landscapes, are open to researching and converting to brands they may not have tried before. Customers are searching and discovering the ones that are worth checking out in person and purchasing from. Hence the crucial importance of SEO. Allowing you to draw new consumers towards your brand.
The meaning of a mass digital migration speaks for itself when it comes to websites. If everyone is online, then that is where your business needs to be too. Your website needs to convey your business and all it encompasses in a luring and informative manner to make an impact and capture customers.
Customers no longer run to physical shops every time they need something. Instead they shop online, meaning those businesses with a strong online presence will instantly be ahead of competitors. Oftentimes, even if a customer does not make a purchase online, their consideration and research is carried out there.
For a lot of businesses, going digital-first has been a vague concept. But with the movement in the worlds trends, it is more important than ever for companies to have this digital-first approach. All new problems or opportunities should be approached with solutions that a digitally based.
Along with the digital marketing techniques mentioned above, having a solid website is central to a business’s online presence. Your digital store front is where all online marketing is transported to. So your website must encapsulate audiences with design and usability.
These trends and truths embody the need for a good digital blend, highlighting the confluence of strategies, operations, and technologies required to drive growth in a post Covid world. Embracing these truths represents the path forward to pandemic recovery and success.
A period of adjustment is ahead for those accustomed to past ways of conducting business and marketing. The underlying reality is that marketing and the way we do business has been fundamentally changed. The key to success in such an ever evolving environment is to not get left behind, and to remember that although mediums and strategies may be advancing, the base goal remains the same: prioritising the perspective of the customer.
Even before the pandemic interrupted our lives, we were already living in an increasingly digital world. The coronavirus has just exponentially accelerated this trend, and so it is time for businesses and marketing to play catch up.
Those who do not understand the way marketing has changed and lag behind will find it hard to achieve success. We must embrace the way the digital will shift businesses, and how to adapt in the short and long term.
Technology used to be considered opportunistic, but now it can be looked at as foundational. For help with all aspects of digital marketing, social media, SEO, and websites, Mata Digital is here to help. Experts on all thing digital, we can assist you with any facet of the digital world you require.