Marketing, and the way we do business, has been fundamentally changed – possibly forever says Jet Saini. However, the goal remains the same: to generate brand awareness, increase leads, create customer affinity, and ultimately grow and scale our businesses
The Covid-19 global pandemic has forced us to change the way we live our lives and conduct our businesses.
The health crisis has impacted businesses of all sizes and everyone has had to adapt their thinking and approach, as well as the execution of their marketing strategies – probably for the long haul.
In this article, I will take a look at seven ways Covid-19 has changed the future of marketing.
1SEO and paid search
One of the most impactful ways the coronavirus pandemic has changed the future of marketing is in SEO and paid search.
The current health crisis is changing the behavior of consumers. Since people can no longer run to the shops for every little thing they need, most consumers prefer to search for stuff beforehand rather than browsing available options in person and risking exposure.
Search engine optimization has always been important because, after a relatively small initial setup investment, it’s essentially free web traffic. However, with the advent of the coronavirus and the changes in consumer behaviour, SEO is more important than ever. This includes local SEO, as well as local marketing in general.
Sadly, a lot of businesses will not be able to withstand the pandemic, but for those that do, customers are going to want to check online and confirm that they are still open before venturing out in public.
Lots of new businesses will pop up, and customers will want to search and discover the ones that are worth checking out in person, hence the crucial importance of SEO, local SEO, and paid search.
Ad spend has adjusted to respond to the shift in the way customers shop. As confinement measures were put in place around the world, cinema, out-of-home, and print advertising shrank almost instantly.
In the meantime, in-home media usage went up, including:
- TV viewership
- Streaming services
- Social platforms
- …and various other in-home media
Because of the way people shop these days, there is a higher focus on product features, specifications, and price. And with the consumer behavior shift online likely to remain post-COVID, marketers now have to focus more on advertising the right messages on the right channels.
For most businesses, going digital-first has been a vague concept until now. However, today it’s more important than ever for businesses to have a digital-first approach to all their marketing, including branding, user experience, and so on.
This is especially true for businesses that have been most impacted by Covid-19, such as the travel and tourism industry, retail – brick and mortar stores, restaurants, automotive, and apparel/fashion businesses.
So, instead of starting with channels, devices, and mediums, businesses must think less about technology and more about the people who will use it, as well as the goals they hope to achieve.
Simply put, digital-first is all about approaching new problems or opportunities with the assumption that all solutions need to be as digital as possible.
As previously mentioned, customers no longer run to the shops for every little thing they need. Instead, they shop online, and this means businesses with strong presences online will instantly be ahead of their competitors.
Due to social distancing, both organic and paid social media marketing has seen a huge boost.
A lot of people have started to rely on social media for socializing and therefore are now more intimately familiar with the different social media platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and more – all of which have experienced a massive increase in usage.
All of this has led to a higher focus on building and maintaining strong customer relationships, and marketers are looking for ways for more efficient and effective communication with their audience.
There is also a higher focus on corporate culture, mission, and vision. As we stay home to protect society, everyone is making a sacrifice for the greater good. That mentality will likely bleed into the way people shop from here on out.
That sense of community will drive more and more consumers to want to know that their money goes towards companies that are doing the right thing in the world.
For instance, they may want to know whether or not their food is sustainably sourced, how they are protecting their employees during the pandemic – and social media is a great channel to help marketers achieve these and other goals.
Much of the rise we have seen in webinars and digital events has been necessitated by the coronavirus outbreak. However, because of the shift in consumer behavior, these virtual events are here to stay.
Marketers are making use of digital event tools like Google Meet, Zoom, Go To Webinar, and Microsoft Teams to help them stay resilient during the pandemic. With tools like these, they are able to continue to offer value to their customers, even at a time when many of their best target customers aren’t buying due to frozen budgets.
This tactic of investing in relationships and building value is something that will likely continue long after the coronavirus is gone.
Even before Covid, more and more people were choosing video over all other types of content. Today, video marketing continues to grow at a phenomenal pace.
The graph below shows how ad spend has grown in digital video in recent months, while other channels have experienced a decline.
YouTube and other video sharing sites have seen a significant increase in usage and the video marketing space will continue to provide opportunities for businesses that can create high-quality, informative videos that resonate with their audiences.
7Doing more with less
The coronavirus has forced marketers to find innovative ways to do more with less. When it comes to getting the word out about their products or services, marketers need to be brutal with priorities and choose tools that are cost-effective.
They must look for technology solutions to help consolidate and move quicker with less while, at the same time, freeing up marketing resources to apply elsewhere.
This trend of doing more with less is set to continue in the post-Covid marketing arena as marketers will continue to focus on messages and initiatives that generate the most value for their business while increasing engagement with their existing customer base in order to strengthen relationships.
The bottom line is that marketing, and the way we do business, has been fundamentally changed – possibly forever. However, the goal remains the same.
So while we have to adapt our marketing strategies, whether we’re marketing to individual consumers or massive corporations, the primary goal stays the same: to generate brand awareness, increase leads, create customer affinity, and ultimately grow and scale our business.
The key to success in such an ever-evolving environment is to not get left behind.
We were already living in an increasingly digital world, and the global coronavirus crisis has accelerated that trend exponentially.
Laggards will find it hard to achieve success if they don’t understand the ways that marketing has changed, what this shift means for marketers, and how to adapt in the short and long-term.
Jet Saini is the owner of DripDigital.com – a digital marketing blog that publishes detailed tutorials that focus on helping people to build and run a successful online business. He started his blog in 2018 and, since then, has helped hundreds of people reach their marketing, blogging, and SEO goals.