In 2020, the fear of Covid-19 and uncertainty about the economic implications were clearly signaling a crisis worldwide. There were global lockdowns, supermarket shelves emptied, economic downfalls, and stock prices falling! No one truly knew what was going to happen.
Half of the world was running for sanitizers, masks, toilet papers, and other half were marketers 😉
What has Changed?
A lot of things changed during the first few months of the pandemic, or what if we ask, what hasn’t changed?
Compare your life in 2019 with now. Imagine life without Zoom, Netflix, and Amazon in 2021!
For businesses, the new experience of remote working became the norm. Now corporations have to figure out how they are going to leverage the benefits of remote working in the ‘new normal’ of the post-pandemic era.
Also, employees are having to figure how to bring their workspace into their personal space and have it work seamlessly.
Every area of life has changed in some aspects, and a lot has changed in marketing too! More specifically, digital marketing and online purchasing.
Companies need to set specific goals to achieve the results they want in this new era.
A quick fact check: Despite the decrease in overall consumer spending, the year 2020 marked itself with the highest number of online sales.
The digital transformation in many business organizations was also remarkable, and the brands have rapidly worked on their online presence. The acceleration of the world moving toward digital spaces was high, and the changes are everlasting.
Change in Consumer Behavior; A Shift to Online Shopping
Due to the global lockdowns and social distancing, people turned to online shopping for their needs. Things as small as a sanitizer to as big as a washing machine. For instance, in the US, 9% of the customers made their first online purchase due to physical-distancing.
Another study of 3700 consumers in 5 countries, including Mexico, Argentina, the US, Canada, and Australia, showed an increase of 12% consumers who had made their first online purchase. Similar trends are evident in other global economies.
India being one of the biggest economies as a number of consumers, there was around a 100% increase in the online shopping trend.
These numbers are just an indicator of how the future of online purchasing will be. Just imagine why people would quit a cheaper, quicker, and convenient way of shopping.
In one of his podcasts, Eric Siu said that the people who have already become familiar with the online shopping experience, a big percentage of them think in-store purchasing is an archaic way of doing business. And that pretty much makes sense.
Even a report of eMarketer indicated that 74.6% of the US citizens will be likely to avoid brick and mortar stores generally in the post-pandemic era.
With this shift of behavior, brands would invest more in their digital marketing strategies to be visible to their prospects in the online space, be it social media or Google search results.
Customer Loyalty Will Be A More Appropriate Measure of A Brand’s Success!
Before we talk about how customer loyalty will be an indicator of a brand’s success, let’s look at a case study. In the first few weeks of a global pandemic, the ad agency of Neil Patel witnessed a loss of clients, and he launched many of the premium features of Ubersuggest in the free version.
From this example, we can see that when everyone expects relief in such economic distress, you can step forward to win the customer’s loyalty. Neil Patel himself testified that he received many thank you emails from the marketing community after the blog about free tools.
Now, let’s talk customer loyalty as a measure of brand success. In the economic downturn, the businesses running after profits will get less than those working on empathy, communication, and building a personal connection with their customers.
To have customer loyalty, the marketers should reinstate their marketing strategy to put together more personalized customer experiences and gestures to make the customers feel cared about. Do what is right, solve the problem instead of thinking about profits, communicate with compassion and empathy are few gestures to earn the customer trust.
If a brand can move toward a more mission-based strategy and show their value proposition as helping the communities, it will keep them on the top of the mind among consumers and customers.
And in a study, respondents showed the intent of buying from companies in a post-pandemic era from the brands they had trusted in lockdown.
Online Presence Will be Inevitable
The future is digital, and any brand or business, no matter at what scale, must work on the online presence. Marketing has been reconceptualized during this pandemic. We can say that online presence for any brand is crucial along with brick and mortar stores.
The conventional buyer’s journey funnel has been evolved into a loop-based journey. In the loop journey, one loop of research and discovery goes along with the consideration stage. Whereas the loyalty loop goes along with the post-purchase experience.
A report indicated that 85% of people do online research about a product before buying it. And if your business is not visible, how can you expect to be discovered by your prospects?
The post-pandemic era, which we are talking about, still needs a considerable amount of time to show up. And businesses must integrate the digital marketing channels with offline channels.
Video Will Be King of The King(Content)
Bill Gates said that Content is the King and the future of the internet is all about Content. If we reinstate the same quote in 2021, Video Content will be King of the King. According to Cisco, by 2022, 82% of internet traffic will be derived from video marketing.
Marketers focusing on video content were able to grow revenue 49% time faster than those having non-video content.
And as a marketer, I can tell you that video content has the best ROI, and it has also been proven by a study where more than 50% of marketers reported video content as the future of marketing.
The reason why video content will take the lead in marketing is that a video derives 12% more shares than combined text and images. Besides engagement, 64% of users prefer to buy from a brand after watching the video content.
Marketers already understand the importance and engagement level of video content and integrating the video content in their marketing campaign. But, the concept of video marketing is still taking off, and companies can stand out by working on creating authentic video content.
Influencer Marketing Will Be A Key Positioning Channel For Brands
Influencer marketing or KOL(Key Opinion Leaders) will dominate as the best positioning channel for brands. It is considered the fastest-growing advertising channel, and more than 65% of the influencer marketing budgets were increased in 2020.
89% of marketers think the ROI of influencer marketing is better than any other marketing channel. The reason is that most of the generation Z and Millenials prefer to buy a product recommended by an influencer on YouTube or Instagram.
Another social media platform for influencer marketing that has emerged and taken over the market is TikTok, with more than 1.6 billion downloads. The engagement of TikTok has surpassed that of Snapchat or any other media.
Marketers worldwide can leverage this opportunity during this pandemic and even after that because this time frame can be looked at as a behavior shaping era. The opportunities to buy in-stores are limited, and influencers play a great part in consumers’ purchasing decisions.
Blogs Will Be The Place People Get Answers
The best companies will know their customers so well that they will always have helpful answers for them.
They will do this by creating content through their blogs.
Customers will show loyalty to businesses that solve their problems by answering their questions. Many sites like Goquickr show people and businesses how to leverage their blog page for economic success.
The Answer Economy is already here and will only grow as people look for recommendations and expert opinions from bloggers and companies taking the time to answer the public questions.
BillBoards: Replaced By Online Paid Advertising Channel
The VP of Marketing at Hubspot, Meghan Keaney Anderson, explains the massive digitalization and the online events and advertising during pandemic as,
‘If there is one image that illustrates the fact that the marketing world is moving from offline to online during the pandemic, it’s that of empty billboards.’
And it is evident that all the companies are pouring their marketing budgets into online advertising channels, either influencer marketing, content marketing, or Facebook ads, or Instagram ads. The reason is quite obvious to this. A marketer will go where his prospects are present.
During the pandemic, internet users have increased massively, and a lot of time is spent on different social media channels. Let’s take video content alone; 17000 hours of video content is viewed per minute over the internet.
The benefit of these digital marketing efforts will be permanent for businesses. The campaigns will help them build a connection and relationships with their customers in the online space even in the post-pandemic era.
The digital transformation during the pandemic has greatly accelerated. With the shift in consumer behaviors, marketers have to reshape their marketing efforts and strategies to fit the new needs. In the pandemic, people have been consuming an unprecedented amount of content.
Brands will have to pivot their strategies and advertising efforts around helping the communities, providing convenience, extending their values, and rewarding loyalty. The only way to stand out from your competitors and stay ahead is to keep up with the pace of rapid digitalization we are going through.
Let’s reimagine digital marketing in the new normal of the post-pandemic era!