How Covid-19 Has Changed Marketing Forever
- On : August 16, 2021
When Covid-19 first hit in 2020, it impacted many aspects of our lives. Work from home measures were introduced, with lessons and meetings having to be conducted from our living rooms. Nights out were replaced with nights in, and eating out operated on a takeaway-only basis. However, a year on, we can see that the effects of Covid-19 for businesses are a lot deeper-rooted than we first thought. It’s fair to say that Covid-19 has changed the ways that businesses operate, concerning technology and marketing, forever. The new normal is our reality at the moment, and many companies have had to pivot their marketing strategy to accommodate for that. Here are just some of the ways that Covid-19 has changed marketing for the long run.
The pandemic highlighted the importance of marketing for companies
A recent survey showed that 72.2% of companies saw the role of marketing increase in importance in February 2021. So, why is this? Well as the pandemic hit, the ways that customers interacted with brands was tipped upside down. Going into a physical store or a restaurant wasn’t an option anymore, and brands had to operate on an online-only basis. The benefits of this meant that that the reach for potential customers was so much greater (sales were no longer confined to a single geographical location, with potential customers being regionally or even internationally based). The pandemic meant that more companies moved online than ever before, marketing became a way to not only stand out from the crowd but an essential factor for businesses hoping to survive the current climate.
Companies faced a challenge; how to stand out in an already saturated market.
It has necessitated a digital transformation
The pandemic necessitated a rapid digital transformation in so many companies. The shift from traditional to digital marketing was no longer optional, it was pivotal. Therefore, acquiring and retaining customers online became a primary focus for businesses during the pandemic.
Research has shown that 88% of consumers won’t go back to a bad website and 61% said that if they didn’t find what they were looking for on a mobile site, they would quickly move on to another one. If customers left your website because of a bad digital experience and they couldn’t physically come to your store, then your business quite simply, wouldn’t drive sales.
Online wasn’t just preferable it was necessary.
Tactics such as SEO, SEM, and Digital Advertising held way more weight than traditional marketing methods. Similarly, this digital transformation drove development and investment for marketing technologies such as AI, voice search and chatbots and that looks set to expand in the future.
Internet sales reached new highs during the pandemic
It’s not surprising that internet sales reached record highs during the pandemic jumping from 12% in sales in 2015 to 19 up to 19.4% in February 2021. This number has only increased as the pandemic has gone on and many of us have become used to this new online-only existence. All indications point to the online routines sticking, therefore marketers should accommodate this as they plan ahead.
It brought a social media boost
Social media use has increased dramatically over the last couple of years with platforms such as Instagram, Tiktok and Facebook dominating many of our lives these days. 84.2% of marketers say they have used social media for brand building and 54.3% say they have used it for customer retention during the pandemic.
As a response to this, marketers have increased their investment in social media budgets by 74% since February 2020 and it seems to be paying off. Social media contributions to company performance had previously been flat however they are now up by 24%. As the world starts to open up again, the challenge for marketers is working out how to maintain these social habits to continue to drive sales in the coming months.
The emphasis is on Promotions over products
In a world consisting of lockdowns and travel restrictions, everything feels a little boring. Customers are desperate for things to be excited about, hence the ever-growing importance of marketing campaigns. Think back over the last few months; how many of your favorite brands or businesses have run promotions? Whether it’s your local cafe running #lockdownspecials or online retailers offering free shipping incentives, brands are looking for ways to get customers excited about what it is they have to offer. Stats showed that an emphasis on marketing promotions increased by 58% in June 2020, marking a shift from the previous emphasis on changing products.
Covid-19 brought changes to the brand’s Value Proposition
Not surprisingly, all of this had a pivotal impact on Value Proposition when it came to marketing, that being the value that a company promises to deliver to customers should they choose to buy their products. For example, your local restaurant may have to transform from being somewhere offering a fantastic in-dining experience to providing super quick delivery instead. These changes to the value proposition meant inevitable changes to brand associations. Perhaps the importance had now shifted from the decor of the restaurant to the price or the hygiene rating. Changes to the brand’s marketing mix were needed as Product, Price, Place, and Promotion would all have to be examined in a whole new climate.
Brand Values became key
The pandemic has challenged brand loyalty. A survey by the EY Future Consumer Index found that up to 61% of consumers would switch from name brands. Growing consumer awareness and activism during the social unrest of 2020, (take a look at the Black Lives Matter Campaign, as well as growing environmental concerns), means that customers are drawn towards brands that resonated with their values. Quality, convenience and price are still important but 2020 had brought other factors to the forefront, such as sustainability and social responsibility.
Covid-19, marketing and the future
While the pandemic is far from over, the future looks bright for current and budding marketers. With new challenges, come new opportunities when it comes to business marketing. In an ever-changing world, innovation and a customer-centric focus have never been more important for brands looking to stand out from the crowd. As technologies and the environment continue to evolve, so too must our marketing efforts. It’s fair to say that Covid-19 has changed the way that we do business. However, you could look at these changes as an acceleration of the inevitable; that being the move to digital-first and an emphasis on consumers finding brands that truly resonate with their values.
Image source: Shutterstock (1926827978)