The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the world, reminding us of how fragile and unforeseeable life can be. The change accompanying the current situation disrupted business strategy development and altered consumers’ buying attitudes and preferences. Nowadays, the business environment is characterised by colossal instability, uncertainty and chaos. However, as a marketer, your job is to evolve with the market and grab this crisis as a strategic opportunity to boost your business.
Look at one of our previous articles about The Biggest Opportunities in This Recession to get inspired. What do you think about these? Feel free to share your insight or experience!
Now, let’s look at the top trends in the marketing world you should keep in mind.
The New Normal
The current situation has reshaped industries and triggered the emergence of new trends. To persist, marketers had to start looking ahead and seek innovative ways to embolden the dialogue with their audience. The key is to rethink the ongoing interaction with consumers and facilitate new ideas of enhancing relationships within customer’s journey.
It was never more important for companies to recognise relevant trends early and incorporate them in their business procedures. An early and continuous trend analysis is a powerful tool to appropriately react to upcoming change.Deloitte Digital
Look at a brief overview of the most dynamic changes of the market and consumer trends:
E-Commerce being super-charged by the pandemic:
- 62% of US shoppers shop more online than in the pre-COVID era
- 170% surge in online luxury goods sale
- 63% YOY rise in cross-border e-commerce sales
- 23% YoY increase in online store sales on Black Friday in 2020.
Social Media Platforms are on fire:
- 226 million social media users expected by 2024
- 30.9% YOY surge in worldwide social media ad spending (Instagram’s advertising increased more than FB)
- 39% of social media users spend more time on social media platforms
- 1 out of 4 online purchases is made via social media interaction
- 50% of the brands have allocated more budget for influencer marketing compared to the pre-COVID times.
Mobile and Video Ad Spending are up:
- Global mobile ad spends soared 71% YOY
- Mobile video ad spends globally rose by 116% compared to the pre-pandemic figures
- Ad spends by the video game industry increased by 80% YOY.
How Not to Miss the Boat
In this ever-changing world, it might be challenging to keep up. The new and innovative behaviour is now permanently expected by consumers, so you can’t let yourself fall behind. Here are some of the marketing landscape’s essential features to reconsider your content and media strategy.
Digital marketing has already been booming before the COVID crisis. However, the recent lockdowns have brought a new dimension to this online phenomenon, considering online customer service, remote working or events live streaming. And digital shopping is here to stay, primarily via social media. Since people are worried about their health and relatives, there is a strong intent to contactless, virtual shopping and activities.
Several factors come into play when rethinking your online marketing:
- SEO, SEM: No one doubts the importance of SEO in digital marketing, but the right web and mobile optimisations are even more urgent these days. More and more customers research a company online before doing business with it. Thus, invest in relevant content strategy, optimise local SEO, think about keyword focus, improve your page speed, use outbound links and get higher relevancy rankings.
- Phygital Trend: No, it’s not a typo. Phygital marketing represents merging the physical and digital customers’ experiences. This trend is most popular with Millennials and Gen Z; however, digitalisation is taking over the world. Enhance the physical experience by using digital technology and vice versa. Provoke online ordering by upgrading in-store experience. Incorporate chatbots into your webpage or mobile app to satisfy customers’ need for real-life conversation. You can develop an application that allows your customers to configure product or service online or use QR codes, so in-store customers gain detailed information about the product immediately. Livestream your events, conferences, product launches, teambuilding, or workshops to draw more new audiences. Being agile, creative and innovative has never been more critical.
- Data-Driven Marketing: Pandemic forced marketers to reconsider all they know about their changing audience and preferences. You have to make sure your business will be in demand and address your consumer concerns precisely. Invest in deep market research about your customers and talk to them directly. Doubling down on data-driven insights is worth its costs.
As new normal arrives, the old way of reaching customers individually via different channels is grandfathered out. The focus is now on an omnichannel strategy providing your consumer with a consistent experience via various platforms simultaneously. All distribution channels are interconnected, so consumers go through all of them to be as engaged as possible. That helps with strengthening consistent brand image, reinforcing relationships and building brand loyalty over time. These days, consumers tend to switch brands more often, resulting in brand loyalty shattering. Omnichannel marketing is a top-of-mind priority to stay in touch, just like spending more on loyalty and retention activities.
Societal Responsibility and the “WE” Power
The marketing landscape is a two-way street. Creating a meaningful brand strategy involves all your stakeholders: employees, collaborators, suppliers, shareholders, and customers and the community. Consumers’ longing for participation in developing original content proved its resilience and even strengthened as a trend. Last year, more than 56% of people engaged in at least one digital activity, such as leaving a comment, writing a review or sharing a related post. Encouraging your customers to develop and share their brand-related content or design make your brand more approachable and authentic.
The inevitable change also struck the brand perception. The pandemic shrank the space between the brand’s promises and their actions. Consumers are nowadays looking for openness, reliability and consciousness. They favour brands that are being viewed as someone who cares. Not only cares for them but also their employees, local and global environment. That is the way to boost your brand’s top-of-mind awareness. According to Deloitte, 79% of respondents thought of brands that positively contributed to customers’ and employees’ lives. Taking responsibility and being committed to sustainable business in times of crises nourishes long-term relationships, even in more certain times, and contributes to gaining new customers in times of instability. As a brand, you need to have a purpose and show it to the world. Be a brand citizen!
To conclude, change is the only fixed constant. Those who don’t adapt fall behind and fall out. As a marketer, the key is to stay at the intersection of consumers’ insights, technology transformation and brand strategy while keeping your eyes always peeled.