8 Ways the Pandemic Has Changed Marketing and Marketers

1. Marketing has become completely digital.

“Didn’t digital marketing already exist?” you might wonder. Yes, but the pandemic has driven it to go digital entirely. Marketing used to be a mix of in-person and digital. But now, there are no more physical events and all marketing needs to be done virtually – on Google, Instagram, Facebook or any other platform that allows for video and live interactions with customers. According to Grand View Research, More than 70% of internet users want to learn about products through content rather than traditional advertisements.

To survive as a brand or business in 2022, you need to have an online presence. You need to have a website where customers can find your product or service easily and buy it online without needing much human interaction at all. You also need social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts where you can build a community of followers who will help spread the word about your brand and engage with you directly through likes, comments and shares.

The way forward is clearly digital marketing. As long as the pandemic continues there will be no physical events so brands will need to continue investing in their online presence by building websites that are easy to use (with high quality content) and engaging social media channels filled with interesting posts that get people talking about them.

2. Brands have become real-time solutions providers.

Consumers’ lives have changed dramatically since the pandemic began, and brands are leaning in to help. PepsiCo, for example, expects to release new plant-based snacks and drinks by early 2022 through its joint venture with Beyond Meat. With its acquisitions of Gimlet and Anchor, Spotify has entered the podcasting market which features podcasts that are meant to help people stay updated and relaxed while staying in their homes. And companies like General Electric and Microsoft have opened up their donations for Food Forward South Africa and Puget Sound’s COVID-19 response fund respectively.

3. Marketers have become more resilient.

You and your marketing counterparts have had to adapt new ways of working, including managing reduced budgets, allocating resources and prioritizing projects, which have forced teams to be more creative in their approach. This has helped marketers better understand the challenges their customers are facing and identify how they can help with solutions.

The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of being resilient as a marketer. No matter what industry you’re in, marketing teams have had to work on new problems and adapt quickly to new situations as consumer needs change rapidly.

Travel and tourism were severely curtailed during COVID due to government restrictions and reduced demand. In spite of the industry’s struggles, online marketplaces and travel agencies like Airbnb, Expedia, and Bookings were able to turn their portfolios into high-demand travel segments because of their asset-light models. 

4. Marketers have become more adaptable.

With all the uncertainty of the last year, marketers have needed to become more adaptable. While it’s not exactly a new concept in marketing to be able to anticipate change and respond quickly, this pandemic has forced us to expand this skill in many ways. We’ve had to:

·        Scale up or down operations. This is something that most companies are good at and can do relatively easily.

·        Change priorities. Because of changing market conditions, you may need to focus on different things such as short term sales versus long term loyalty or focus on certain regions over others.

·        Change direction. In some cases you may need to completely pivot your strategy or even business model because of the pandemic (think about movie theatres).

·        Change methods and processes within our organizations and with partners because of social distancing requirements or other regulations related to COVID-19

5. Marketers have had to become more innovative.

Innovation has been forced upon us. As we all know, necessity is the mother of invention. It’s easy to think that innovation can only come from those at the top of an organization. However, many times it comes from anyone and everyone inside or outside of your organization. Here are some ways to be more innovative in marketing:

Think beyond influencers. Brands will continue to use influencers to get their messages out, but they also need innovation around this channel as well. The best approach is starting with a unique content idea and then finding the right influencer to help you execute on this idea by putting their own twist on it based on their audience and expertise. From here, you can scale what works using either paid advertising or other channels such as affiliate marketing (as long as you have the infrastructure for tracking).

The percentage of marketers that use influencer marketing has been increasing steadily and significantly over the past few years, according to eMarketer’s data.

In the year 2019, Influencer marketing was used by 55.4% of marketers. In 2022, the figure is expected to rise to 72.5 percent, representing a 17.1 percent increase. These figures include both paid and unpaid influencer-brand collaborations.

To add, know your strengths but learn new skills in marketing automation, social media advertising, SEO and Google Analytics or comparable toolsets so that you may run advertising yourself or work better across functions with people who run these campaigns for organizations you may work with in the future.

6. Consumers can feel the differences in marketing and messaging.

As the pandemic continues to develop, consumer attention has shifted further than ever before. Consumers are more sensitive and aware of marketing messages, and they are looking for authenticity in brand messaging. In the world today, it’s crucial that companies understand consumer sentiment.

Uber’s Chris Messina came up with the term “conversational commerce” in 2015. This is a new type of shopping that combines retail and chat apps. – Hamacher Resource Group’s Dave Wendland

7. Communication is a priority in marketing right now, and it is constantly changing.

“Master the topic, the message, and the delivery.” — Steve Jobs, Co-Founder, Apple

Communication has always been a vital part of marketing. However, the pandemic has caused us to communicate more regularly and more effectively with our customers, employees, partners and even competitors.

We are communicating more personally- with greater empathy and using less “corporate speak.” Our communication is far less formal than ever before and much more casual.

We are being more concise; getting to the point faster- because we all have so much information coming at us from so many directions that we need to be able to absorb it faster. We need to be clear as well as concise- because messages can easily get misinterpreted when they are delivered remotely versus when they’re delivered face-to-face where body language provides context for what’s being said (or not being said.)

We are emphasizing being human in our communication: listening first before reacting; asking questions instead of making assumptions; asking for help rather than pretending we know everything about everything all the time; offering assistance in ways that are meaningful for each audience rather than just throwing money at them (which can sometimes feel like a bribe.)

We are being transparent about why we’re making particular decisions or taking certain actions– rather than hiding behind corporate jargon or opaque excuses. We’re including our customers in these discussions–not only because it’s good business but also because it helps them understand what’s going on around them or why things are happening the way they’re happening (which most people like.) Of course, transparency generally only works if you have something positive to share!

8. Marketing’s value is clear to C-suite executives and across teams.

Marketers need to demonstrate value throughout the organization, and show the value of marketing to the C-suite.

Marketing’s value is not just financial, nor is it just numbers. It’s also about perception and managing the customer experience.

The pandemic highlighted that marketing has a seat at the table when it comes to discussing risk mitigation in business continuity planning and crisis management.

Wrap up

The pandemic has changed marketing forever.

I am excited to see how brands and marketers evolve from here. Instead of trying to control the narrative and push their own agenda, they will have to figure out how to tell stories that are relevant, meaningful, and useful for consumers. This will take a lot more research and effort than before.

From a marketing standpoint, it has been an honour to be part of this industry at such a pivotal point in history. The pandemic is changing the way we communicate with each other as people, and I’m optimistic about what this could mean for marketing moving forward.

Did I Miss Anything?

Now that you’ve learned how the pandemic changed the marketing system and even the marketers, it’s time for you to share your similar experience during the pandemic. How did it change you and your business?

But first, if you enjoyed this blog post, share it with a friend!

Now, the comment section is all yours as we would love to hear from you too. Kudos!

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