What does COVID-19 mean for your marketing strategy?
COVID-19 had brought with it a storm of changes that individuals and businesses must rapidly adapt to. If you are a company, this will mean being proactive in terms of modifying and adapting your marketing strategy to the ever-changing ‘new normal’. So, what are some steps you can take to ensure that your business continues to thrive in this turbulent environment?
If online marketing wasn’t in your dictionary before, it sure needs to be at the forefront now. With every aspect of our lives and businesses transitioning to virtual settings, it becomes incredibly important to have an effective online marketing strategy.
Video marketing is one of the most effective strategies your business can implement. With an abundance of video equipment now available at reasonable prices, videos have become easier to make, and even easier to access. Hubspot’s video marketing statistics find that 95% of video marketers said they felt they’d increased understanding of their product or service using video (Wyzowl, 2020). This provides a window of opportunity to produce and distribute engaging video to people in lockdown or isolation. Matter Solutions recommend keeping videos entertaining, humourous and comforting to cater to a more anxious audience.
“Isolation” and “social distancing” are hardly barriers to socialising thanks to social media. According to the American Marketing Association, 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. This means it is time to strengthen your social media presence, most importantly on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, although Instagram and TikTok are now making their way into the spotlight.
Some cost-effective options include live streaming, hosting quizzes and conducting polls. With a lot more people at home looking for new ways to entertain themselves, marketing opportunities can now get more creative than ever. Most importantly, what these new marketing tactics provide, is the advantage of engagement. Keeping your audience engaged creates interest in your brand and reminds the audience about what products and services they can turn to you for. Engagement can also be increased by liking, sharing, commenting and responding directly to customers.
Put the customer first
While this may be the mantra that most businesses are based on, now more than ever it becomes crucial to implement it. Augie Ray, VP Analyst at Gartner outlines that one of the greatest challenges for marketing during the pandemic is being able to foresee how customer wants, needs, expectations and purchasing decisions will evolve. More importantly, he asserts that customers themselves won’t know until COVID-19 infections, fears and restrictions begin to play a role in their lives.
To address this hurdle, Gartner recommends four-step action plan. This includes scenario planning, paying attention to changes in customer behaviour and sentiments and anticipating the operational impacts on your business and adapting your marketing plan to provide the most realistic picture to the customer.
The American Marketing Association finds that marketers expect customers to focus more on “trusting relationships” than “low price” over the next 12 months. This means that despite facing a financial crunch, customers are more likely to be loyal to the brands they trust.
Therefore, this presents an opportunity to launch new products and go above and beyond to retain existing customers. One way to do this may be to up your e-commerce game. The AMA has found that 60.8% of businesses have allocated resources towards building customer-facing digital interfaces and 56.2% are pivoting business models to focus on digital opportunities.
The good news for marketing during the pandemic period is that marketing has increasingly become an online exercise. Therefore, rather than worrying about adapting to the new normal, marketers just need to focus on how to improve what they are already doing and using platforms like Robotic Marketer to capture a company's position auditing where they sit in the market, is essential. This period is an opportunity to explore new avenues, try new marketing channels to see what works for your business and retain your most important customers. While the global scenario may seem bleak, there is always space for new and evolved marketing strategies.
By Raksha Ravikumar