The last year was definitely one for the books. 2020 brought the world to a literal standstill as businesses, consumers and all other entities related to the business world reeled from the gigantic monkey wrench thrown by COVID-19 in our professional and personal lives.
As businesses step into 2021 and ease into the coming months, with faster vaccination and emerging solutions in place, they’re forced to be optimistic about the future of digital advertising and marketing. Ad spend was a record low during the year 2020 and while some online channels emerged as potentially rewarding, others catapulted down in popularity and business spend.
Zoom’s stock prices have shot up, Facebook recorded more activity on its digital app than ever before and Insta/Snapchat users had a lot more time to spend online. Now, with the world coming back to a tentative period of normalcy, there are questions and concerns over the future of marketing in the digital world.
For a year, organizations were hell bent on unearthing strategies and techniques that would help them reach out to the growing online demographic. But with growing consumer buying power, now is the time to reap the reward of your marketing during the pandemic and turn the effort into some greenback.
In this article, we take a broader look at the trends for digital marketing in the post-pandemic world. The trends will earmark our progress from the pandemic and hold true for the years to come. We also study the strategies that most businesses can follow right now to increase user interaction on their digital media and get their attention.
Post-Pandemic Digital Marketing Trends
Here are some noticeable trends that the world of digital marketing will witness once the pandemic is over.
Customer Behavior will Change Post-Pandemic
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on a major part of the population. It has also changed and reset consumer behavior to a specific degree. In line with these changes, smart marketers will likely make both short and long-term changes to their product marketing strategies and the communication patterns they apply in their communication model.
Successful brands that didn’t see their sales fall during the pandemic will focus more on messaging and pricing strategies that are driven by values more than anything else. While there is extensive research available from established brands such as McKinsey and Ipsos, organizations are also expected to conduct their own research on their own market and find out the trends and potential among their customers currently.
Smart marketers and growing brands will know how to properly utilize the stats gathered from the insights above and develop their digital media marketing strategy based on them. For instance, virtual events have really established themselves during this pandemic, and traditional conferences and trade shows just don’t meet the cut anymore. The online shift is real and businesses can react to it by alternating between physical and digital meet and greet events with customers, investors and other stakeholders.
Businesses Will be Forced into the Digital Bandwagon
The COVID-19 pandemic has literally strong armed organizations into adopting digital channels for product and service marketing and delivery. The digital transformation has become a popular buzzword ever since the start of the pandemic as managers and organizations jump on the bandwagon to stay relevant in this highly digital age.
Brands that prioritized their digital marketing and selling strategy before the pandemic were at a benefit over other organizations. The advantage was partially owed to their readiness to shift their focus online and interact with customers purely through a digital medium.
The pandemic saw an increase in the reliance on e-commerce, email marketing, chatbots, apps, predictive analysis, artificial intelligence, omnichannel marketing, augmented reality and virtual reality. Brands that embrace the evolving role of these technologies will find themselves in a leadership position once the pandemic is over and will be able to move forward at a better pace than others.
Brands Focusing on Social and Ethical Responsibility will flourish
The racial inequality protests during 2020 were of great importance in the United States and played a significant role in determining customer attitudes and preferences. These protests and the blatant racism they were held against prompted many organizations to change their own attitudes and strategies and build a contemporary content strategy in line with customer preferences.
It is predicted that brands will make a similar effort to come clean and appeal to the enlightened customers. Customers today care deeply about the ethical values of the brands they shop with and want these values to be aligned with their own.
Research has time and again shown that ethical businesses have a more favorable model to succeed in the world post-pandemic and during the years 2021 and 2022. More brands have taken steps for an anti-consumerism approach towards holiday marketing. These steps have been greeted with warm applause by customers, and similar steps will be required around key decisions and positions in 2021 as well.
Influencer Marketing Will Become a Key Channel
The pandemic was bad for all of us. The lockdown that resulted due to the viral aspects of COVID-19 led to a dreadful environment where humans were stuck at home without an outlet of sorts. This is when humans sought relief by following influencers online. A number of content creators and influencers online came up with fun content to keep everyone engaged and give them something to smile about. This helped many customers develop an inclination towards influencers.
Brands can catch up with new found love between influencers and viewers by using popular influencers in their marketing campaigns. The key here is to identify the influencers you think relate to your particular niche and have them play key roles in your marketing campaign. Influencer marketing can either be a hit or a miss based on your choice of influencer. Don’t bring a kids’ influencer to a grown up brand for adult men. Choose your influencer wisely and let them do the talking to your consumer base. Integrated marketing campaigns that are part of their routine social media content can also work wonders for you.
Post-pandemic Marketing Strategies
Having discussed the trends of the digital marketing world post COVID-19, we now take a look at the marketing strategies that businesses should develop for the digital world to cover these pandemic trends. Your marketing strategies should be in line with the expected trends on social media and other digital platforms if you want to reap the most rewards and get the best results possible.
So, without any further wait, we get straight to the strategies you should follow for marketing success in the post-pandemic world.
Focus on Existing Customers
Not all businesses will be able to bring in new customers once the pandemic is over. Of course you have strategies in place to guide you through the process, but it won’t be as easy as you expect it to be. Instead of going after new customers, organizations should look to focus on existing customers and give them the best possible blend of deals and discounts to push them through the pandemic.
First of all, you should start by mentioning and targeting the new needs of your customers. If you had customers on prepaid memberships, you might consider refunding them for the period your product or service remain unused. This might sound like an expense to you right now, but believe us when we say that the experience and benefits of it will dawn upon you when customers spend the refunded amount and much more on your new product lines.
The point right now is to look out for all your customers, coworkers, clients and other stakeholders. Customers specifically will thank you for the support you show to them during this period. The gratitude will spill over in the form of additional trust and revenue generation opportunities.
Shift Everything Online
With the current pandemic and the ongoing waves of travel and domestic restrictions, it is no surprise that most businesses have shifted online. Scott Jones, the CEO of the 123InternetGroup told Forbes that their company has seen a realistic spike in the number of businesses looking to create new websites or update their current ones. The ecommerce trends and boom you hear about everywhere is in fact true and customers love it.
If you haven’t still improved your online presence, now is the time to jump on this bandwagon and improve the services you offer. The world has already shifted online and businesses are enjoying the better sales potential on the digital world.
The online world comes with limitless potential as businesses can market their products, track their sales, deal with customers and do a lot more through the connectivity on offer. If you’re jumping to an ecommerce model, our guide on how to sell more on your ecommerce website will give you the way forward.
Invest in Social Media
With many people spending a bulk of their time at home, the ad spend on ROI and PPC ads has skyrocketed in most social media platforms. Paid social media marketing is a good way to remind all your customers that your brand is alive and well. Also, using Facebook ads gives the impression that you are a more contemporary brand that has jumped into the ‘new normal’, without clinging on to previous organic believes or not updating standards.
Facebook ads are particularly affordable here, especially for small local businesses. These advertisements allow you to showcase the changes you have made to your strategy or products and the discounts and promotions you will be offering to existing and new customers. Online ads have always been a source of engagement with users and are affordable and customized. Facebook ads are well targeted and will help you reach out to the specific audience you want to.
The granular audience targeting capabilities at Facebook allow you to reach your audience based on location, interests, hobbies, professions, marital status and much more. Once you have customized these features, you can ideally market your promotions to the exact audience you’re targeting.
Advertising messages tend to be most effective when they are repeated and are consistent. If you are consistent with your Facebook PPC campaign, you will eventually reach the kind of awareness you need online.
Run Exclusive Deals
Once businesses open properly and their operations are back to normal, a good way to get people interested would be by offering exclusive deals and sales promotion. These announcements and offers would definitely catch the attention of your target market and would prompt them into action. These offers can be promoted and advertised on your social media handles, along with being sent to your contact list in the form of promotional emails.
Such promotional offers can both be targeted at getting new customers or in developing interest in existing customers. If your current customers already trust you and enjoyed the experience they had with you, they won’t think much before benefitting from the discount. However, since new customers will probably not have worked with you in the past, they will take some time to get a hang of your products and think a lot more before actually dealing with you.
With the pandemic showing signs of dissipating and widespread vaccination already in progress, we can assume that the post-pandemic period is not too far away from us. Using the strategies and trends mentioned in this article, businesses can take their progress forward and step into the post-pandemic world with a vision to succeed. Just keep things simple and realize the permanent changes that the pandemic has brought in consumer behavior.