Phrases like "In these unprecedented times," or "We're all in this together," have saturated emails, ads, text messages, and other current marketing measures, and I mean "saturated" in the pejorative sense. But if you dig deeper, past the overused platitudes, marketing in the age of Coronavirus yields some important trends for the future of businesses everywhere. Here are the 4 most important trends that have emerged during "these trying times."
Increased Migration to Digital Space
E-commerce was already a rapidly-growing market. Unsurprisingly, social distancing and quarantines have led people to adopt online sales methods at a greatly-accelerated pace. According to McKinsey, Amazon had a 26% sales increase in the months immediately after COVID-19 hit. Overnight, people who'd never shopped online were suddenly forced to in order to fulfill their basic needs, securing everything from dry goods to learning materials for housebound children.
McKinsey also reports that in the UK there's a 7% decrease in consumers who intend to return to brick and mortar shopping once the pandemic subsides, meaning that e-commerce has finally come into full maturity. Necessity is the mother of invention.
Marketing With Empathy
COVID-19 has caused savvy marketing professionals to change the entire tone and orientation of their marketing message. The last few months have proven that now is not the time to push products. As a result, most companies have had to suspend their planned marketing campaigns in favour of a more empathetic approach that places the consumer and their needs at the centre.
One way to bridge that gap is to offer more free or complimentary services. When consumers perceive that businesses are giving back altruistically, that builds trust, and the company is more likely to see future leads converted into customers. It helps to reinvest in services and provide educational value to your customers. Approaching consumers with empathy and aligning yourself with their point of view looks to be an essential marketing component in the post-COVID world.
Integration of Social Media and the Digital Storefront
One of the more specific, and cutting-edge trends that's emerged over the last few months is the integration of social media with digital sales.
Social distancing measures have forced many retailers and entrepreneurs to look for non-conventional means of attracting business in the absence of foot traffic and window shopping. While e-commerce has exploded in the past few months, business at a venue like Amazon, Ali Baba, or any number of large, multi-national chains implies intention. These are destination e-commerce sites that people intentionally seek out. Their customer journey is well-defined.
Forward-thinking entrepreneurs have found ways to ascend to influencer status by injecting shoppable functionality into their social media posts. According to Social Media Today, 36% of social media users in the United States rely on the information gleaned from social media platforms to help them make informed buying choices. It is therefore important for professional marketers to understand this new trend and be prepared to take advantage of customers whose entire online purchasing journey is facilitated by social media.
Doing More with Less
Unfortunately, not every trend is a positive one, but it's important to understand the implications of a long-term shutdown on businesses, especially regarding their marketing budget. Agencies and marketing departments are going to have to contend with decreased funding over the next few months. It's time to tighten that belt and figure out how to do more with less.
Fortunately there's a silver lining: the pandemic has made the cost of online ads dirt cheap. With the explosion of digital shopping methods, savvy marketing professionals can stretch their advertising dollars further by utilizing online ads while they are still inexpensive.
Navigating the "New Normal"
Everything is changing so rapidly right now. The phrase "new normal" gets used far too often without anyone having a true gauge on what "normal" means right now. The real key is navigating your current marketing efforts with agility and sensitivity. CLICKON Media has the experience and advertising acumen to help you roll with the punches. If you're ready to get started defining your company's "new normal," please contact us today!