To say that COVID-19 has changed how the world does business would be a drastic understatement. From small Mom-and-Pop shops to large corporations, every company has faced unprecedented challenges in the face of the pandemic.
In particular, marketing efforts and strategies will be dramatically altered going forward. Here are three ways that marketing will change after COVID-19.
Many businesses are trapped in a paradox where they need to double down on their marketing efforts but lack the resources to do so. In a recent brand survey, 69% of respondents shared their intention to reduce marketing spend over 2020. The logic is simple: people are unable to spend as much money, and businesses must make cuts to survive.
As marketing spend goes down, the search for organic growth will increase. Paid and boosted posts will fall by the wayside as marketers leverage commissions and affiliate options. While many influencers have also struggled during the pandemic, now is their time to shine.
Micro and nano influencers with fewer than 50,000 followers will become more prevalent in the coming years. While there was already a shift in this direction at the end of 2019, the pandemic will exacerbate the effects of this burgeoning trend. Micro and nano influencers also tend to have higher engagement levels with more authenticity and transparency, making them more relatable to those with limited income during the pandemic.
It's expected to take years for people to return to their pre-pandemic spending habits. With so many people out of work and tapping into their savings, disposable income is down.
Even those with the same earnings are becoming more mindful about spending and re-evaluating their relationships with money. Rather than spending money in the community (global or local), many people are diverting funds to paying down debts and creating an emergency savings plan. COVID-19, like the housing market crash, has highlighted an uncomfortable truth surrounding the fallacy of job security.
For marketers, this means more pressure to create tangible value when selling. It's not enough to highlight the features and benefits; customers need to know that they're getting what they've paid for and more.
This value could present itself in numerous ways. For membership and subscription-based businesses, it might mean eliminating the VIP mentality and creating the same value for every customer. Fitness equipment and attire businesses could resort to buying custom socks wholesale and including a pair in every order to stand apart from the competition. Foodservice businesses are re-evaluating how they can showcase their offerings in a way that suits the new normal, be it pre-planned meals or doorstep delivery options.
The core idea is to shift away from selling and create a perception of generosity and utility.
The importance of cultivating customer relationships and improving brand loyalty after COVID-19 cannot be understated. When the economy starts to turn around, and customers get back on their feet, they'll be looking to treat themselves. By continuously nurturing relationships, marketers will make their business top of mind when that day comes.
For many marketers, this means shifting the overall goal of their messaging from conversions to engagement and retention. Businesses will have to focus on passive selling rather than active selling to succeed. Every social media and email marketing campaign needs to be created with subtle sales cues rather than psychological marketing tactics. CTAs will shift to subscribing and sharing rather than buying. It's this shift that will deter valued customers from hitting the dreaded "unsubscribe" button.
During the coming years, marketers will have to create content with empathy in mind. The road ahead will be challenging but rewarding for those who persevere.