The surge of the COVID-19 pandemic entered our lives with force, as government-mandated business closures and stay-at-home orders were established in efforts to decrease the spread of the novel virus. With that, we’ve learned to adapt to a new way of living from both a business and consumer perspective, changing how most industries and market sectors function. For marketing and media professionals, the changes have been evident, and most experts are concluding that they’re here to stay.
For most industries, COVID-19 led to significant drops in sales and revenue. As a result, many countries saw drastically increasing unemployment rates, job furloughs, and massive budget cuts, especially when pertaining to marketing and advertising spending. According to Chet Dalzell at Target Marketing Magazine, approximately 64% of marketers said their organization’s response to COVID-19 entailed a decrease in short and mid-term marketing spending, in addition to delaying already planned marketing campaigns and revamping content priorities and marketing channels.
A Boost Digital Engagement
While many businesses slowed down due to stay-home orders and closures, internet usage increased substantially. In a digital age, this has proven to be one of the best ways for businesses and their marketing teams to stay afloat. A recent Forbes article by contributor John Hall stated that internet usage has increased by 50 to 70 percent. Though consumers may not be buying as much, they continue to engage with brands at a rapidly growing rate. As a result, brands are now directing their marketing efforts to keep up with the changes and double their digital engagement with consumers to increase organic traffic.
Transitioning to New Normal
The days of physically entering the office for a 9-5 workday are becoming a faint memory as many of us continue to work remotely. For some brands, this leads to an increase in furloughs and lay-offs, while others are adopting new technologies and innovations to better adapt to remote circumstances, permanently altering how many of these brands conduct business. According to Marketing Dive, “remote work supported by digital communications apps like Zoom has gained mainstream acceptance, and companies including Facebook and Twitter plan to allow employees to work from home in perpetuity. Some consumer brands will follow that lead, as CMOs realize that a remote setup is not always a barrier to collaboration and can, in some cases, actually speed up production.”
A Focus on Humanity
In the Forbes article, Hall continues, “By humanizing your brand and speaking to consumers’ concerns — not your company’s — you can nurture an ongoing conversation, even among those who are in precarious financial situations or juggling multiple responsibilities.”
The COVID age has made it critical for marketers to understand consumer behaviors more than ever before. Consumers want to know they’re supporting brands that have their best interests in mind. So, marketers need to work these considerations into their marketing and advertising efforts. Top brands like Nike, for example, have done this by encouraging consumers to maintain physical activity indoors with their “play inside, play for the world” campaign.
As much of the world still continues to battle COVID-19, many areas are slowly returning to a “new” normal, and industry professionals think it may be here to stay.