It’s 2021, and the world of marketing doesn’t at all look like anything we’d have expected two or three years ago. The unprecedented nature of this global pandemic has truly shaken things up.
On the verge of a ‘new normal’, what does adaptive marketing in a post-pandemic world look like? How has consumer behaviour changed and how can marketers adapt to and navigate through these changes?
The recent events have had a lot of surprises in store, for both consumers and marketers. A health and financial crisis, COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the economy. Pandemic-induced restrictions and business closures, self-isolation and lockdown, have shifted consumer behaviour. It deeply affects how Australians make purchase decisions, what products and services they give preference and why. This has far-stretching implications for the marketing industry.
Marketing Stats: The Impact of COVID-19 on Advertising
- The total internet hits have surged by up to 70 percent
- More than 40 percent of consumers spent more time on social media
- Global social media ad spend was up 50.3 percent
- Streaming has jumped up by at least 12 percent
- 35 percent of people read more books or listen to more audiobooks at home
- 18 percent listen to more radio due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Video game industry ad spend rose by 80 percent
- 1 in 4 online purchases are now made via a social media platform
How to Adapt Your Marketing Approach in a Post Pandemic World
Now that consumers are looking at the world through a different lens, how should your marketing strategy change in response? What follows are a few suggestions from our in-house marketing experts.
Our senior team has been working closely with partners across a range of industries and business sectors. They’ve successfully maneuvered this global crisis over the past year, whilst not losing long-term goals out of sight.
The following list aims to support other marketers in their quest but is by no means an exhaustive summary of the changes the marketing industry is now facing. Nor do we claim to know what the future holds or whether these changes will be permanent or slowly subside as the number of active COVID-19 cases decreases.
1. Emphasise Customer Experience
Personalised experiences across the consumer journey, backed by 360-degree customer data, are the way to go forward: 40 percent of Australians are happy to pay more for personalised shopping experiences. For example, people enjoy being greeted by in-store staff, as long as appropriate safety measures, such as wearing masks and social distancing, are respected.
Increased personalisation goes a long way online, too. A trend that had been gaining traction pre-COVID, consumers are now becoming increasingly suspicious of mass communications. Particularly younger generations are tired of mass marketing and the perceived lack of connection to the brands that market to them with cookie-cutter social media ads and newsletters. As a result of the information overload many experienced being stuck at home 24/7, the pandemic further stirred up scepticism.
In a post-pandemic world, you’re wise to adjust your communications and to rethink how you connect with your customers. Both email marketing and social media give you the opportunity to
personalise the timing, usefulness and relevance of your advertising efforts. This ensures your communications offer real-life value and are the beginning of valuable brand conversations.
You’ll also have to consider a much broader range of shopping experiences, from self-checkout to home-delivery and beyond. Consumers have taken a massive leap in the adoption of digital and the only way to keep up, is to adapt. Emphasising e-commerce and digital channels is the key to creating valuable shopping experiences – whether your customers are shopping in-store or from their couch.
2. Establish Trust and Transparency
Not surprisingly, research shows that personal health and economic wellbeing are now amongst consumers’ top priorities. In that sense, we believe that the pandemic will likely have a lasting impact.
Whilst people now more than ever seek connection, they also want to know that places of business are safe, virus-free environments. Trust and transparency are becoming key values that require glass-clear communication about safety measurements and contactless activities, such as scan-and go or self-checkout.
In light of the increased use of sensitive health data, consumers are also becoming warier about sharing their data, and how businesses use private information. Apps such as Australia’s COVIDSafe, which tracks your movement around town, and even the public temperature-taking before entering a store, heighten issues around data and privacy concerns.
Such data may create many opportunities for marketers to personalise their advertising efforts and improve consumer engagement, but the stakes are high: 87 percent of consumers would not do business with a company if they had concerns about its security practices.
Consumers are holding brands to higher standards than they did a year or two ago. The relationships they have with brands are becoming more valuable to them, but in return, businesses need to make clear commitments to their customers’ safety and well-being.
As a marketer, you will have to focus on establishing trust by being transparent, honest and showing true concern for your audiences’ wants and needs. That includes handling customer data with care and taking security seriously.
3. Apply Empathy
Almost 600,000 Australian workers lost their jobs. 40 percent of Australian households had to adjust to a decline in household income. A global pandemic of immense proportions and devastating effects, COVID-19 also brought a surprising, positive change. It made socially conscious values a consumer priority.
Following the slogan ‘We’re in this together’, Australians were banding together to get through the challenging times. In an environment where empowered consumers are quick to call out businesses that fall behind expectations, marketers do well to show empathy and compassion towards their customers, too.
Consumers want to see brands that go the extra mile, show corporate and social responsibility, encourage others and lead by example. People are more conscious about their shopping choices. With COVID-19 breaking many of their old habits, they will be extra wary of businesses that don’t seem to be doing their part.
4. Think Local
Lockdown constraints and the sub-par online retail systems of well-known supermarket chains resulted in a lot of frustration on the consumer side. Driven in part by greater confidence in their quality and safety, many turned to smaller, local businesses who creatively pivoted to provide whatever products were in high demand.
Now, local neighbourhoods are still thriving and businesses seeking to expand their connections with consumers can reap the benefits by localising their marketing efforts. This could include PPC and Social Media advertising, delivered to selected neighbourhoods, and giving your customers information about where your products are made and designed – and by whom.
Wrapping it up
Over the past year, marketers had to stay on their toes to keep up with an ever-changing marketing landscape. Australians had to make many compromises, and it might not be over yet.
Even today we need to account and prepare for many possible future scenarios. And whether or not changes will stick, is hard to tell.
As consumers continue to reevaluate their values and belief systems, every business will experience the effects. Staying agile and giving your best to get to know your customers, you can ensure that your business will come out on top.
If you have questions or concerns about your marketing strategy going forward, don’t hesitate to contact our marketing team here at Anchor Digital! We’re looking forward to hearing from you!