It’s been almost a year since Covid-19 first appeared. Since then, the pandemic has rocked us to our core – shaking the foundations of life as we know it.
Families have suffered. Individuals have sacrificed. Our priorities have shifted.
Overnight, working parents became work-from-home teachers. Grandparents became isolated from friends and neighbors. Children became confused and anxious.
In our disconnection from society, we turned to media.
Within just a few months, Internet usage was up 70 percent. Consumption of podcasts doubled. Even reading books made a comeback.
More than 860 respondants to UK’s Conversation survey, reported that they were reading more than usual “largely due to having more free time (due to being furloughed, or not having a commute, or the usual social obligations or leisure activities).”
For similar reasons, the games division grew by double-digit rates and the card game Uno became the No. 1 game in the United States. Families started looking for ways to pass the time, to connect with one another, and to re-live the nostalgia of happier times.
Marketers swiftly picked up on these shifts and started modifying strategies to better connect with their “new” consumers.
Usually in challenging financial times, marketing budgets are the first to get slashed, but as noted in Influencer Marketing Hub’s CMO Survey, most firms’ marketing budgets actually increased as a percentage of the overall budget during the COVID period.
“In February 2020, respondents’ firms planned to spend 11.3% of their total budgets on marketing, on average. By June 2020, this rose to 12.6%. As an additional comparison, the figure was only 8.1% back in February 2011.”
Influencer Marketing went on to say, “You’ll need marketers who can stretch your dollar and who aren’t afraid to experiment.”
What does this mean?
It means the marketing mindset has shifted from making a quick sale, to nurturing relationships with customers and putting more time and money into engaging with them.
While consumers may not have the disposable income they once had – they are engaging with brands, through media, more than ever. This means humanizing your brand and speaking directly to consumers’ pain points should be your primary focus.
In terms of messaging, consumers are asking for brands to be authentic, honest and socially aware.
In other words, don’t be tone-deaf to the plight of your consumer.
New Marketing Ideas for a Post-Pandemic World
- Host an online seminar
- Temporarily make an online class free of charge
- Start a DIY series of videos
- Offer “Live” how-to videos – this company (https://www.cuiline.com) offers live cooking classes from world-renowned chefs
- Start a podcast, or be a guest on a podcast (Spotify says their podcast consumption has doubled as a result of the pandemic.)
- Increase engagement with your brand through gamification, which involves taking aspects of your product and adding game-like elements (tasks and rewards.)
- Mail a catalog. You can use it to feature new products and drive more traffic to your website. (With people spending more time at home, the arrival of the mail is sometimes the most exciting part of the day!)
- Get your e-commerce site up and running – small boutiques and brick-and-mortar shops have suffered in recent months due to vandalism, looting and shutdowns. Make sure your entire catalog of product is easily accessible online.
- Add no-touch products and services to your repertoire – including QR codes, text messaging, virtual reality, curbside pickup and delivery and more.
With a vaccine on the horizon, and in a quest for normalcy, some of consumers’ old buying habits will likely return. But many will not.
Long-term impacts on consumer behavior are here to stay, and marketing efforts will need to adjust accordingly.