The COVID factor: How a Virus is Pushing Digital Marketing Strategies
Most of the changes brought upon us by COVID were overwhelming in the not so good way: almost overnight, the whole world was forced into lockdown in an effort to prevent the spreading of the novel corona virus. From one day to another, nothing was the same – not even marketing. In this blog post, I’m sharing some observations on the past half a year from my point of view as a Marketing Technologist. Enjoy the read!
Out With The Old
Some changes were obvious, others a little more surprising. Let’s start with the advertising channels. Due to most people being stuck inside their homes (and the ensuing cases of cabin fever), subscriptions to streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and so on.
Cable TV, on the other hand, sank in popularity, and entire movie theatres shut down. With fewer people travelling, physical advertising like bus spreads and billboards lost exposure. Trade shows, too, were cancelled and lost influence.
New Channels Are On
While many companies started saving costs on marketing, some became more socially active.
Companies hired or bred their own social media influencers. People diligently posted real stories, cross promoted each other and gave each other a bump.
Companies that had previously neglected their online and web presence started investing in a better strategic online and web presence. They began launching new websites, catalogs, e-commerce, and mailing newsletters – and to pay overall better attention to their digital visibility.
While digital marketing and media management has always had a leg up due to its ability to track and analyze traffic and ROI, COVID-19 did something remarkable: it pushed companies that were delaying digital marketing across the start line.
Survival of The Quickest
As a result, the companies that are faring among the best right now are the ones that realized that the sequel to “Go big or go home” is “Go digital or go out of business.” In an effort to meet their customers and partners who were affected by the lockdowns – read: everyone – halfway, many businesses decided to go with the time and refocus their marketing efforts on a digital strategy. Here are six successful strategies we have seen recently:
- Remote Work
Operating from the home was one of the biggest changes for daily operations. Whether you love or hate Zoom, Hangouts, and the like (pro: hanging out in your jammies all day with your video turned off; con: you forgot to turn your video off and your pants on…), video conferencing tools were essential to many businesses during the past months.
For marketers, this development meant that they had to adapt their strategies to people’s home office routine – from when to post on social media to digital trade shows to online events.
- Customizable Service Options
Many major companies have shown immense support for their partners, clients, and communities to help them bridge the difficult times by giving out discounts, offering delayed payments, making donations, and much more. Some companies like MailChimp or HubSpot even offered some additional services for free to make the transition to remote work easier for users.
At Flawless, we started developing a range of Lite Programs early on so as to specifically address the needs of companies that had their marketing budgets cut down or stripped away. With more options to choose from, we want to make sure that there's something in it for every taste.
Many companies had to learn to embrace the benefits of online selling the hard way. With store purchases dropping, E-commerce became the only solution and will be here to stay.
- Influencer marketing and Sponsored content on Social Media Platforms
In times of crisis, people crave security and content they can trust. Influencer marketing and sponsored content are a great way to address this need. Social media platforms made the implementation easier by introducing online shopping within their applications.
- Video Streaming and Workshops
Companies offered free learning and education tools, upgrading and imparting knowledge with webinars and workshops, and in many cases opening up gated content for the world to see.
Flawless responded to the rapid changes with a number of workshops on Change Management – those events turned became our most successful yet.
- Building Partnerships
Most companies realised quickly that being alone during this period of upheaval would only diminish their chances at survival – so they teamed up with other companies and collaborated to offer services together. As a result, many businesses pivoted from competing with others to advocating for each other.
What We Have Learned So Far
The takeaway: the companies who embraced (digital) change and invested in their networks significantly increased their success chances throughout the pandemic. There’s an inherently human lesson to be learned here: marketing is about meeting people where they are, and if a global pandemic forces everyone to change and adapt fast, the winners will be the companies who react fast to embrace that change and lend a helping hand.