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Post-Covid: Adjusting Your Marketing Strategy
As we emerge from lockdowns, masks, and fun in the summer sun, times are changing both in the world and in the digital landscape. The pandemic created a huge shift inmarketing that will change the way we will all connect with our audience going forward.
As masks come off and more people are becoming vaccinated, we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. In response, businesses need to be celebrating this move forward with their customers, without forgetting or neglecting to acknowledge the past. The best marketing strategy is one that evolves with changing consumer demands and shifting priorities.
Getting Back in the Game
One thing we do know for sure is that cutting your marketing budget isn’t going to cut it anymore. And no, that is not a shameless plug to #jointheherd. Although we are taking on new clients! Take it from the American Association of Advertising Agencies which found that 43% of consumers find it reassuring to hear from brands. In addition, 56% said they like learning how brands are helping their communities during the pandemic. Only 15% said they’d rather not hear from companies. If you’re not meeting your customer where they are, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity because they won’t be coming to you. Long-term studies show that the right approach during economic uncertainty is to increase — not decrease — your marketing spend. (Entrepreneur). Just like financial advisors warn you not to sell your stocks when times turn, marketing experts follow the same philosophy… and it works. Consider adopting an agile marketing strategy rather than turning your focus away from marketing all-
“If you’re not meeting your customer where they are, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity because they won’t be coming to you.”
Lead with Empathy
Fostering genuine connection and trust between a business and it’s customers has always been a foundation for a great marketing plan. However, now more than ever, consumers are looking to businesses to show genuine empathy and concern. In order to build a connection with your audience today, you must reach them where they are. Broken, sad, tired, resilient, and hopeful. Understandably, people are tired from a year that wreaked havoc on their mental state, family unit and financial security. Therefore, people are not looking to social media to find sales gimmicks. Instead they are looking to social media to offer respite and solve their problems. Emerging from the pandemic, people are in a heightened mental state. Creating a non-judgemental dialogue about mental health awareness and community support is a great way to get started. Leading with sensitivity and emotion is the best course of action. Other ideas include sharing more organic or personal content, trying nostalgia marketing and checking in with your audience’s wellbeing.
Adopt a change-mindset in which you understand that the data from today might well shift next week and the response across social media is flexible and fluid instead of rigid and concrete. Post pandemic marketing is a great example about why we should adopt this mindset. Our thoughts, emotions and desires are constantly changing as our environment changes, so it makes sense that the way customers want to interact with brands is constantly changing.
Flip the Script
There is also a need to flip the traditional marketing script. Rather than come from a standpoint of “what do you need from me,” the focus is now “what can I do for you.”
“Communicating to the market that your clients are the real heroes of your story is the right tone to take in today’s environment”– (Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications).
Many companies and even small businesses offered their product or service for free for a limited time in order to help their community during the pandemic. Focusing your strategy on how you can give instead of what you can receive, may not make sense for your numbers in the short-term, but in the long term, it will create brand loyalty and trust among your audience, which is as good as gold.
Using technical jargon and pushy sales tactics are no longer relevant in today’s landscape. Instead, focusing messaging around problem solving, light and funny content, and giving back to your community, is much more relevant. If you haven’t thought about corporate social responsibility (or more informally CSR), you need to. In a post pandemic world, consumers are resonating with brands that use their platform to raise awareness, foster change and give back. Businesses need to be incorporating their ethics and brand values into their identity on social media and following through with their claims. Simplifying messaging to make them easily digestible is also a good course of action. Rather than driving a hard bottom-line message, putting an emotional tone on your messaging will go over much better. Factors like sustainability, trust, ethical sourcing, and social responsibility are increasingly important to how consumers select their products and services. (HBR).
“Using technical jargon and pushy sales tactics are no longer relevant in today’s landscape”
There is no going back to “the way things were.” Therefore in order to be relatable to our customers, we need to reference social trends that underscore the “new normal” they are living in right now. Take advantage of all the newness that surrounds your audience and use humor to appear relatable. Referencing trends like “virtual happy hour,” #shoplocal, and virtual experiences and events, will resonate with your audience.
We all shared a similar human experience and in 2020 that just so happened to be pajama pants on Zoom calls, technical difficulties and tutoring 2nd grade math. These are all trends that grew from uncertainty and shared vulnerability. And there are hundreds more! We were all looking for ways to make the world seem less scary and the effects of the pandemic less adverse.
Are you adjusting your marketing strategy in this post-pandemic world? Hopefully, now you are thinking of ways that you can make your social media more personable, relatable and empathetic. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is how to connect with people from a distance. As marketers, our job is just that.