Life, as we know, came to a screeching halt due to the COVID-19 induced pandemic. With people cooped up inside their homes, nations looking at slowing economic growth and businesses driving down their costs, marketers are looking at a completely new landscape.
Strategic Intelligence Resource MAGNA, in their report, found that many industries are likely to reduce their marketing and advertising budgets in 2020, owing to the slowdown. The report also observed a transformation in media consumption, work-life shifts from in-office jobs to WFH, and utilization of online services, as a result of prolonged lockdowns and social distancing norms.
Hence, it becomes imperative to have marketing strategies that will keep up with these new realities. To keep brands visible online when the digital presence of consumers is at an all-time high, to have empathetic, personalized communication during these times are some of the critical components driving this strategy.
Here are four noteworthy marketing trends to leverage in the pandemic:
- Change in Consumer Behaviour
The pandemic has led to soaring surge in the time spent online and this change in behaviour is likely to prevail even after the pandemic. As per Engine, the online customer base of most categories has increased by 10%. In countries like the United Kingdom and the United States, e-commerce has grown across all product categories.
In China, where online spending was high before the pandemic, it is expected that the share of wallet spend will increase significantly. A study by Valassis adds that consumers are not only spending more time online but demonstrating new shopping behaviour such as buying groceries and food from restaurants online.
In this scenario, businesses that had a nascent digital presence or bare minimum digital marketing strategies must now build their capabilities to create the same. There should be personalised experience across platforms and individualised product and services recommendations for consumers.
Integrated marketing, along with the use of data, technology and custom tools, will help in tiding through the wave of changing needs and behaviour of consumers.
2. B2Bs adopting digital marketing
Marketers have detected an increase in spending on digital marketing by their B2B clients. With no means to hold live events, conferences, and exhibitions in the pandemic, B2Bs are restoring to digital marketing for networking and developing customer relations.
Forbes has noted that companies which were spending 50-60% of their budgets on such events are now directing it towards digital strategies. These businesses which earlier used word-of-mouth referrals and their long-standing reputation to reach new customers are now showing interest in updating their websites, building e-commerce portals and launching social media campaigns.
For instance, instead of spending on out-of-home and radio campaigns as earlier, Dell Technologies has invested in digital channels during the COVID situation. Ernst and Young, on the other hand, opted to create virtual events addressing their clients’ pain points rather than going further with TV campaigns as planned during pre-pandemic times.
B2Bs are likely to resort to digital marketing not just to sail through these trying times but keeping in mind that the pandemic is making a lasting impression on consumer behaviour.
3. Bid Prices for PPC Ads to get cheaper
Companies’ decision to restrain their spending on ads has resulted in lower bid prices for PPC (Pay-Per-Click) ads. As per a Google Certified Publishing Partner Ezoic, lack of placing ad campaigns by organisations has led to a reduction in competition in ad auctions, thus lowering the prices for everyone. The website notes that online ad rates are based on the global economy. This means that the slowing down of the global economy due to pandemic has had an impact on website traffic and ad rates.
As per Ezoic, the fall in overall ad spend is considerable. There is a decline of close to 5% in global ad spending. Compared to 2019, the drop is a significant 11%.
This year has seen the lowest digital ad rate growth ever recorded – of just 2.4%, says Ezoic. This is the first time that digital ad rate growth is in single digits. Marketers can leverage the ad market situation by redesigning their search marketing strategy.
4. Focus on service and creating trust
Since the pandemic has struck, consumers are looking for meaningful engagement when they are online. Their priorities have shifted, and they are looking for honest and empathetic communication. Taking the cue, businesses are demonstrating their helpfulness and developing trust among customers. Their plan is no longer to sell but to serve primarily in times of need. Brands can now work on and test new marketing strategies which are engaging and empathetic towards consumer needs.
Tesco’s marketing showed customers how it was helping them stay safe while shopping in their stores during the pandemic. Mastercard’s Chief Marketing Officer Raja Rajamannar in an interview, validated these strategies saying that now is the time to generate trust among consumers. This is because customers will remember what businesses did during the time of crisis which will affect how they perceive brands post-COVID-19.
While several companies are holding back on spending on marketing and advertising owing to financial uncertainty and supply issues, research says that now is the time to adapt to the situation created by the pandemic and develop marketing strategies that will have a long-term impact. It cautions that companies which cut back on investing in marketing will only hurt the future of their businesses in the long run.
Developing marketing strategies based on the trends coming off the pandemic-era is the key to not only make the business relevant in these times but also to prepare for its impact on the future. Keeping up with consumer behaviour, focusing on building trust, factoring in businesses’ pivot to digital marketing and capitalising on low online ad will help marketers enable their clients’ businesses to thrive, unscathed by the pandemic.Tags: COIVD, Consumer Behaviour, Digital Ads, Digital Marketing, Google Ads, Marketing, Pandemic, PPC, Trends