This article was written and submitted by DMI member, Maha Ahmad. It's all yours to play for, so if you want to get in the digital marketing game and make an impact Share your Own Work for publication in our Community Insights!
The Covid-19 crisis presents businesses with extreme challenges and fascinating new opportunities for growth and communication. This pandemic has destabilized whole industries and brought a sense of chaos worldwide. Entrepreneurs and organizations must act swiftly to minimize the direct and indirect damage that has been caused and present themselves to their customers positively through new and creative strategies. It is evident that businesses are facing a whole new world of unexpected change, and they need to adapt fast and keep evolving.
This article is inspired by a webinar given on June 23rd 2020 by Sam Zoghbi, a communications consultant and an ambassador and trainer for AIPMM (The Association of International Product Marketing and Management). In his webinar, Sam shared effective, cutting-edge methods for the measurement, design, and application of fact-based, strategic tools that can help businesses enhance their performance in this brave new world.
Our perspectives and priorities have changed since the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the past, we used to have data and marketing principles to follow - and it was like a science. When we applied this science, we would apply a strategy and get results that gave us informed decisions to develop ideal marketing plans. We also used to define our target audience, and get accurate data to help us make those strategic marketing plans. Plans were like an art, and they worked!
But nowadays, the world we know is changing into a very different one, and we sense tension in the market. It is understandable that consumers are weary during these uncertain times. When we see the number of virus cases disclosed daily by the World Health Organization, this directly impacts the way we behave and our priorities consequently change drastically. We are dealing with a new norm.
Do we know what will come next? We don’t have books and examples to refer to. The model that we have is facing something new for the first time. We have not had to stay confined to home before. We don’t have data to rely on as we did before. We don’t have focus groups or opinions. We struggle to collect accurate data to be able to forecast marketing plans.
So what do we do in these times of uncertainty? How can we be resilient and quickly adapt to a new way of doing things? There are no text books to go to, and we are forced to work from a ‘new comfort zone’. Organizations need to plan and find ways to overcome these obstacles, think about current activities and prioritize some business operations over others.
We need to address our new habits and new consumer spending. We can reflect these new habits into our own behavior and see the reality. What has changed in our own and our family’s behavior? How can we benefit from this? Are we gaming online? Are we spending more time on streaming platforms?
Are we spending more time with our family? How has all this affected our buying behaviors? Although online shopping was already booming, since the outbreak at the beginning of the year even the largest retailers are trying their best to manage unexpected consumer demands.
Over the next few months – the second half of 2020 – companies that want to survive in this new world need to think about where they need to focus their advertising budget. The list of most downloaded apps changed dramatically during the 1st quarter of 2020. We’ve seen the extraordinary rise of Zoom, Netflix, and TikTok– and these radical changes and new trends cannot be overlooked by brands.
What has changed for us as buyers? Now that we have recovered from the ‘crisis mode’, we have some breathing space. Over the next three to six months, we need to think about short-term plans and keep updating our services and adapting to these newly-adopted customer habits. Even the way we interact with people has changed. We cannot continue with implementing the same promotional strategies or do the same pricing - we need to rearrange our value propositions.
Health has obviously become a top priority, it’s no longer about money. New hobbies are being adopted now, with many taking on online courses, increased sports and exercise, gardening, drawing, painting, learning the guitar. Have you been spending more time in the kitchen lately? Everyone is indoors and feels the need to cook now, and these new trends should be addressed by brands in order to turn anything that can be seen as a threat into an opportunity.
During a crisis, we think about life differently. So we need to acknowledge that Covid has forced us to adopt new priorities. There is a change in the way we spend money. The money used for travel might now be used for a home pool, because our priorities have changed. Buying behaviors, buying processes, and shopping lists have also changed. In addition, brand loyalty has changed. The strategy for TV companies for delivery has to be revisited. Companies that want to survive must revisit their marketing strategy fast! This article from Forbes lists six smart ways a small business can look to rebuild their strategy.
Lots of research has been conducted to show how new touchpoints have been created because of the pandemic. We need to look deeper into this and understand our customers before we can evolve. Significant changes are happening to customer experience, brands are shifting their messaging to digital, business as we know it is evolving, and they need to evolve FAST to this whole new world.