“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” -Stephen Hawking

It’s no secret the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many businesses and turned their normal operations upside down. According to a recent survey by Influencer Marketing Hub, 74.6 percent of U.S. consumers said they are avoiding shopping centers and malls and using online shopping as an alternative. The change in shopping habits along with other factors has led to a decrease in revenue for 65 percent of brands. Even after social distancing and safety restrictions are lifted, a mere 4.5 percent of U.S. consumers say they will have both the ability and confidence to spend on retail goods. So, what do all these habit changes mean for the marketing industry? It means we will have to adapt to the change and cater to our audience’s wants and needs in new ways.

Marketing on a Budget

With revenue down and many businesses looking to save money, it’s not uncommon for marketing staff or agencies to be the first to go. However, the trends seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have been different. With internet usage up by 50 to 70 percent during the pandemic, one in four companies are increasing their marketing efforts.

Although some consumers may not be buying products or services, they are engaging online, so now is the perfect time for marketers to reach out to these individuals and create influential relationships. Finding creative ways to speak to consumers’ concerns will be imperative for industry professionals. For example, hosting a virtual “Coffee and Conversation” where a leader from your company presents on a topic not only creates brand awareness and positions your company as a thought leader, but also helps address consumer concerns and provides them with a platform to ask questions. This simple, low-cost virtual event can make a big impact.

Brands have a variety of resources they can use to connect with their audiences. However, moving forward after the global crisis, marketers will need to evaluate which strategies are the most important to the brand and find ways to make their budget stretch further than ever before.

The New Message

Following the coronavirus, consumers will expect marketing professionals to be more mindful of their messaging. Instead of pushy sales emails and ads, consumers will want to see empathetic communication that connects with them on a deeper level. Marketers should look to their company’s purpose statement and values to help guide new messaging (and for some it may be time to evaluate these critical assets). Remember, effective customer support is not always tied to revenue. Although many brands will face financial hardships following COVID-19, developing messaging that pushes consumers to make a purchase, may come across as unempathetic and turn individuals away from your brand. Moving forward, marketers will need to find the balance between addressing consumer feelings, wants and needs, while still finding ways to benefit their brand’s bottom line.

Digital Marketing is Key

The New York Times recently stated the “coronavirus has changed the way we internet.” With a rise in internet usage, video chatting and social media scrolling, marketers will need to keep up with consumer’s consumption changes, while keeping cost in mind. A few budget-friendly digital marketing strategies include producing relevant content and implementing Facebook and Instagram advertisements.

With an increase in internet usage, it will be important for brands to be seen and heard through all the clutter. One cost-effective way to increase your brand’s organic search results is by developing relevant content. Having a strategy is important when developing content that will make an impact and connect with your audience. A strong content strategy includes having a core message that unifies each piece your brand develops, a unique, fluid persona that makes it seem like you are talking to your audience member and content that is relevant to your audience and adds value to their lives. Marketers should also do their research to find what is trending in their industry and then write blogs on those topics. It will be important to track keywords and ensure those words are incorporated throughout website copy, blogs and social media posts.

Facebook and Instagram ads are another tactic that can be used to increase brand awareness at a relatively low cost. With over 70 percent of the U.S. online population on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram, social media advertising is a great way to get in front of an audience. Using Facebook and Instagram ads allows businesses to reach a diverse group of individuals with their message. To maximize your funds, understand who your target audience is. For example, Facebook ads let you target individuals based on their interests, buying intentions, occupation and much more. Knowing the demographics and psychographics of your target audience will help you narrow in on those individuals via Facebook ads, making this marketing method more effective.

To learn more about how you can increase your brand’s digital presence during and after the coronavirus pandemic, check out our How To Increase Your Digital Presence During COVID-19 blog.

We are here to help your business succeed during and after these unprecedented times! With experience in strategic marketing, crisis communications and digital marketing, our team is ready to help your brand dig deeper and exceed your goals. Connect with us today to learn how we can help!