As people around the world change the way they socialize, interact online and purchase products and services in new ways due to the Coronavirus, marketers are quickly learning how to adapt and change the way they reach consumers and businesses.
Marketing leaders must work externally to keep their brands and organizations intact while assessing the Coronavirus’ business disruption impact and adapting to the unexpected needs and wants of customers, according to the Harvard Business Review. Business processes are also changing due to both government regulations and new consumer habits, with digital marketing becoming a critical component leading the new ways that consumers and businesses interact daily.
Organizations must mitigate customer experience risks by deciding what they can and cannot do in response to social distancing regulations and sanitization requirements. So how can brands and organizations cope with the new normal? Through clear communications, engagement, and transparency in leveraging digital marketing tools and techniques.
Keeping audiences engaged is becoming critical to business survival, with transparent communications acting as a vital component. Engagement also helps brands and businesses form a shared understanding of what the organization, brand, or customer is trying to accomplish by how it presents, communicates, and uses its identity.
“While generally speaking, marketers are not responsible for keeping the public safe, it is critical that communications keep pace with the virus, evolving as new developments emerge. By monitoring the situation and acting fast, you’ll be better prepared to mitigate losses from cancellations, non-refundable ad spots, and so on,” 1 says John Lincoln, CEO of Ignite Visibility, a digital marketing instructor at UCSD and author of the book Digital Influencer, A Guide to Achieving Influencer Status Online.
This encompasses marketing and communications tactics that drive brand awareness through online advertising, marketing messages, and public relations efforts. It also includes digital marketing tactics such as social media, live video content, and podcasts. Lastly, engagement also provides customer relationship management and digital marketing solutions, such as email newsletters, social networking campaigns, and account-based marketing.
Trends Affecting Digital Marketing Strategies
The Coronavirus is already creating macro trends affecting the global economy such as the need for remote workforce optimization, increased localization, exploding eCommerce usage and Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) business models. All these key trends rely heavily on social media features and digital marketing.
In our previous post, Providing Contactless Services: What We’ve Learned and the Road Ahead,we highlightedresearch from Microsoft that found remote workforce optimization was linked to positive digital interactions that promote and influence productivity, much like digital marketing does.
Taking a cue from social media platforms and digital marketing to promote engagement, Microsoft encouraged human connections by advocating having “fun” using various portal and video conferencing technologies such as Microsoft Teams. This requires not only the use of basic video but also includes implementing custom backgrounds as well as using the “background” blur option to block out unwanted distractions. New Teams features will consist of the ability for users to virtually “raise a hand” and AI-enabled real-time noise-canceling to inspire even more engagement when working remotely.
Communicating and engaging online does not always mean live events with tens or hundreds of participants, either. Microsoft also encourages its employees to conduct “informal coffee breaks” online in Teams channels, for instance. Therefore, mastering how to produce and promote webinars and live events online is vital for businesses that want to leverage digital marketing to keep their customers and employees engaged.
Localization as a trend is also gaining ground with global shipping in decline and regional supply chains experiencing delays. Therefore, organizations today are promoting products that are “Made in the USA” to get products to consumers more quickly. eCommerce is also explodingas many customers are making efforts to minimize their public exposure by purchasing essential products online. Services such as Instacart for online grocery shopping is booming alongside grocery and convenience store online ordering with curbside pickup service. Communicating with customers on new processes for pickup and delivery while trying to maintain or boost sales makes communicating across every digital channel crucial for success.
And finally, Direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands such as Dollar Shave Club that deliver goods directly from the manufacturer to consumers, thereby bypassing standard distribution channels, are also gaining ground due to the Coronavirus as consumers shift their spending online versus in-store. New DTC brands may emerge beating out traditional sellers that do not have the digital marketing capabilities to flourish in this “new normal” business environment.
Conclusion With shifting buying habits due to Coronavirus, digital marketing techniques, and tools that promote online customer engagement and communication are now more critical than ever. Macro purchasing and supply chain trends are impacting the global economy, and the need for organizations to adopt a digital marketing mindset may not only help maintain customer relationships but also even grow sales during this turbulent time.