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It's no secret that the world has changed a lot since the outbreak of Covid-19. And as society continues to adapt to the new normal, so must businesses. This is particularly true for marketing departments, who have to find new ways to promote businesses and engage with customers in a post-Covid world.
Not only that, but marketing specialists are now more pressured than ever to discover new and creative ways to capture the audience's attention.
The new opportunities for businesses
Despite the disruptive changes the pandemic brought to workplaces, there are a few opportunities that businesses can capitalize on in order to bounce back and thrive.
Related: How to Navigate the Fast-Changing Digital-Marketing Landscape
#1: Build authentic connections
The times of cold sales without a carefully crafted message are behind us. The messaging truly makes or breaks the brand. A generic approach, lacking emotions such as empathy, compassion and warmth, is not going to cut it anymore. People are getting better at distinguishing when a company is authentic and genuine, following a trend or being over-the-top or fake. Spammy or "salesy" approaches drive potential and existing customers away, and it's a luxury that businesses cannot afford in today's competitive landscape.
Plus, considering the huge impact the pandemic had on people's mental health, their buying behavior changed. People learned to seek personalized approaches from brands that target their specific needs at any given time. This is a reason social listening has become the catalyst in a digital marketing strategy.
#2: Expand the digital world
In October 2021, Mark Zuckerberg announced his vision for the future of his social media empire, which revolves around the metaverse. This will become the successor to the mobile internet and it will be a VR/AR immersive environment. As the executives in Meta claim, the metaverse will be a sum of interlinked worlds where the users will be able to replace the physical environment. Meta has already created thousands of job offers in Europe for this specific purpose, and has invested millions in tech companies to ensure this project "is built responsibly."
Metaverse is expected to be fully developed by 2030. The extended lockdowns led to millions of people adapting to the new normal by working from home. After 2 years of lockdowns and restrictions, this is still the case for working people who depend on software and applications to do their jobs remotely. So a space like a metaverse is opening up a lot of opportunities for the business world and connecting remote teams.
#3: Invest in influencer marketing
Ever since the pandemic outbreak, social media usage has skyrocketed more than anyone could have imagined. New platforms such as TikTok took the world by storm, the number of social media users surpassed half of the global population in 2020 and content creators/ influencers became the voices of brands. Affiliate marketing and brand partnerships with influencers have successfully become a mainstream source of income for many digital professionals. Consumers turn to social media platforms and other people they trust to learn about brands before they complete a purchase.
The number of followers used to matter more when it came to reaching a big audience. However, this is no longer the case, as the algorithms are getting smarter and pushing more content to more people faster than ever. A partnership with an influencer can be a highly effective advertising method. An authentic review from everyday people carries a lot more weight than the cold, corporate message. For brands with a limited budget for advertising, deals with smaller social media accounts are usually low-cost while offering significant brand exposure.
How to adapt your business to the post-Covid era
Considering the new opportunities, business owners can use them to their advantage and craft their strategies accordingly. Here are 10 key strategic points to consider surviving and thriving in the post-pandemic business world.
Related: 3 Ways Covid-19 Has Changed the Marketing World
1. Your purpose is now a strategic priority
Simon Sinek is known for his book Start With Why. Even though he directs his message towards leaders, this applies to any business. The purpose of a business is no longer a small detail in the "About Us" page of a website. The leading brands in any industry excel because they have a defined purpose, which they communicate clearly to their audience.
The "Why" of each business is the driving force and now needs to be a strategic priority. Why? Because it is more impactful than the product or service. Plus, it showcases the values and the culture of the company.
2. Know your customer segment
Up until now, every marketing campaign started with this concept: Know your Customer. This entailed gathering data about the ideal customer and building a marketing plan around their needs. The strategic approach now has to involve customer segments, which means there are multiple different customer personas that marketing specialists need to address.
Businesses need to adapt their message to each segment, taking into consideration their buying behavior, their current needs and problems, their circumstances and what is relevant to them. Understanding each segment offers invaluable insights into media strategies and creative marketing approaches.
3. Deliver experiences to the customer
Businesses no longer have to compete with other businesses in the same industry. A brand has to compete with a customer's last best experience. Customers got used to seamless digital transactions, so now their expectations are higher than ever.
A business needs to deliver experiences that match or even exceed the customers' expectations in order to close the sale. This is possible by acquiring customer data and investing in machine learning and AI. As a result, businesses will improve their interactions with their audience and build stronger human connections.
4. Focus on the customer journey
Businesses used to highly focus on promoting their products or services to a wide audience and convert as many people as possible as part of their marketing strategy. Nowadays the marketing strategy needs to turn into a customer journey. If business owners holistically view how their clients interact with them, they'll be able to make the necessary tweaks to facilitate their needs. When people have a good experience when communicating with a brand, they are very likely to come back and also become a spokesperson for this brand.
5. Marketing is the heart of the growth strategy
While marketing was once considered a department that can be downsized in times of financial hardships, it is now the heart of the growth strategy. Marketing has evolved to be a lot more than just a promotional method. The marketing department is responsible to craft the message, promoting the company culture, connecting with the audience to better understand them and fostering genuine connections, and much more.
For this reason, a lot of companies have now integrated it to the senior leadership level to secure continuous growth and longevity.
6. Digital marketing is a must
Digital marketing is rightfully at the forefront of the post-pandemic business world. It has facilitated the integration of the digital space and has opened up new and exciting ways for businesses to communicate with their audience. Thanks to the myriad of new digital tools, content marketing has been one of the most cost-effective ways to increase organic traffic to business accounts on social media and their websites.
Related: The Digital Marketing Changes That Will Impact Your Business
7. Social selling is growing rapidly
Even though e-commerce was booming before the Covid-19 outbreak, the number of digital buyers has skyrocketed between 2020 and now. Online transactions quickly became a competitive advantage that a lot of retail businesses were after.
Social media platforms such as Instagram jumped on the opportunity to offer Shopping features, and that's when social selling became one of the fastest-growing fields of e-commerce. The convenience to add a storefront on a social media page has led to its tremendous growth. Based on statistics, social selling is estimated to reach $80 billion by 2025.
8. Invest in a multichannel strategy
Given how the expectations of customers have increased, having only one channel to communicate and advertise a business belongs to the past. Multichannel marketing combines traditional methods with the new technology, in order to improve the customer experience.
There are many benefits such as higher-quality customer data, more detailed buyer persona profiles, and improved and personalized email marketing campaigns. However, it is important to have a consistent brand image on all channels and prioritize customer relationships to have an effective and successful strategy.
9. Optimize for mobile users
A digital business cannot ignore the growth that mobile devices drive to their websites. More than half of the web traffic comes from mobile users. So it is vital for businesses to also provide a smooth experience for mobile users, such as easy navigation and quick loading time.
10. Marketing agility is here to stay
Another fortunate outcome of the pandemic has been the different mindset of permanent marketing agility. This will be a crucial growth factor, as it entails constant social listening, faster decision cycles, flexibility and adaptability to any new challenge.