Post-Pandemic Marketing Realities
To navigate the complex world of digital marketing, marketers need to learn about real-world experiences, obstacles, strategies, and solutions from knowledgeable industry pros. After reflecting on the long slog that was 2020 and the long-lasting effects of COVID on people and businesses, I wanted to find out how marketing professionals in 2021 have adjusted to the new realities of remote work, remote commerce, and remote relationship building.
I posed the following question to five marketing professionals whom I admire:
The pandemic era that began in 2020 has had a profound effect on many businesses. As a marketing professional, how have you innovated or adjusted your marketing strategy to address the new post-pandemic world?
Hybrid Solutions Increase Opportunities
“In the case of our organization, we needed to adjust live training courses and live events such as conferences and seminars to online delivery and virtual conferences and seminars. While our ability to quickly and efficiently complete these adjustments proved mostly successful, in the case of conferences and seminars we continue to struggle with creating an online environment that mirrors the networking opportunities of a live face-to-face event. The return to live events has now given us the ability to deliver hybrid live/virtual conferences and seminars and our marketing materials now feature more details about the diversity of our conference attendees to stimulate registration to live events and pay an added premium for the networking opportunities available throughout the event.”
Get Comfortable with the Uncomfortable
“The pandemic forced everyone to think differently and adjust to a new reality: relationships at a distance. For instance, to ensure business continuity and maintain customer relationships, small and mid-sized businesses are adopting new ways to do business, in particular increasing the use of CRM solutions to focus on critical areas such as customer interactions, workflows, and internal communications. The closer we are, the less technology we need to start, maintain or expand a solution. I think most have realized that adopting those technologies would have taken longer, but the circumstances forced the change. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable!”
Transparency and Better Communication
“Post pandemic we’ve seen customers demand even more truth, transparency, and community from brands. This can be true for any pillar of the business, like product development and the materials being used and where we’re sourcing them from to cause marketing initiatives and the companies purpose. As a marketer, I’ve adapted our strategies to weave in these areas of heightened customer interest into our daily storytelling across our different channels. Not only are we being more transparent and vocal, but we’re also allowing customers to join us in our journey and help guide some decisions by engaging in two-way communication and seeing them as an extension of the brand. Customers are savvy, and if they’re in your industry they know you, your competitors, and exactly what they want and don’t want. They are your best resource, make sure they have safe places to interact and communicate with the brand.”
Marketing Lines Have Been Blurred
“The pandemic has paved the way for plenty of innovation and exciting new ways for businesses to interact or engage with their audiences and consumers. By the same token, it has managed to blur the lines between traditional marketing and digital marketing. That is, digital marketing is one form of marketing, but at some point, it will just be called “marketing” because of the importance that digital strategies have in the current landscape of marketing efforts worldwide. Consumer habits changed dramatically because of the pandemic. Therefore, it placed great emphasis on the importance of being able to reach consumers, maintain loyal relationships and foster new ones online.”
Pivot to Online Strategies
“Many of my strategies and communications have had to be formatted to reach my audience digitally. I have had to contact people by phone, or by email, or even by zoom. It has also led me to investigate software programs that would allow me to properly record any transactions or payments made by my company. The pandemic has forced me to apply many of my strategies online and rarely meet certain clients that need a face-to-face meet.”
Mr. Lewis Misses the Personal Interactions
In the case of Jose Victor Lewis, a large part of his marketing plans required creating awareness at industry conferences. Although he was able to recreate these conferences via Zoom, he pointed out that nothing could replace in-person relationship-building. He recognizes that technology can resolve most communication issues, but he longs for the days when he could meet someone in person and demonstrate the value of his company. As in-person events slowly return, he has found a hybrid model that promotes both virtual and personal solutions.
New Marketing Reality
The common theme among these professionals is the recognition of a new reality becoming the norm. Every single piece of internal and external communication is to be done digitally. There are no more face-to-face meetings. There are no more face-to-face sales calls. eCommerce has evolved into a streamlined process with quick delivery and attentive customer service. CRM facilitates customer interactions, workflows, and internal communications. All of these professionals noted that the future was thrust upon them more quickly because of the pandemic. The pandemic showed that technology had caught up with an entire workforce. Valuable employees could stay home and work with the technology on their desktops and in their pockets. Sales transactions are now quick, convenient, accurate, and secure. Digital technology and internet speeds will continue to improve and the remote world will grow exponentially as well. The remote life of the pandemic era will create new opportunities and challenges for marketers and businesses on a global scale.
As Covid Restrictions Ease
As the population gets vaccinated, the virus recedes, and restrictions loosen up, some businesses are returning to pre-pandemic policies. They may want to go back to business as usual, but employees, customers, and businesses have experienced the post-pandemic reality—and it is here to stay. There are opportunities for companies to address the flexibility, productivity, and company morale issues in establishing a successful post-pandemic policy. Employers may include more flexible hours and greater opportunities for work-life balance to satisfy the needs of employees and consumers who are living the new realities of remote work, remote commerce, and remote relationship building. The new marketing realities post-Covid show that eCommerce and remote work were quickly adopted and have been so successful that the businesses and marketing worlds have been changed forever.