COVID-19’s Impact on Marketing - One Year Later
BY: Emma Harris | 3/18/21
Marketing is evolving but digital is here to stay
The marketing industry is constantly evolving. Whether it’s a change in the Google Ads algorithm, electronic billboards, the introduction of streaming ads, or TikTok advertising, new trends and obstacles arise consistently. Most recently, however, nothing has impacted the marketing industry like the COVID-19 global pandemic. Businesses have had to make important decisions this year based on murky forecasts and ever-changing regulations for "opening up." Uncertainty about when things would go back to “normal” and the fragile job market impacted the marketing industry significantly. The introduction of vaccines, particularly the new single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine, provides a glimmer of hope for an upturn in the economy, but many wonder how adaptations from this past year will affect the marketing industry for years to come.
Beginning in March of 2020, businesses have had to keep a watchful eye on their finances. Reevaluating projections, cash on hand, and current budgets went from a quarterly activity to almost weekly for some. Marketing budgets specifically either decreased or had to become more efficient by necessity. With the key marketing tactic of face-to-face relationship-building becoming obsolete, businesses have had to rely on online, digital experiences to bridge newly formed challenges. It is my prediction that enhanced digital experiences, an increase in social advertising, and new forms of client engagement will carry on beyond the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a study done by BaazarVoice, 62% of Americans said they shop more online now than pre-COVID. The same study shows that 61% of shoppers chose to shop on Amazon. Businesses like Amazon, who are pioneers in digital transformation, are now setting the bar for how businesses maintain their online customer experience. Customers expect few clicks to purchase, easy navigation to find what they need, and minimal hassle. This shift has caused many businesses to take a digital transformation more seriously than before.
A new standard for websites as we move out of the pandemic will be personalization. Personalized websites provide customized experiences for visitors to a website based on the visitor's demonstrated interest from past behaviors, searches, clicks, etc. SilverTech has prepared many companies for this change and wrote a whitepaper on a step-by-step approach to achieving personalization to help businesses navigate this new standard. As other businesses level up, websites that were sufficient prior to the pandemic will no longer be sufficient to meet new industry expectations.
Organic and paid social media have been lifelines for businesses, especially in the B2C space. Details about hours of operation, restrictions on carryout/dine-in, and the company’s support of social issues have been the saving grace for many businesses and have helped differentiate them from competitors. Due to an eventful political climate in addition to a global pandemic, consumers care now more than ever about a business's social impact and relationship to its community. The ability to have conversations, highlight employees, speak to causes they care about, and sponsor engagement on social media is critical for businesses when they are not able to make face-to-face interactions.
Additionally, paid social media offers targeting capabilities to show ads in the feeds of those with a demonstrated interest in your product or service. While consumers are spending more time on social media now than before the pandemic, many businesses have taken advantage of this tactic. Therefore, social ads and mobile-specific ads are seeing an increase in success. Notably, social media ads that look like ads are seeing fewer clicks. A big trend moving forward will be ads that look more like organic posts.
A focus on customer retention was emphasized during the pandemic when future revenue was uncertain. Thoughtful onboarding gifts and Zoom check-ins have taken the place of morning meetings or client dinners. Practices such as these may continue beyond the pandemic to be able to connect with clients that don’t reside in your region.
We’ve been living in a time of uncertainty for a year now, but optimism is growing with the introduction of vaccines. The marketing world may never go back to the way it was prior to the pandemic, particularly when it comes to digital. That’s why SilverTech has made it its goal of the past year to stay on top of all digital trends, to ensure our clients don’t get left behind. If you are unsure of how your digital strategy stacks up, contact us for a free audit.