The Coronavirus pandemic has led many people and businesses to reevaluate what is important. Marketing trends have reflected that. While that en-mass realization has resulted in a movement now widely referred to as The Great Resignation, to be successful in a post-corona world, businesses must display digital empathy and put people first. An effective way of businesses showing people they care is through personalization.
The increased digital engagement throughout the pandemic has introduced new ways of working. Companies that embraced the changes, not only survived the pandemic, but often now see improved customer engagement and increased revenue. We knew the world was beginning to adapt to digitization, but the Covid-19 pandemic grew demand for digital communication at a rapid pace.
This acceleration in digital adoption has altered consumer behavior and expectations. Tools such as Zoom and Google Meets stepped in to fill fluorescent-lit, office-shaped voids in our professional lives. As people increase their digital footprint, personalization comes into play as consumers crave tailor-made experiences to share virtually.
As a result, businesses have stopped narrowly defining digital communication as another channel for commercial gain. Instead, they see it as an enabler of interactivity and a platform for personalization opportunities.
In addition to this, the way marketers communicate internally is now almost as important as how they do so externally. The desire for communication tools to replicate the way people naturally interact and share knowledge has resulted in a more adaptable, agile mindset. With that, businesses are starting to get a better understanding of the complex and varied needs of individual people within an organization.
More people are trying new brands. Thanks to the pandemic, many people tried shopping locally for the first time too. In 2020, Barclaycard found that while overall UK consumer spending fell by 36.5%, independent grocers and bakeries saw growth of almost 38% for the same period. In addition, Google reported a 20,000% increase in ‘near me’ search results in early 2020. However, this runs much deeper than where you buy your bread.
As people leave cities in favor of more rural locations, localized marketing is likely to continue to grow. According to Accenture, two-thirds of consumers now shop primarily in neighborhood stores, seeking more local produce where possible.
In response, marketers must be aware that people are prepared to swap and change on a whim, often preferring to support businesses they can directly relate to. This flippant behavior, known as ‘brand migration’, could prove difficult to combat completely.
In early 2021, Forrester Research encouraged marketers to increase spending on loyalty and retention programs by 15%. Looking to the future, global audiences will not accept being an afterthought of a business. The concept of the ‘global village’ means marketers need to incorporate internationalization into each level of the company.
Localized content, through personalization, will have a key role in building and maintaining connections and engagement with customers. As localization looks to accelerate marketing automation, the impact of reverse urbanization means businesses need to be locally minded and collectively conscious. Doing so will provide businesses with a distinct competitive advantage.
Deloitte found sustainability a key concern of consumers in 2021 with 32% of survey participants striving to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. The same study also found that one in three consumers have stopped buying from a business because of ethical or sustainability concerns. While many brands try to promote their sustainability, if they do it wrong, they are called out for greenwashing. It’s a delicate balance.
With one in five people trying to purchase fewer brand new products, more people are starting to favor buying smarter instead of buying often. As Google put it, consumer thinking has ‘an elevated consciousness of interrelatedness’.
While sustainability is nothing new, the pandemic certainly made many people think about what they valued the most. If the values of a business do not match their own, consumers simply look elsewhere.
As marketing budgets around the world were slashed, many companies turned to influencer marketing power for their new campaigns. With social media heavyweights becoming brand ambassadors thanks to their large following and approachability, businesses used this to speak directly to audiences. This personal approach to marketing helps to build authenticity and establish trust.
As mindless buying falls out of desire with consumers, from a marketing perspective, businesses will continue to enable smarter purchasing. Going beyond talking, businesses should strive to embed their values as ‘features’ to make their product/service stand out.
During the pandemic, many people found themselves with a lot more time on their hands. As a result, interactive elements such as quizzes and contests may have seemed like a good idea. (Be honest, how many pop quizzes did you take in the beginning?) However, these interactive elements should remain part of post-pandemic marketing strategies.
Conducting more research themselves, consumers are stepping into their buyer journey armed with a good amount of knowledge as to what they want. As a result, marketers must put more time into keeping people engaged. Complete with actionable insights, interactive elements in content marketing can serve as a powerful driver of business growth.
Ways of improving your interactive marketing game include taking audiences on a journey with an interactive story or even creating a two-way interaction with a quiz. When content is personalized to this level, the likelihood of the content being found interesting increases. If a person finds your content interesting, they will be more likely to put effort into it, thus gaining more from it.
By using advanced technological tools, such as Turtl, you gain detailed customer insights. Consequently, you can use this information to further personalize your content, enabling a more meaningful experience cycle for your audience.
Thanks to a combination of the above, consumers will continue to expect more personalized content, relevant specifically to them. Impressively, 88% of companies believe personalization plays an imperative part in their engagement strategy, with 75% claiming their personalized services are excellent. In contrast, only 48% of customers agree. This jarring disconnect proves that businesses need to develop their understanding of what it means to offer outstanding personalization.
As the measure of true quality continues to evolve, the difference between awareness and engagement continues to grow. The Coronavirus pandemic changed consumer mindset. It is that shift in mindset which creates new opportunities for the marketers that can adapt to the changes. Businesses need to be agile and ready to experiment in an ever-evolving marketplace. In an age of innovation and creativity, omnichannel marketing is an essential part of business survival.
While we may not be able to predict the future, we do have the power to shape what we know is coming. The challenges of the early 2020s have changed the world and, with it, the marketing landscape. Those that were able to rapidly adapt proved most resilient. Moving forward, businesses must be ready to move as fast as consumers and not disregard everything the pandemic has taught us.
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