Amber Clarke is senior account manager at The Project Factory.
We are starting to return to the familiarities of what life was like prior to COVID-19. Kids have gone back to school, some people are starting to return to their office and cafes and restaurants have reopened their doors (at least for some of us). COVID-19 has ultimately changed the way we live and work.
We have seen tremendous leaps and bounds as many businesses have implemented years worth of digital transformation in a mere few months.
According to Roy Morgan, a whopping 68% of Australian workers have ended up working from home on some level. Not every business would have been in a position to have their employees work from home.
For some, it was as easy as ensuring all staff members had an internet connection. For others that couldn’t anticipate changing the very nature of their business, they sunk or they’re ferociously trying to swim to avoid drowning.
Let’s look at Yamaha for example. They developed an app called Remote Cheerer by SoundUD which allowed sports fans in Japan to bring the excitement of the stadium into their own home. Within a few taps, fans could cheer, chant, clap and boo adding their own atmosphere and flare to the game. The sounds were then broadcast, in real-time, through the stadium allowing players to hear it all. Talk about getting creative with social distancing in mind!
Traditional marketers are now looking at an unrecognisable marketing funnel.
All the stages of the funnel are still there, they just look a little different. Marketers still need to generate leads, create engagement and influence purchase, but the order in which they do so has shifted and the tactics used are no longer as predictable as they once were.
We will see more of a shift in the way consumers purchase because the pandemic has essentially changed consumer behaviour forever. Consumers aren’t as willing to purchase immediately. Even for those still employed, much of the workforce globally has seen a decline in their income and most aren’t confident that their economy will even recover.
Consumers preparing for an ongoing economic downturn takes precedence over a new pair of shoes. They’ll be looking for ways to save money as well as cut costs. Value for money will be at the forefront of any consumer’s purchase decision. Australians have always respected the ideology of ‘mateship’ and supporting one another through tough times.
Value for money won’t necessarily mean cheaper is better. Many of us have turned to support our local businesses because we know our money will be supporting our community and keeping their doors open.
This is the perfect opportunity to look at the likes of your social and content strategy, and your creative direction. We know that changes to these two things can take months to see their return. So, whilst you’re reigning in on budgets in other parts of your business such as outdoor advertising, place some extra tender, loving care into the sometimes forgotten ‘set and forget’ marketing pillars - and get to know your customers on a deeper level.
Data has always helped us to understand our consumers and the route they take through the marketing funnel.
We saw many businesses stop allocating budget into online marketing to try and survive through the unknown. However, the longer businesses hold off on this, the longer it’ll take for them to recover.
Social distancing means consumers are at home for longer periods of time and they’re searching for products and services online more than they did prior to COVID-19. There is no better time than now to really pay attention to your online presence and digital marketing strategies.
As we head back into the next version of the ‘new normal’, some consumers will retain the behaviours they picked up during the pandemic and businesses will need to use what they’ve learnt through COVID-19 and apply these to their ongoing marketing strategy.
Just like businesses, consumers have also undergone a digital transformation and the work/life balance has become blurred. Activities like exercise or shopping have become things we are doing at home. Even as restrictions are relaxed, some of us continue to do our HIIT class and order groceries online. Post-pandemic, many will see a trip to the shops as an outing, something fun to do outside of our normal, home-based online routine.
All in all, if you’ve successfully set up a hybrid version of what your business was, you’ve passed the first recovery hurdle. There’s still a long way to go but we’ve survived through the first part of the pandemic - the part where we have all been backed into the same corner and somehow, we’re making our way out. We'll all need to keep flexible and with an open mind in order to handle what comes next.