The past year has taught many of us a newfound awareness of health and hygiene. Self-quarantine and social distancing have become the norm for quite a while, and throughout this period, we’ve all been left to our own devices. Digital devices that is. And as a global pandemic rages on in various countries (with some faring better than others), businesses and marketing companies have taken note of the changes in the consumer’s behaviors. Surely, a worldwide pandemic that forced millions of people to avoid physical contact with others has affected their behaviors and habits.
Below are some ways the pandemic has changed the marketing industry, and some of these changes can be expected to stay for good.
The Digital Migration
With everyone cooped up inside their houses during the quarantine, many businesses had to think quickly to keep generating sales despite the lack of physical stores. Thankfully, the digital age has provided options for modern conveniences like Uber Eats and DoorDash. Aside from food delivery services, many SMEs have also utilized social media in innovative ways to advertise their products. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram are now no longer just for entertaining videos. Many business owners and young entrepreneurs use these platforms to release marketing content that reaches a diverse audience more personally and authentically.
Localizing the Market
As major businesses opt for a work-from-home format, many citizens choose to disperse from cities and back into their hometowns (or even countryside residences). This creates an interesting situation: a surge in the local population means a shift in marketing trends. Thus, localizing the market has never been more important.
Services within an area now know to focus their marketing efforts on getting more leads and results. Small mom-and-pop restaurants, handymen, personal beauty services, and other industries have utilized geotagging in their online ads to limit their appearance locally. This increases engagement with people more likely to purchase their services (by virtue of proximity), enabling businesses to see more returns from marketing campaigns.
The Truth Matters
Throughout the pandemic, the social media giant, Facebook, has been suppressing advertisements regarding conspiracies about the disease. This, along with other ‘fake news’ outlets that often use paid advertisements, has become commonplace for the past few years. Such a situation brings into light one of the important tenets of marketing and advertising: honesty.
Fortunately, the end-users have also noticed this trend and have begun calling for better marketing practices from service providers and marketing platforms. In the future, we can expect more stringent measures when online marketing. As more and more people become aware of the influx of misinformation online, the demand for truth in advertising will only increase.
The spike in health concerns brought about by the pandemic has proven that no-contact conveniences like QR codes and FinTech innovations are here to stay. Developments such as QR payments and instantaneous bank transfers, or even food apps to online shopping, have proven useful. And interestingly enough, they involve less physical contact. While they weren’t made with the thought of a pandemic in mind, being designed for a long-distance, the no-contact transaction makes them the most appropriate for such a setting. And even as the pandemic dies down and many cities and businesses reopen, the convenience these no-touch systems deliver is simply irreplaceable.
Reviews are the New Word-of-mouth
In 2018, Vice, the YouTube channel, released a documentary about a top-rated restaurant named “The Shed” in the UK- but in reality, such a restaurant doesn’t exist. It reached the top rating on TripAdvisor despite it not even being a real business. This proves how powerful reviews are and how many businesses now vie for five-star reviews from their customers. The more good reviews a business rakes in, the more people will want to try out their business.
Technology has undoubtedly permeated our daily lives, and gadgets have become commodities that we bring with us almost everywhere we go. Because of this, many consumers get exposed to advertisements from a wide variety of platforms and devices. People see ads on their smartphones and their gaming consoles, from websites like YouTube to social apps like Snapchat. This is why many marketing trends tend to aim for multi-platform campaigns and target different audiences in different ways.
With how consumers have responded to various marketing strategies, these changes will likely stay and even evolve. In fact, some companies have used novel new strategies already, like hologram ads and huge LED ads on building facades. We are clearly in a new era in marketing already, and it’s bound to continuously develop in the next few years.