As the year 2020 began, the expectations of the new year were soaring with excitement as people were celebrating the beginning of a new decade. That quickly came to an end when the World Health Organization declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020. On the marketing side of things, businesses had a very difficult time finding ways to distribute goods and services in new and effective ways. All in-person events were canceled as well as different TV and film productions had to come to a screeching halt. At this time, brands were now slowing down their marketing efforts as the entire world has been put on pause. As certain rules and regulations from the government lockdowns were lifted, marketing efforts picked back up around the second half of 2020. Businesses wanted to know whether the sudden change in streaming videos, online shopping, and curbside/contactless pickup will be permanent or temporary. For companies that do not particularly run television ads, the notion of “marketing” has shifted drastically. GroupM Global President of Business Intelligence Brian Wieser says, “Maybe the changes brands make this year are not media investments, but investing in the product, customer service, and the customer experience”. His prediction has been pretty spot-on as more attention has been placed on customer experience.
One of the main differences between the before and after of Covid-19 and marketing is the customer experience and expectations. In a world where before customers may have wanted the experience of the in-restaurant dining, shopping, and services, they are now more concerned with health and safety, hygiene, cleanliness, and convenience. Another major difference is the shift in technology used since the pandemic. Social media has played a major role in marketing over the past two years as lockdowns stopped people from going out, it caused them to have more free time to surf the internet or catch up on social media more often. This caused a need for brands to get in contact with influencers all over different social platforms to market their product for them. Now that influencer marketing is one of the top ways to market on social media, it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. What does this mean for brands both big and small? This means that a company’s return on investments or ROI can be greatly affected if they choose to use influencer marketing. When companies use this strategy, influencers constantly interact with their followers in a more personalized manner while promoting different products without sounding like they are trying to sell a product. Influencers also usually have a niche and promote products based on the niche their page is about. From a customer’s perspective, these influencers are figureheads of their specific niche, allowing the customer to feel comfortable when purchasing a product they have seen on an influencer’s page solely because they trust their opinion.
After taking all of this into consideration, Covid-19 has definitely changed the game of marketing and where marketing is currently heading. Facing adversity ultimately allowed marketing professionals to be more creative and find different ways to accomplish goals in a way that may have never been sought out before. Going forward it can be assumed that marketing will continue to change and become more and more advanced over time as technology continues to advance through adversity and creativity.
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