3 Things COVID-19 Has Taught Us About Digital Marketing

Andrew Copeland
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Like almost every other aspect of life and society, the novel coronavirus has thrown the digital marketing world on its head. What was once a guaranteed win is now underwhelming at best. As sales and marketing departments scramble to carry their businesses through this crisis, there are no sure shots and we move through the days and weeks shrouded in uncertainty – much like the rest of the world. 

However, as we enter month 5 of this global pandemic, there HAVE been a FEW themes from “the before times” that remain consistent – and are maybe even truer than they were six months ago. In this article, we’ll explore some of the key digital marketing themes we have identified since the coronavirus outbreak and provide you some tips that we believe to be “future-proof” for both agencies and internal marketing departments.

Empathy and Solidarity Take the Win in Digital Marketing

coronavirus marketing

Think of almost every ad you’ve seen over the past four months. I bet at least half of them have contained some variation of the phrase “we are here for you.”

While marketing has long been going in a more educational, user-friendly direction, we are now seeing messaging that showcases empathy and solidarity above all else. Brands have been successful in building trust through messaging that focuses on immediate challenges or concerns that may or may not be directly related to their product. 

For example, think of how automobile advertisements have changed. Manufacturers have shifted focus from marketing specific vehicles to marketing financing plans to help pay for those vehicles. Likewise, retailers are making “contactless pick up” a key value proposition instead of new products or discounts. 

And while these exact sentiments probably won’t survive post-pandemic, we can expect our audiences to grow accustomed to the change in tone – making empathy and solidarity the new normal for advertisers. 

Invest in Digital Marketing Technologies

Investing in marketing technologies has been an ongoing trend for some time now as more and more brands see the value in expanding their digital efforts. COVID-19 and the associated state lockdowns have really accelerated this path and we are seeing more and more businesses embrace new technologies.

Retailers and manufacturers are setting up eCommerce stores at a rate we have never seen before. In fact, Shopify reported a 62% increase in new stores created on their platform between March and April of 2020. 

Beyond that, more and more businesses have turned to digital channels to get their message out. And in doing so, they have also adopted new platforms to help them manage their website, emails, social media, blogs, and more.

But just like remote work, increased interest in MarTec is not going to be a temporary fad. With more and more businesses getting their feet wet, it’s likely that they will integrate – and even expand – their usage into normal operations. Businesses that continue to resist the shift to digital channels are going to be at a severe disadvantage in the coming months and years. 

Agility is Key

The ability to pivot at a moment’s notice is going to be key during this time of uncertainty. Whether society is experiencing a pandemic, reacting to social injustice, or preparing for an upcoming election, brands need to be able to pivot their messaging at a moment’s notice if they want to stay relevant in our rapidly changing society.

Adopting an agile approach to your marketing will give you enough flexibility to make big changes with short notice. Breaking up your marketing plan into smaller blocks such as monthly or quarterly is a good place to start. You might also find value in having daily or weekly huddles with your team to prioritize tasks and identify potential roadblocks. 

The benefit of agile marketing is that it breaks your marketing plan into smaller parts that are easier to manage. So when a big event happens in your business, industry, or society as a whole, it is much easier to adapt and change direction.

Moving forward. brands will need to adopt strategies and processes that allow them to react to a sea change at a moment’s notice or risk falling into the inescapable pit of white noise. 

The “New Normal”

Digital marketing is no longer the new kid on the block. Brands that have resisted or decided that digital wasn’t right for them are going to feel the consequences.

While not much is certain at the moment, one clear takeaway for those of us in sales and marketing is that times are changing and we need to rethink our approach. Finding new ways to connect with our audience and exploring new technologies that help us manage our business is going to be key. Teams must also be able to react to changes in behavior swiftly or risk falling out of relevance. 

At WEBITMD, our approach is about driving business. We help brands with strategy development, execution, and technology usage. If you’d like to learn how our Growth Stack can help your business, download this FREE guide to learn more!
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