Marketers Adjust Efforts to Keep Up Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic
On January 9th, 2020, the World Health Organization was caught off guard when a virus was discovered in China. This virus began to rapidly spread through Asia, then making its way to Europe, and quickly began to take over the world, hospitalizing millions of people in the process. By March, it had finally hit the United States, harder than any of us could’ve ever expected. As you all know, I’m talking about the COVID-19 pandemic that consumed the entire year of 2020 for people around the world. Everything from businesses to schools to public parks was shut down, and people were forced to stay at home for months. The population was forced to quickly transition from their daily routine to working and learning from a computer and spending every day at home.
During the pandemic, with everybody forced to stay home, marketing became even more critical for companies than it previously ever had been. Marketers needed to find new and unique ways for their companies to safely interact and engage with their customers while they’re trapped at home. While many top marketers acknowledged the current challenges that every company has battled due to COVID-19, they also see many emerging opportunities for them, in the long term, after the pandemic has ended.
According to the American Marketing Association, marketers have found that throughout the pandemic, trusted relationships with brands have been customers’ highest priority. Recently, this could very well be because people have had to do a majority, if not all, of their shopping online, so they will naturally pay more for the brands they know. However, this focus on trusting relationships has been on the rise since 2009, increasing by 47% in the last 11 years. This is an opportunity for brands to roll out new products that their loyal customers, who are currently less price-sensitive, will use!
Another effect of the pandemic is a heavy increase in social media usage since people no longer have anywhere to go and fewer things to do. This has caused social media to become an extremely important tool for marketers to stay engaged with their consumers. The American Marketing Association claims that over 84% of marketers say they’ve relied on social media for brand building during the pandemic, and over 54% say they’ve used it for customer retention during the pandemic. Overall, social media marketing budgets have risen by roughly 74% since the pandemic began! This heavily increased reliance on social media could very well continue in the long term and could potentially become a new normal for top marketers after the pandemic.
An intangible lesson that marketers learned over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic is to pivot as new priorities emerge. The pandemic really has worked on their ability to adapt and improvise to come up with new strategies, while the market and every company’s priorities were constantly changing. Marketers now rank this ability first when asked what they will look for in their new hires because, now, every company wants to be prepared, just in case anything similar to 2020 happens again in the future.
In the end, this pandemic has really required marketers to rethink their company’s marketing strategies and the ways that they engage with their customers. In every industry, marketers should learn from this pandemic and incorporate those lessons into how they go about their marketing in the future, in case the world ever runs into a problem like COVID-19 again.
Author: Tyler Lombardoni