December 31 2020

How to Adapt Your Marketing Efforts During and After a Pandemic

Brand messaging during a global pandemicIt’s no secret that 2020 was a tough year for us all. The world has changed and unfortunately, there is no instruction manual on how to navigate it. Nonetheless, it is our job as marketers and communicators to adapt our plans for continued success. Here are some tips for how to adjust your marketing tactics during and after a global pandemic.

Spread Positive Vibes

Today’s consumers are worried—about their personal health, their children’s educations, their finances and more. In a world full of uncertainty, people are looking for reassurance and peace of mind. So what can your brand do? In addition to promoting your products and services, consider a campaign to re-instill hope and spread positivity.

Look at Lacoste, for example. Over the 2020 holiday season, the iconic clothing brand developed the “Give for Good” campaign. Along with their packages, customers who ordered online received a delivery slip for a French charity called Apprentis d’Auteuil, which helps young people with education and professional training. Customers were able use that delivery slip to donate clothing to the charity free of charge. This campaign was effective because it incorporated both the goals of the business and the customer, while also helping those in need. The lasting result is a positive brand impression.

Feeling inspired to make a difference, but not sure where to begin? Start by thinking about other businesses and organizations in your area. Create a partnership that is mutually beneficial and helps serve your community. In a time where it is easy to focus on the negative, brands should feel empowered to bring people together and spread positive vibes.

Double Down on Digital

Internet usage was already on the rise, but in 2020, digital quickly became the only viable marketing channel for many businesses. Technology startups that previously relied heavily on tradeshows were no longer able to display their products in person. Small mom-and-pop shops that relied on outdoor advertising could no longer reach local consumers in quarantine. Medical sales representatives could no longer visit doctor’s offices to make pitches. Now more than ever, companies in all sorts of industries are shifting their marketing dollars toward digital in order to reach their target audiences. Technology startups can leverage social media marketing to showcase their new products. Small family-owned businesses can allocate money to paid search and display advertising. Medical sales can utilize email marketing to communicate their product offerings.

Not only is digital the place where you’ll reach both current and prospective consumers, it is also the place where you can track and measure success. Want to track how long a visitor stays on your website? Want to see how many leads open your marketing email? Want to know how many people engage with your social media post? Through powerful tools like Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, all this information can be obtained and used to make more informed strategic decisions, which will in turn save you time and money.

Understand Your Audience

Not only do you need to know which channels your consumers are using, you also need to know who they are. During the pandemic, your target demographic may have changed, along with their habits, lifestyles and routines. This means that different people may be engaging with your products in different ways than before. For example, in August 2020, video game sales in the U.S. increased 37% year over year. With this significant increase, it is fair to assume there are not only more video games being bought, but more people buying the games. Companies will need to do market research and pay attention to their digital analytics to see if their buyer personas have changed. With this knowledge, businesses can adapt to meet their consumers’ evolving needs.

Redefine “Success”

2020 has changed the way we do business, the way we live and the way we think. A highly effective campaign that resonated with thousands of people in 2019 may have felt outlandish or insensitive in 2020. It’s important to re-evaluate your brand messaging and overall marketing strategies on an ongoing basis as the world continues to change.

Take Capital One, for example. In 2017, the company created its “Banking Reimagined” campaign, highlighting some of its key differentiators. One of the ways that Capital One reimagined banking was by creating “Capital One Cafes.” This was a strategy to engage with a younger demographic who wanted to do banking in a relaxed environment with a coffee in hand. While this was a successful marketing campaign in prior years, Capital One temporarily closed several branches and cafés in 2020. Instead of spending marketing dollars on café commercials, Capital One—like many financial institutions—pivoted to promote online banking until in-person locations could safely reopen.

A campaign that was effective before the pandemic may not be effective now—and a campaign that is effective now may not be effective in the coming months. While the world remains in a state of flux, the key is to constantly monitor and measure your campaign’s goals and remain agile.

Continue to Adapt

While many of us are hopeful that 2021 will bring about a return to normalcy, it’s important not to take this for granted. Make sure you are tracking consumer behavior to understand and adapt to the changing wants and needs of your audience. And last (but certainly not least), be sure to continue spreading positivity through your brand; 2020 will not soon be forgotten.

Need marketing help? Talk to the experts at ZAG to see how we can help your business thrive in a changing world.

  • Analytics
  • Branding
  • COVID-19
  • Email Marketing
  • Paid Advertising
  • Social Media

ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide. See current job openings.
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