5 Ways Covid-19 Has Changed Marketing Forever

20.12.21

Zeemo’s Digital Marketing Team takes a look at how the Covid-19 pandemic has changed consumer behaviour and attitudes and how your digital marketing needs to adapt.

As Australia begins reaching its vaccine milestones and starts to open up again, we take a look at how the sudden arrival and persistence of the global Covid-19 pandemic has shifted consumer behaviour and mindset.

As we bravely venture out of rolling lockdowns and back to business, many brands will have to revisit marketing plans and strategies that a coronavirus has completely upended.

With over eighteen months living in a pandemic, there have been major disruptive shifts in consumer attitudes and behaviour. We are now beginning to grasp the long- and short-term effects of these shifts and how companies must adapt their marketing to fit the "new normal".

Digital Marketing Channels

1. The Future of Retail is Digital.

Because of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, most consumers have altered their shopping habits for good.

Just two short years ago, you'd be hard-pressed to find any everyday shopper in a retail fashion store willing to buy a garment without first trying it on in the fitting room.

However, the shuttering of non-essential retail stores has driven buyers online, and eCommerce and omnichannel services have seen remarkable growth in usage, and there is no sign of it slowing down.

Post-pandemic, even with brick and mortar stores reopening, e-commerce sales from new or infrequent customers is expected to rise by a whopping 169%, according to a recent research report by Accenture.

Most customers who began using digital and omnichannel services, such as kerbside pickup or purchasing via social media platforms, out of necessity, anticipate they will keep doing so in the future.

2. Brand Loyalty is Diminishing.

The concept of brand loyalty has been shattered as a result of this overall shift in online buying behaviour in reaction to COVID-19.

With supply shortages and local shutdowns, over half of shoppers are trying out new brands in the current buying climate, and a third are adding private-label products to their cart.

As such, marketers need to monitor competitors closely and act promptly with incentives to return when customers migrate across brands.

Businesses that enhance promotional activity and make a concerted effort with quality content marketing to help strengthen customer ties will benefit from the recovery cycle.

According to Forrester Research, B2C marketers will spend 15% more in 2021 on loyalty and retention marketing while cutting back on product or performance-based marketing, which is likely to continue into 2022.

3. Consumers Want Clean and Green.

Sustainability and cleanliness must be weighed against each other to ensure the long-term viability of a brand's products and services.

With the pandemic requiring businesses to be hyper-vigilant with hygiene, many larger retail and grocery stores have gone cashless, increased the use of self-service checkouts and have requested consumers bag their purchases. These contactless facilities and buying habitats are likely here to stay.

One pandemic product hygiene trend that is likely to give way to the competing existential threat of climate change is the return to single-use packaging at the expense of reusable packaging.

With pressure to commit to clear carbon reduction targets to reduce emissions, unsustainable packaging will need to be abandoned sooner rather than later by fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) corporations and retailers.

4. Shopping Local and Supporting Small Business.

Localised marketing and promoting small businesses will become increasingly important as people relocate from cities to the suburbs and rural areas.

According to Accenture research, about two-thirds of consumers prefer to shop at neighbourhood stores or buy products made in their communities.

It's more crucial than ever to ensure your website is search optimised with localised content and integrated marketing campaigns focus on personalisation when interacting with your customers.

Localisation can also help drive marketing automation and data mining, allowing marketers to gain a better grasp on their return on investment.

5. Growth of the Stay Home Economy.

Consumers will remain cautious about resuming regular activities outside the home once economies reopen.

Many are apprehensive about visiting a hairdresser, a gym, or a restaurant, but they are especially concerned about shared areas such as the workplace and public transit.

Even as the pandemic begins to subside, many office workers may never go back to the daily 9-to-5, opting to forego their commute and continuing to work, at least in part, from home.

Aside from the explosion in the number of people using remote office platforms like Zoom and Slack, reliance on entertainment streaming platforms like YouTube, Netflix, and Spotify have become part of everyday life.

Even if COVID-19 is extinguished, consumer behaviour may never recover to its pre-disruption state. There has been a fundamental social shift as we spend more time at home in search of safety and security.

Real Estate data also shows a mass exodus of people leaving city apartments in favour of more remote or rural sea and tree change properties.

Conclusion

Marketers must reassess their understanding of their clients and their methods to reach and engage them in light of the dramatic shifts Covid-19 has had on society.

People's lives, jobs, and shopping habits have permanently changed due to the rise of telecommuting and the "crib economy".

Businesses must implement an omnichannel integrated marketing strategy that reflects these shifts when communicating with their customers to remain relevant into the future.

The new marketing landscape constantly changes, and brands must be nimble, imaginative, and ready to experiment.

For expert advice on marketing for post-pandemic success, contact Zeemo today.

We’d love to discuss your next project.