The inherently dynamic and fast-paced form of digital marketing makes it perfectly suited to business advertising both during and post-pandemic. However, this is not to suggest that the demands of customers and strategies of businesses during, versus post-pandemic, will remain constant.
Based on the projected impacts of the pandemic, increased benefits of digital marketing post-pandemic are outlined below, as a form of crisis management.
How has marketing been reconceptualized as a result of the pandemic?
During the pandemic, a wide range of businesses have worked to increase their online presence. Both brick and mortar locations and online shops have done everything imaginable to generate more business and the online space is where businesses are turning to open new sources of revenue.
Music festivals, for example, have been hosting online live events. With so many more people staying in, there has been a massive increase in internet usage and thus, in audience size for online businesses.
Meghan Keaney Anderson, VP of Marketing at HubSpot, evokes striking imagery to demonstrate this process and the subsequent digitalization of marketing, “If there is one image that illustrates the fact that the marketing world is moving from offline to online during the pandemic, it’s that of empty billboards. From Tokyo to Toronto, outdoor advertising canvases that were once in high demand have been left blank as marketers pour all of their resources into online channels. And in most industries, it’s likely to remain that way.”
Why is it important to maintain this new model of marketing in post-pandemic life?
Post pandemic, businesses will be able to capitalize on digital marketing campaigns that focus on strengthening relations with consumers and building customer loyalty rather than short term profit, to generate long term profit. This will involve maintaining that digital marketing platform at a higher level of activity than before the pandemic since it is this platform that customers will have developed a long-term relationship with.
Through market research taking place in the middle of the pandemic, HubSpot has found that consumers cite “customer care” as the most important factor affecting their opinion of a company.
However, “after the pandemic” can be a misleading phrase: it suggests that there will be a time soon when we can definitively put coronavirus and lockdown measures behind us. This is unlikely to be the case for a considerable time. Digital marketing is, therefore, particularly a crucial mediating tool for businesses moving between being online versus offline, as for many this status will remain in flux.
Digital marketing systems, still able to advertise as well as update clients on this changing status, will be the only constant. For instance, an online version of a business’ event (such as the music festival example referenced above) can be produced and kept in reserve in case of increased coronavirus restrictions leading to the physical event being canceled.
In addition to this online event providing an alternative opportunity for profit, it means that all the advertising promoting the physical event is not wasted – it can simply be redirected to the online event. Similarly, for large-scale events now taking place online, businesses selling individual products are capitalizing on the advantages of inside selling. It allows workers to connect with customers at any time, and likewise from any place.
Personalized follow-up emails allow them to increase their productivity while still maintaining the personal connection which is traditionally an attribute of outside selling. This demonstrates how digital marketing enables adaptation to a fast-changing market, and therefore, will only become more valuable as time goes on.
Further to this, eCommerce statistics demonstrate that 85% of customers now research a product online prior to deciding whether to purchase an item. This would suggest it is more profitable for companies to spend their time or funds providing information catered to the needs of the individual client rather than providing demonstrations or samples in person.
This is also supported by the fact that the number of customer-initiated interactions using self-service formats has increased by 45% during the pandemic; actions that can be incorporated more easily and successfully into digital marketing as opposed to physical marketing.
More specifically, the current unpredictable climate means that customer opinions - and demands - are more changeable than ever. Social media, since it is so accessible for customers, is an essential tool for getting feedback from consumers and staying up-to-date with the views of your target audience and how they relate to your service or product.
In addition to social media providing a forum for you to actively engage with customers, having a social media presence will also result in more user-generated content, increasing the exposure of your business. Social media is therefore a key aspect of digital marketing.
A couple of sites have overhauled their web designs to give a better experience for their visitors since a good first impression is crucial to retain customers and visitors and avoid them from leaving your site. All efforts in digital marketing could be wasted when people visit sites that are poorly-designed. Web redesigning with the help of a web design firm or an experienced web designer is one of the best ways to go to improve the aesthetic appeal and user experience of a site.
A Changing Landscape for Business Relations
In addition to the reasons outlined above, social media marketing is crucial as it offers a new means of communicating with other businesses and fostering relationships with them. With accounts or advertisements appearing on the same forum or medium and subsequently similar businesses often part of the same social media community, companies are encouraged to work together for mutual benefit rather than work against each other as rivals.
This productive rather than destructive means of engaging with similar companies provide an additional channel of profit. Businesses that revert back to a purely physical, rather than online presence post-pandemic, will lose out on this potential opportunity.
Awareness of the benefits of online socializing, purchasing, and other business practices via the internet has been heightened as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic has forced all groups who otherwise have eschewed the online world – such as older generations – to interact with it, and learn how to function via an online presence. Likewise, many businesses, having set up online systems, may now continue to use them, if tangentially, with physical business systems as well.
A Paradigm Shift in Business Solutions
In the same vein, the coronavirus pandemic has encouraged many simple conversions to the online space for practical reasons, which now seem much more convenient than what was in place before. This ranges from making the case that it is possible for many workers from many industries to do their jobs long-term from home (including the disabled) to pubs such as Wetherspoons taking orders via apps rather than waiters.
This digitalization of basic parts of a business on which the rest of a system is built encourages increased use of the internet and, accordingly, greater exposure to advertising, due to the wider reach of digital as opposed to physical marketing (leaflets, posters, etc.).
Change at such a fundamental level, as in the example of disabled employees working long term from home, demonstrates the extent of the transition from physical to online life, as well as indicates the enormity of its impact.
While the comparison of economic statistics concerning current, versus post-pandemic life suggests we can expect to see an economic upturn immediately post-pandemic, the wider projected picture suggests a serious recession. It is dangerous to ignore the benefits of marketing digitalization as it may be necessary for the maintenance and survival of many businesses.
On the other hand, to capitalize on the increasingly important role of digital marketing in the post-pandemic society may offer more than just maintaining your business; you may excel.
Use Tools for Productivity
As Meghan Anderson comments in 5 Ways Go-to-Market Strategies Will Change in the Post-Pandemic Economy, “businesses that view this period of upheaval as a chance to create efficient new processes, upskill employees, and better serve their customers are the ones most likely to thrive in the coming years.”
Similarly, to the point made above, that the pandemic has encouraged older generations to come to grips with online businesses, Anderson’s article highlights that “while some companies may view this change as temporary, most will witness first-hand the benefits that come with inside selling and commit long-term to the model.”
Another way in which digital marketing will increase profit is that it will allow marketers to track exact statistics in terms of what is popular with clients, what is profitable or not, and therefore better manage both their strategies and budgets. This will be more important than ever if the experts are right about an economic downturn post-pandemic.
In conclusion, the pandemic has greatly accelerated the process of digitalization which the world was already undergoing. Therefore, it is more important than ever for businesses to incorporate digital marketing into their marketing strategies, as otherwise they will be left behind by their competitors.
Now that we have explored why digital marketing is of increasing importance, check out our additional article on how best to revamp your digital marketing strategies, and prepare for post-pandemic business! With the help of digital marketing advice readily available from Flying V Group, you can feel supported through this transition to online life and able to adjust to business in a post-pandemic world.
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Thank you so much for reading the Why Digital Marketing Will Matter More After the Pandemic. We really appreciate it! If you have any questions about our article, or can suggest any other topics you think we should explore, feel free to let us know.
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Robb Fahrion is a Co-Founder and Partner of Flying V Group. He is passionate about helping businesses grow using the power of the internet. Robb graduated from Chapman University in Orange, CA and currently resides in Costa Mesa, CA. Robb enjoys writing about digital marketing, helping his clients turn their dreams into reality, and he is a HUGE Mike Trout fan.