Trends for Effective Marketing After COVID-19

We’re part of a small group of Chicago marketers discussing the marketing landscape as COVIDd-19 has impacted our clients’ business. How do brands shift to e-commerce faster? What products or new business models can a brand develop to build a ladder out of the current crisis? Can brands bring a sense of security during a crisis?

Below, we explore some of our top-of-mind predictions.

Prediction: Retail retraction speeds up even more.

E-commerce will become more common for larger ticket items like cars. It will be important to consider opportunities to create the same brand experience, without a retail space. This could mean anything from branded shipping packaging to a more robust email touchpoints.

Prediction: More digital detoxing.

With more people working remotely from home, having to be online all day and night will encourage more digital detoxing during downtime. Smart brands will find ways to engage outside of typically digital engagement.

Prediction: Setting expectations around disruption.

Panic buying freaked everyone out. You’re going to hear the words “supply chain” and “conservation” a lot more in marketing and advertising.

Prediction: Cause marketing gets more of the spotlight.

It’s already been happening but only going to accelerate now. Aligning It’s already been happening but is only going to accelerate now; aligning values is becoming a bigger and bigger reason for customers to buy. Every brand will need to be more outward about their values and the causes they support. Companies that want to play it safe will find non-political causes in their community. Brands that want to make a statement will take a bolder approach much like Nike did with their Kaepernick campaign. It was a risky move for them but it paid off in sales even before all the protest of 2020.

Prediction: Finding new ways to cultivate culture digitally.

This prediction is focused on the marketing industry but it could apply to almost any service business. With everyone is working remote now, what does it even mean to have a big office downtown? What is company culture and how does that play into a brand? Does it even matter? Can a Zoom or a Slack call replace those intangible moments around the water cooler? What happens when you have to let someone go? Do you just do it over a Zoom now? What would it be like to be fired in your pajamas? When everyone is working this way, how does it change the dynamic with clients?

Working from home can be great, but it can also be very isolating. I know there have been agencies that have been fully remote for years, and it was even a selling point for talent acquisition. Now, everyone has been forced to figure out how to operate remotely. There are going to be a lot of intangible business issues that will be interesting to see played out. Companies that can strike the balance between working from home and in-office will maintain a stronger culture, retain and attract better talent, and ultimately produce a better product. A lot of companies talked about their company culture before, but we anticipate it becoming an even bigger differentiator after COVID-19.

Prediction: The marketing industry becomes more homogeneous.

We’ve learned that even the best economy is very, very, very fragile without the right government infrastructure in place to manage through a crisis, no matter the size. Small and medium businesses have a harder time planning, growing, and even operating in these times.

Unfortunately, you’ll see more and more independent businesses go under. We’re moving to a market where only the largest of the large will survive and thrive unless there are programs in place to invest in and support small businesses. As much as we don’t want this to be true (and genuinely hope that it doesn’t play out), it’s important to be prepared and consider the long term potential of your organization. How can you invest in a strong foundation today to ensure your existence tomorrow?

Prediction: Big cities thin out.

The trend is to flock from the cities right now. Manhattan apartment leases The trend is to flock from the cities right now. Manhattan apartment leases are down 70% as of last month (April ’20). Much of Manhattan has vacated. 40% of Manhattan’s wealthiest population has left since April. (Not 40% of the entire population). That’s 600,000 people. It’s hard to anticipate exactly how this shift will impact marketers, but it’s an important consideration when considering the tone and messaging for your brand.

Prediction: The creative will survive.

If COVID-19 was anything, it was a wake-up call for all businesses and brands to get more creative. The restaurant industry is the clearest example of this with its pivot to online ordering and delivery. Those that didn’t already have this in their infrastructure took a devastating loss. Large brands like McDonald’s and other fast-food chains who were early adopters of this technology were in a position to stay open. Independent restaurants had to expand their thinking and get more creative with their business models. Online cooking class series, developing a retail product, strategic partnership with a vineyard or brewery, meal kits to go, catering, and a strong digital presence have become table-stakes for staying competitive in the industry.

Preparing for a world post-COVID.
This list just scratches the surface of the extensive ways COVID-19 will impact how we all do business. As the situation continues to develop, we’ll share more updates and recommendations for not just surviving, but thriving in a post-COVID world.

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