[PRESS OFFICE] In years or maybe even just months to come, we’ll be able to segment exactly how marketing and ‘business as usual’ has completely shifted before, during and after COVID-19.
This will give us insights and learnings into our new normal. So far during this lockdown period, there have certainly been learnings and insights we’ve gained into the marketing shift that has affected both the B2B and B2C markets.
We’ve looked at findings across the board, from the smallest ‘mom and pop’ business to the massive global entities, with more learnings sure to come to light soon. Here’s a breakdown of our newest insights learnt to date.
Marketing before COVID-19
In a B2C landscape
Many small businesses rely on client walk ins and repeat business from the same clientele. They also use more out of home marketing efforts, with small businesses slowly adopting digital marketing efforts such as social media and e-commerce. Bigger businesses are fully embracing digital marketing, influencer marketing and reaping the rewards of brand love and sales.
In a B2B landscape
Many small businesses who operate in the marketing of products and services rely on ‘old school’ but reliable forms of marketing such as word-of-mouth, up- and cross-selling to existing clientele, in person business expos, events and conferences. Bigger B2B businesses embrace digital marketing efforts through email marketing, blogs and thought leadership articles through niche market publications, YouTube and LinkedIn marketing.
Marketing during COVID-19
In a B2C landscape
Consumer goods deemed as essential services can still operate, and businesses who can operate digitally and in isolation continue to do so. The pandemic affects businesses specifically in the travel and tourism industry, the event industries, non-essential services, construction and many more which, for the most part, have come to a complete standstill.
Products are now benefiting from more brand awareness in a digital space, with online shops and deliveries still marketing and trying to make sales with promises of delivery after the lockdown. Most brands have resorted to a massive focus on social media and other digital efforts such as newsletters, coupons and sales to try recover sales after lockdown.
In a B2B landscape
The non-essential service industry, if it’s not digital or is unable to adapt, has for the most part been put on hold until after the lockdown period. Businesses offering products to other B2B markets, if not part of the essential services, can continue to operate digitally where possible, with promises of delivery after lockdown. Meetings with suppliers have shifted to online and many industries are coming to a standstill.
Marketing after COVID-19
It’s hard to predict exactly what marketing will look like post lockdown, however here are some of our biggest learnings about how the marketing landscape has shifted:
- Before the lockdown period, small to medium businesses could get away with not adapting to digital and relying on older forms of marketing. This landscape has since shifted, meaning that SMEs servicing both the B2B and B2C markets MUST adopt digital ways of working, and include digital marketing in their efforts.
- Online media consumption has dramatically increased- specifically on social media. If your business was at the forefront of producing more content and servicing online during the lockdown period, you’ll reap the rewards afterwards from, at the very least, brand awareness, top of mind awareness and very possibly brand love. This has also indicated the pertinence of social media marketing. Your customers, suppliers, business owners, competitors and more are all on social media, and each industry can benefit from the right type of social media channels with the right type of social media content to help drive awareness and sales.
- There is a strong sense across the nation of being in this lockdown together. From the restricted movements, to the ideas on how to keep busy when you aren’t working, to the struggling small business trying to survive COVID-19. People have embraced a sense of community, helping out and doing good even with the little they have. This highlights that if your business gives back in some way, people would more likely support your business over another that does not.
- Optimising for mobile first has been paramount in marketing materials and web development for years, but never has this been more important than it is now.
- Your website is and always has been your silent salesperson. Even if your business isn’t operational during lockdown, people are still researching, upskilling, checking out the competition and using their spare time online. So, if they can’t find your business online, chances are they have found your competitor’s.
- Every industry including products and services in both B2B and B2C sectors have a purchase cycle. The COVID-19 lockdown period has highlighted what we can and can’t live without, what substitutes can be made in the interim period and what can be cut out completely post lockdown. Some products and services have also been highlighted as the items the public have missed the most including fast food takeaways, travel and tourism, event planning and many other businesses who can expect an increase in interest and potentially sales post lockdown.
- Distributed workforces and work from home (WFH) may see an increase as many business owners are reconsidering their shiny offices for better allocation to other resources. This means many will be embracing online sales meetings with consumers and allowing digital marketing to do a majority of the marketing grunt work for them.
In order to get a more detailed look at this ‘new normal’ and how your business should conduct your marketing efforts going forward, we need to look at this case by case. To see exactly how the marketing landscape has shifted and changed for your unique business, you need to analyse your own data, found in your unique website visitors.
By utilising your website’s analytic data, you can perform an in-depth look by mapping out the following: your website visitor’s user journey before and during the COVID-19 outbreak, and overlap this data. This will give you insights into how your unique audience has adapted and changed their online behaviour, giving you a glimpse of how to adapt going forward post outbreak.
Zanthe Agrela is a former designer, and HTML web developer turned digital marketer. She is based in Johannesburg and has an acute eye for detail and a creative spark. After qualifying as a graphic designer, she worked as a designer and developer for a few years and then began studying marketing, and she found her niche in digital marketing. She works as the new business and marketing manager at Arc Interactive based in Johannesburg.
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