How marketing has evolved in the “abnormal” new normal

October 31, 2020 11:40 AM

Marketers need to reorient themselves with humility and agility to stay relevant and connected with the consumers in the current environment

Covid-19 has changed our lives at an unprecedented, almost at an uncomprehensive scale.Covid-19 has changed our lives at an unprecedented, almost at an uncomprehensive scale.

By Bhawna Sharma Ningthoujam

Early March this year, my daughter made me buy her a school bag, a lunch box, a pencil bag, and a water bottle, all in unicorn theme. She even badgered her way into making me get her a couple of rainbow-colored unicorn keyrings that she attached to her school bag and pencil bag. She could not wait for the holidays to get over and to show her things off to her friends and classmates. Eight months and a dirty unicorn pencil bag later, she does not even talk about going back to school anymore. She has begrudgingly settled into her online-class and video-calls-with-friends routine.

Covid-19 has changed our lives at an unprecedented, almost at an uncomprehensive scale. Virtually every other aspect of life, the pandemic has spurred rapid changes in marketing communications and its practice. Moreover, it seems that this change is perhaps permanent and here to stay. The continued norms of work-from-home and school-from-home are reshaping consumers’ behavioral trends. Quite naturally, people are seeking more options for entertainment and escaping reality. It comes as no surprise that various reports point out that India ranks very high in terms of online game downloads on app stores. People are spending more time on social media, and streaming content online is on the rise too. As per a report, the first week of lockdown saw Indians spend 87% more time on social media over the previous week.

Trendspotting and authenticity

The pandemic has turned marketers’ world upside down. Messages and campaigns developed painstakingly in the pre-covid-19 era were suddenly rendered meaningless. The knowledge collected on consumers’ buying behavior through various market studies and years of experience has become unreliable. The current environment demands agility and the ability to track the trend in real-time. There is a need to stay connected with the consumer, understand their needs, and build a campaign around how the product or services you are offering can help your customer in the current situation. The communication has to be purpose-led, or you risk being irrelevant. For example, many people are working from home. The first step is to understand the challenges they are facing- it could be related to the infrastructure, excessive responsibility, lack of human interaction, need for mental and physical wellness, and the list goes on. Once you are aware of your customer’s challenges, you will be better positioned to develop a more successful campaign. Another critical aspect is authenticity. Remember to be true to the cause; else, your campaign and communication will fail sooner or later and will earn a bad repute. And as people are spending a lot of time on social media, they will not shy away from spreading bad words about the campaign and the company.

What matters in influencer marketing?

With people’s content consumption habits going through a swift change, many brands have started investing heavily in social media influencers. Many of these have also realised that micro-influencers are worth more than they were ever given credit. They tend to have more influence as they cater to a niche audience. An influencer marketing agency informed me that one of the streamers who has about half as many followers as some of the well-known ones had sold four times more products for a gaming company than any of the top influencers. So, it’s time to stop focusing on numbers such as views and followers and pay more attention to overall engagement.
Additionally, the discussion should be relevant. Do a deep dive into influencers’ social media channels. You will realize a lot of time that the followers’ discussion is utterly irrelevant to the post or the uploaded video. Therefore, it is immensely important for a campaign and communication success that the decision to work with a set of influencers is logically data-driven.

Covid-19 has unquestionably accelerated digitisation and reshaped our world; marketing communications professionals need to reorient themselves with humility and agility to stay relevant in the current environment and connected with the consumers.

The author is India PR Lead of Western Digital.

Read Also: Future Group’s Pawan Sarda on how to build brands; starts Sorted

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