It’s easy to be skeptical of significant technological advancements – After all, before the COVID-19 pandemic of 2021, we had no way to anticipate its dramatic influence on the marketplace. But in the three years that have passed since the vaccine was distributed to every country globally, marketers are using social media and other sites to understand their customers’ changing needs better and wants.
No, in a nutshell!
We’ve seen several shifts in digital marketing over the past year, but the question remains: how should brands be approaching customer journeys and brand building in 2021? After gathering insights from experts and analyzing the latest trends, we’ve compiled a list of digital marketing truths for next year.
Marketing during COVID is all about knowing your customer segment truth #1.
Before the pandemic, marketing efforts were universally focused on getting to know your customer.
This is insufficient in a post-pandemic world.
Brands must communicate highly targeted content to customers with laser precision. Analyzing customer preferences is essential; once a brand has that information, it’s time to understand the importance of each demographic to deliver on them. Once you’ve nailed down those essentials, you can figure out which values trigger the best consumer experiences — and these are often the unique, hard-to-achieve factors that set your brand apart in today’s market.
Personalization is vital for direct-to-consumer brands to succeed. Brands need to create customer experiences that are unique, memorable, and tailored to the individual. By creating personalized content on a per-customer level, brands can ensure that each customer’s experience reflects their individual needs — resulting in increased engagement and higher retention rates. Good copy is an essential component of an effective Brand strategy.
Your marketing strategy is as good as your most recent best customer experience truth #2.
Remember when your primary concern was what your competitors were doing? The days when you could only compete with your competitors are gone. Marketing during COVID and beyond now involves competing with your customer’s most recent best experience.
When COVID arrived, it accelerated the digital transformation, raising consumer expectations to newfstra heights. Since before the pandemic, customer expectations have been steadily rising, and Gen Z consumers are especially wary of purchasing experiences that aren’t seamlessly integrated into their daily lives.
Customers expect more than a seamless digital transaction in 2021: “They want anticipatory, personalized, and relevant experiences throughout their entire customer journey.”
Customers expect you to have exactly what they’re looking for, according to new truth #3.
What used to be the norm in shopping — customers coming to you to find what they’re looking for — is now obsolete. Today, people expect you to fish for them. And if you don’t, your e-commerce site’s traffic is sure to decrease. This is where your online strategy comes into play. By designing a user-friendly website that allows users to search and browse your product inventory quickly, you’ll be able to retain and grow your customer list.
When developing a marketing strategy during and after COVID, greater emphasis should be placed on leveraging customer data and technology.
Customer data has always been powerful, but now it’s crucial. In the days before the pandemic, companies could use customer data to improve their marketing and business strategies. Now, it’s mandatory. Customers have great expectations now more than ever before. Without a unique understanding of what they want or need, businesses will have difficulty delivering incredible experiences for each individual.
By 2021, good data will enable brands to create engaging shopping experiences across one or more of the “Four Cs”:
- Content: From for Emails, mobile app experiences, and everything in between
- Commerce: Whether it’s a physical store, e-commerce, or a hybrid model.
- Community: Consider online trade shows, webinars, and social media communities.
- Convenience: Coupons, deals, and loyalty, and referral programs are all examples of this.
Before the pandemic, most brands used a “one-size-fits-all” approach to delivering the 4Cs.
However, in the aftermath of the pandemic, brands will need to meet the demand for greater personalization by leveraging data to drive more relevant customer interactions.
Agility is essential to your digital strategy, according to new truth #4.
We discussed agility as a purely technological process; however, COVID-19 created an environment that required marketing teams to adopt a similarly agile mindset. A quick adaptation to the widespread changes caused by the pandemic and other events could emerge unscathed from the crisis. Unfortunately for many, marketing adaptation during COVID did not occur quickly enough.
One positive result from the pandemic is the marketing agility mindset, which is here to stay. We can expect marketing teams all over the world to embrace more agile decision-making in 2021. Operationally, this means that decision cycles will be shorter, resulting in greater flexibility in media and public relations, creativity, and budgeting.
Marketing is at the heart of every brand’s growth strategy, according to new truth #5.
True, we were all aware that marketing was critical to growth. However, during difficult times when businesses needed to be leaner, the marketing department was frequently on the chopping block. However, in the last year, marketing has been shown to return on investment and grow significantly. Without marketing, we cannot understand the marketplace’s zeitgeist, and, as a result, we cannot champion the consumer’s voice. If there is one essential key takeaway from the pandemic, it should be that digital strategies will lead to future growth and that prioritizing the customer’s perspective is the best and most effective way to do so.
How to Approach Digital Marketing During and After COVID
Every brand’s digital strategy will be unique, but every successful one will create meaningful human connections through storytelling. Of course, it’s not that simple; marketing straddles the line between art (brand marketing) and science (performance marketing). Having said that, one universal truth emerged from COVID-19: bespoke, data-driven experiences that speak to customers’ values will win in the end. If you can accomplish this by 2021, you’ll be well on your way to redefining a digital strategy that will catapult your company to the next level in a post-pandemic world.