After COVID-19 marketing may look different. Since the Pandemic began, my inbox has been full of webinar invites and notices about virtual events that are replacing the real-life ones. Without doubt, the pandemic has changed marketing. I sense that some of this change is here to stay.
B2B Marketing wrote a useful post about the future of trade shows, making the points that some groups of people will be unable or unwilling to travel for a while. They suggest that future events may need virtual and physical elements.
Meanwhile we are becoming experts on Zoom, joining events without wasting time travelling. With yoga classes and musical performances also taking place this way, I can see there is potential to use this medium much more creatively.
Positive and negative change
With digital communications replacing business travel, distance doesn’t matter any more. If your business tended to be local or regional because of the practicality of travelling, it may be able to reach further now. For example, a sales manager in the South of England can talk to accounts in the North more easily with online tools, and save many litres of fuel.
However telesales, the mainstay of leads generation for many IT businesses, will struggle when many are working from home. It will become harder to reach people who are mostly out of the office using a mobile phone.
Content marketing is exploding
Content marketing was already the biggest trend in marketing. However as more people do it, it’s becoming more competitive. This means success will depend on keeping up with search engine optimisation and choosing appealing topics.
As an independent PR and writer, I sometimes take a cynical or critical view of the rest of the marketing industry. I actually don’t agree that content marketing should work to rigid content plans. The COVID19 outbreak has shown how fast everything can change, and how a pre-set content plan can rapidly become irrelevant and even wrong. I think a content strategy is better. Certain topics are included in a plan, but the calendar should be left open to address the most topical question for each day or week.
How to prepare for recovery?
It would be helpful to know what the recovery will look like and when each business sector will be able to function normally again. In the absence of that information, it may be better to prepare for more than one scenario, and allow for a certain amount of social distancing to remain in the medium term.
Without trade shows and conferences, other forms of leads generation will be needed. This means that the budgets – whatever will be available – will go somewhere else.
People will continue to work and read online, so digital marketing is likely to appear even more attractive post pandemic.
On the PR and advertising side, publishers are trying hard to keep going as before – so these routes to market should not change much and will hopefully emerge as valuable channels to market, particularly where there is a leads generation mechanism along with branding.
Launching in lockdown?
Whether you launch or not will depend on what you sell. If your customers are firefighting or furloughed, this may not be the time for a launch. Budgets are constrained where incomes have dried up. Some companies are investing, for example where they need to adjust to remote working and equip their teams to do this properly for the long term. But the challenge is that no one can plan very far forward.
Business has been different during lockdown. The pandemic period has seen people and communities coming together in mutual support and we have noticed examples of great generosity as businesses help others through the darkest period. Companies that have been able to do this will emerge with new respect on the other side.
For many the difficult locked-down period has been mostly a time to time to keep in touch with customers and build relationships, and complete some housekeeping tasks ready for the recovery. It’s a great time to update websites.
Covid19 marketing – enterprise in adversity
It is good to see a business finding opportunity amid disaster. Chris Brazil at Ideal Exhibitions has done just that. Congratulations to Chris for seeing the opportunity. After stories of people’s washing appearing in the background of Zoom calls, his branded backdrops will ensure our domestic environment never distracts in a conference call again!
The future of face-to-face events
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