During the first lockdown, we looked forward to a quick return to normal. Now, the world has changed, and it seems we’re not going back to normal any time soon. Research shows that 75% of the population is still reluctant to engage in activities where contact with others is difficult to avoid – such as going in to the office, taking public transport, flights, carpooling, etc. Economists have introduced the term “crib economy,” meaning a lifestyle where we now all stay close to home.
At the same time, there’s also growing social support for changes in the areas of ecology and sustainability. At first sight, COVID-19 and ecology are separate issues. However, the pandemic has made us aware of our vulnerability to natural events and occurrences, such as pandemics and climate change.
For marketers, too, there are important shifts to consider.
Rise of the local economy
Now that people are travelling to the office less often (if at all), they are making their purchases a lot closer to home. Successive lockdowns and an increased focus on the carbon footprint (and rising fuel prices) mean that people are less inclined to travel far from their homes, so are changing their purchasing patterns.
Further digitalization of marketing and sales channels
Digitalization is on the rise. Cinema attendance is falling, but streaming video platforms are recording spectacular growth figures. In 2020, for the first time, there were more subscriptions to streaming video platforms than to traditional cable television. Online education and online shopping are also gaining in popularity.
Companies such as Amazon have noticed that even everyday consumer products are increasingly being purchased online. And consumers indicate that they will continue to use online shopping and home delivery to the same extent, even after the pandemic.
Big players like Facebook see their users living a digital double life in the future, in an environment they describe as a 'metaverse'. A metaverse is a virtual meeting place where social contact is conducted through virtual or augmented reality. This is seen by many as the next iteration of the Internet. This revolution could be as profound as the 'semantic web' and 'web 2.0' evolutions of the past.
Marketing in a new era
For marketers, it is important to get to know the customer again. As always, change offers both opportunities and threats.
Local content and personalization
In the new digital world, there is no "one size fits all". Everyone lives and consumes more and more from their personal bubble. This also means that the need for personalization of content is increasing. Marketing automation and data mining will make this easier to accomplish in the future.
The world is diverse. There will always be people who cannot (or will not) use digital solutions. On the other hand, the percentage of customers that can only be reached digitally will continue to grow. Flexible solutions that integrate local and online interactions will become the norm.
Many companies today have a mix of both analog and digital customers. The customer expects an experience that is seamlessly integrated across this growing number of platforms, whether they are shopping in person, or online. Again, technology and marketing will increasingly go hand in hand.
Investing in customer loyalty
The arrival of new channels generally makes customers less loyal. Half of all consumers say they have tried new brands since the pandemic. For marketers, it is important to keep track of customer turnover and further invest in customer loyalty.
If you'd like to know more about how to strengthen your brand in an increasingly fast-moving world, contact Anne-Mie by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +32 (0)55 59 10 01.