In addition to YouTube and Facebook, which a recent study from Pew Research Center shows are the most popular platforms with U.S. consumers overall, brands would be wise to turn their attention to video-sharing platform TikTok, which reportedly saw usage climb 75% in 2020, as well as another up-and-comer, audio-based app Clubhouse.
He added, “Consumers are more likely to develop brand loyalty for a company they feel emotionally connected to and nostalgia marketing harnesses the positive, optimistic associations between customer’s good old days and funnels them into a brand.”
“Many consumers now expect brands to show support in the fight against discrimination and other social issues [or they will] fall victim to the financial and moral consequences,” said Eden Cheng, co-founder of invoice platform WeInvoice.“
Social media is another trend that isn’t going to go away—although the specific channels marketers use may shift.
Increase your investment in live events
Per Andrei Vasilescu, CEO of coupon site DontPayFull, that means focusing on recall.
As a result, marketers should continue to optimize for “near me” searches and solicit customer reviews. But they should also consider local media like radio ads, which Sabrina Beaumont, CMO of house plan site Passion Plans, said she intends to do to “hopefully allow us to gain some local goodwill” in the markets in which she operates.
Try a hybrid approach
For his part, Dan Cassidy, CEO of Shopify agency Brand Hopper Digital, is advising ecommerce clients to prepare for a boost in demand for products in categories like apparel and beauty “that will help people feel good and look good as they reenter the public.”
Reclaim your brand presence
Naturally, there is no one-size-fits-all guidance here, but there are some overarching themes.
Even when the world opens back up again, consumers will continue to use their favorite platforms, which Porreca said justifies continued investment.
In addition, brand messaging should adjust to reflect positioning on social responsibility.
2. Adjust brand messaging to be more empathetic
Local marketing has arguably been more important in the last 12 months than ever before—and that, too, will continue.
And there you have it. Data-based, industry expert-given tips to meet your customers where they’re at as the world starts to reopen. Let’s quickly recap:
Celebrate the move forward but don’t forget the past
“YouTube provides an opportunity to explain your products or services in detail and provide the authenticity users are looking for,” added John McGhee, owner of digital agency Webconsuls.
For starters, brands should be sensitive to “those financially, emotionally and physically affected by the pandemic,” said Devin Johnson, CEO of marketing automation software company Kennected.
For Brand Hopper’s Cassidy, it’s striking a balance between “the realization the past year has been difficult for many and some experienced serious loss” and “excitement as we get back to a sense of normalcy.”
`“A little-known secret is you can get great results in some industries by advertising on TikTok,” said Dennis Consorte, small business consultant at review site Digital.com. “There isn’t much competition, so ad costs are relatively low.”
Use scarcity tactics sparingly
In a similar vein, industries that have struggled during the pandemic—events included, along with travel—should brace for comebacks.
3. Make your brand’s stances clear
In fact, she noted Boot Camp Digital plans to increase its investment in live events in order to have a bigger presence when they return.
Align with new consumer ethics
Broadway theaters in New York are scheduled to resume performances in September 2021—18 months after they shuttered in the early days of the pandemic.
Per Amy Dixon, digital marketing manager of digital agency Hydra Creative, this is because of “a huge positive change in attitudes towards local businesses” during the pandemic, which is expected to continue after lockdown. In the U.K. for example, 38% of consumers reportedly shopped more at small businesses in 2020—and 88% say they are more likely to shop locally moving forward.
Focus on diversity and inclusion.
“After being cooped up, people are ready to get out into the world and we predict that more people will be traveling, at live events and in public spaces than ever before,” said Krista Neher, CEO of digital marketing and social media training program Boot Camp Digital. “This is a great time to capitalize on this.”
“Other advertisers are likely to go offline at this time, allowing companies to capture more traffic and conversions,” he said.
4. Keep pushing live and standard video
Neal Taparia, co-founder of business incubator SOTA Partners, agreed, noting PPC advertising is “a great way of maintaining additional presence online, as well as reminding your customers that your business is going strong.”
“They have to re-establish their brand existence in the market,” he said. “Businesses must reclaim their brand presence in order to regain their consumers in 2021.”
Live video is a digital strategy that helped brands connect with consumers from afar during the pandemic—and marketers expect to continue using it after a fundamental shift in behavior during the pandemic.
“Going forward, we are investing 90% of our efforts into live video,” he added. “This interaction and ability to reach luxury home buyers in any part of the world instantly has proven to be the best channel for us.”
That’s true for Derek Devore, founder of luxury real estate touring platform Duvora, who said he saw a “massive” uptick in adoption in 2020 as customers used live video in their searches for homes.
5. Keep investing in social
This has led to us making major commitments in our content marketing strategies that help emphasize our support in the fight against racial discrimination, as well as active participation in lending a hand to the local community through various social causes.”
Continue on your existing channels
Citing figures from consulting firm Accenture, Arthur Iinuma, president of app development firm ISBX, noted COVID-19 has prompted a shift in consumer consciousness as 45% have adopted more sustainable habits and plan to continue to embrace these choices.
This, he said, presents an opportunity to reach customers online at even lower costs—even if brands themselves have faced budget cuts.
Consider TikTok or Clubhouse
Juan Pablo Sarmiento, CEO of content network ByPeople.com, agreed brand messages must be “softened, more human and less machine-like.”
“Brands must align with the new consumer sentiment and consider how they can promote a more ethical model of consumerism,” he added.
6. Take advantage of lower CPCs
Per figures from Dustin Porreca, SEO manager at B2B marketing agency Elevate Demand, clients have seen an average 68% increase in video content consumption on YouTube since March 2020.
For his part, Chad Burmeister, CEO of virtual assistant platform ScaleX.ai, likened Summer 2021 to “the Summer of Love 2.0,” which will “put business professionals back on airplanes … [and] marketers investing once again in trade shows.” However, his prediction is hybrid physical/virtual events will be the new normal.
Indeed, with about 110 million Americans fully vaccinated as of May 2021, other pandemic-era restrictions are starting to lift on public spaces like bars, restaurants, gyms, and stadiums across the country.
“In any marketing strategy, your goal is meeting your buyers where they’re going to be at any given time,” he said.
7. Continue optimizing for local
After a challenging year in many respects, brand messaging will likely shift in multiple ways to appeal to consumers as they cautiously reemerge from not only a pandemic, but a recession, and face an ongoing climate crisis and racial justice movement.
Assume continued #shoplocal support
Whether or not workers return to offices full-time remains to be seen. In the meantime, Solomon Thimothy, co-founder of marketing dashboard Clickx, agreed marketers should focus on “all things local” as “most people will continue to work from home even when they can already go back to the office.”
Run online and offline campaigns
On the other side of the coin, Catie Fromknecht, digital marketing consultant at consumer behavior research firm Clicksuasion Labs, noted consumers are more likely to be susceptible to scarcity marketing tactics following a year of substantial losses—but this tactic should be used sparingly.
In a similar vein, Iversen said he stopped sponsoring podcasts when commuters stopped going to offices. But that, too, could provide a new opportunity for brands as consumers return to work.
Speaking of lower costs, while digital platforms remained an important avenue to reach home-bound consumers during the pandemic, Timothy Robinson, CEO of review site InVPN, pointed to dropping CPC prices in the coming months.
Use these post-pandemic marketing ideas to come back stronger than ever
It’s one of the clearest signs yet that a “new normal” is on the horizon.
- Return to out-of-home advertising and live events
- Adjust for empathetic brand messaging
- Make your brand’s stance clear
- Keep pushing video
- Continue investing in social
- Take advantage of lower CPCs
- Stay focused on local marketing
- Category: eCommerce