Marketing Opinion South Africa

Key post-Covid-19 marketing hacks

Businesses have been forced to pivot as they stare down the barrel of certain economic recession, marketers and brands are super-sizing their agility capacity to adapt to a world where numerous companies are folding and quick-thinking start-ups are swooping in to fill the cracks. 'A New Normal' - an example of post-pandemic parlance now commonplace in our lexicon.

2020’s marketing trends are looking blindingly different from the predicted patterns anticipated before we all packed up our computers in March to work from home and as lockdowns around the world begin to lift, the sheer scale of economic and financial challenges are becoming clear.

All this being said, there’s a glut of doom and gloom in our news feeds, so let’s lighten the load and hone in on key learnings your marketing strategies can integrate during and post the Corona pandemic – the most important of which is to meet your customers where they are.

Cleanliness is godliness

Whether you are geared for service or retail, the message remains the same, how safe do your customers feel engaging with you? People remain anxious and uneasy and are looking to brands that make them feel secure in their decisions. Blind brand loyalty is on shaky ground with more consumers doing their research into supply chain hygiene and in-store and delivery safety measures.

Image source:  on .
Image source: Burst on Pexels.

Social distancing is predicted to last up to 2022, ergo it’s critical to communicate your cleanliness credentials in your brand messaging. This is a pandemic opportunity to reconnect with your consumer through defining your hygiene efforts at point of sale, across digital communication and on social platforms. In the words of Accenture CEO Julie Sweet, “every business is now a health business.”

It’s the season for giving

Consumers are tightening their belts as global unemployment figures soar. According to the UN Labour Agency, the global economic impact of Covid-19 is far-reaching, with a predicted number of 25 million jobs being lost worldwide. Resultantly, brands must respond to changing consumer expectations where price point, quality and value-add share the spotlight in equal measure. Savvy companies around the world have responded to this through meaningful and free content marketing, British Vogue, for example, introduced #workoutwednesdays on IGTV, these were free weekly workouts with well-known sports names from Olympic athlete, Jessica Ennis-Hill to Nike’s master trainer, Luke Worthington. Now is the perfect time to reimagine your offering and where you can integrate free benefits into your communication.

Giving comes in many forms with companies now looking beyond their business and investing in communities. Whether it’s supporting essential workers, feeding schemes for the homeless or small companies struggling to stay afloat, it’s the season of giving back by aligning with a charity or donating to a worthy cause. You may not be as large as BMW, who donated 40,000 high-grade facemasks to the Gauteng Department of Health or an Old Mutual who pledged R50m towards Covid-19 response but you can participate through smaller initiatives by donating a percentage of profits to a local charity. We are entering the age of paying it forward.

Mobile optimisation

Since we were hit with the new normal of lockdown and curfews, more consumers have turned to home delivery, online shopping, and social media. Companies like Amazon have had to hire up to 100,000 more employees to keep up with consumer demand during the pandemic; it’s no surprise that Covid-19 has had an exponential impact on e-commerce.

What’s critical to note is that Google now considers site speed when it comes to page ranking for mobile websites and it’s the uber-fast loading sites that will effectively garner more visibility, traffic, conversions, and revenue. A site that takes just one second longer to load can reduce conversions by 7%, conversely, sub-second load times are said to boost conversion by 15% to 30%.

It’s a prudent time to audit your mobile sites and invest in improved mobile user-friendly formats, easy login solutions and speedy purchasing options. Not only will your customers have a better mobile experience, but they’ll also have a significantly more enjoyable time shopping which will only benefit your bottom line.

Compassionate leadership

Efficient and friendly service is the cornerstone of a great customer experience, but how do you ensure you’re providing this? The answer, of course, lies in your employees. If your employees aren’t happy, it’s unlikely your customers will be happy. Your staff is the heartbeat of your business.

How you care and invest in your staff whilst navigating mercurial Covid-19 territory will directly affect their mental well-being and productivity; if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that flexibility is key and for those who are not consumer-facing, the remote working hiatus may be here to stay.

It’s up to employers to address unchartered challenges that staff now face in the wake of the pandemic, such as balancing home and work life and increased focus on mental and physical well-being; companies need to lean into their gentle underbelly of humanity to make this transition effective. The way you manage your company’s response could have a far-reaching reputational impact internally and externally. By demonstrating empathy, flexibility, and prioritising your staff’s physical and mental health, you are setting your company up for success in a landscape where every win counts.

We are indeed all feeling our way through an unimagined crisis but it’s important to remember in the face of adversity that this is fertile ground to rethink your company’s purpose, your employee’s charter and your brand’s communication.

About Sam Swaine

Sam Swaine is a freelance consultant with over 20-year's experience in marketing and PR. She also specialises in social media and digital marketing trends. Sam is a journalist for business, marketing and consumer publications.
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