With 2022 coming to an end, it’s time to look back and reflect on the past year and plan for the next. One of the most significant events that marked the end of last year was the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down almost all forms of business and forced many to rethink their strategies. However, as the world begins to rebuild, we must remember the lessons we’ve learned during these difficult times.
Here, we’ll explore how the pandemic has influenced digital marketing services in 2023 and what you need to consider before making any plans for the future.
The Pandemic Was Unprecedented
It’s been two years since the COVID-19 pandemic started, and just like many economic sectors, the digital marketing industry was no exception. Reports from 2020 showed that many marketing agencies and in-house marketing teams were impacted, and many digital marketing leaders had to adapt quickly to the new challenges presented by the pandemic.
The first thing to note is that the pandemic was unprecedented. While there were signs of an imminent threat from coronavirus in early 2020, the scale and impact of the pandemic were not expected. When the numbers began to creep up, people thought the worst was over, and the world would return to normal. However, as we know, this was far from the case, and the world would never be the same again. This was especially so for the marketing industry, where companies had to rethink their entire approach to marketing and communications as the world shifted to a digital sphere.
Rebranding And Repositioning
One of the significant changes that the COVID-19 pandemic heralded was the need for marketers to reposition their brands. In this new world, consumers have a near-infinite choice of goods and services, so marketers have to shift their focus from product-centric thinking to people-centric. This is easier said than done, of course, and many industry experts predicted that this would be one of the biggest challenges marketers would have to overcome in the post-pandemic world.
The COVID-19 pandemic was a rude awakening for many marketers, especially those who had developed sophisticated automated marketing software and relied on huge data sets to make marketing decisions. Suddenly, these tools became obsolete, and the marketers who relied on them were out of business. This is one reason why many agencies had to reposition their services during the pandemic, changing their approach from traditional marketing to more of a digital approach. In cases like these, agencies shifted their emphasis to online marketing and social media, where they could still offer a personal touch through highly-targeted activity and engagement.
The Role Of Social Media
This year ushered in the rise of social media. This wasn’t something marketers had anticipated, but the impact of the pandemic proved how important social media is in today’s world. Not only did the platforms provide a space for people to connect and share their experiences (both good and bad), but they also kept the news in the public eye and allowed people to continue to be abreast of the latest developments.
This was vital during the pandemic, as people may have stopped visiting brick-and-mortar retailers but still needed an online outlet to find the items they needed. The role of social media in the post-pandemic world will be even more significant, as people expect to make their own purchasing decisions and are less likely to be influenced by a brand.
Content Is King
While the need for brands to rebrand and reposition themselves was one of the big issues that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted, the even bigger change that it heralded was the rise of content. The world had already begun shifting to a content-based economy even before the pandemic, where individuals would rather consume content (in any form) than buy physical goods.
As a result, content became more important than ever, and businesses in the digital marketing industry had to develop new ways of creating value for their customers. The role of content in attracting, engaging, and converting a new audience would become even more critical, as people would rather consume content than engage with traditional forms of marketing.
A Shift Toward More Personal
One of the things that differentiated the marketing industry in the post-pandemic world will be the increased use of personal services. It won’t be just about the product, it will be about the relationship between the customer and the firm. This is why agencies must ensure that they provide a personal touch through attention to detail and a desire to understand the customers’ needs. Personal services will be vital in differentiating a brand and creating an emotional connection.
The world expects faster, better, and cheaper, and the cost-friendly nature of the COVID-19 pandemic will result in new ways of delivering value. There was already a trend toward lower pricing during the pandemic, with many agencies adjusting their prices in line with the cost-cutting measures taken by their firms. This trend will continue, and customers will have to be prepared to pay less for what they need.
Brand Loyalty And Awareness
One of the significant changes that the COVID-19 pandemic heralded was the decline in brand loyalty and the increase in consumer awareness.
These two trends are well underway and will continue to have significant ramifications for marketers in the future. While people may not generally feel the need to switch brands as often as they did in the past, they remain much more aware of the products they use and the issues surrounding them.
This trend will put extra pressure on marketers to ensure they provide value to their customers. Additionally, as brands compete for a share of mind, marketers need to be aware that customers may be more likely to discover alternative options and consider them alongside their regular brand. Marketing in this environment aims to create awareness and generate interest, hopefully resulting in a sale or lead.
It’s been a year since the COVID-19 pandemic started, and while some aspects of the business may return to normal, the digital marketing industry will never be the same again. As we move forward, we should all remember the pandemic’s impact on the world economy and the importance of staying alert and prepared for any future pandemic.
Additionally, while we’re a long way off from returning to the pre-pandemic state of affairs, it’s important to continue establishing new benchmarks as the world evolves. In 2023, digital marketing services were no exception, and many agencies will have to continue adapting to the new environment and evolving with it.