How the Pandemic Has Changed Marketing Forever

Written by: 
Molly Niemczyk
06/14/21

2020 was a difficult year to say the least. The devastation of COVID-19 has drastically affected people’s day-to-day lives, and that impact of those effects is still being felt even as the pandemic nears its conclusion. We may very well be entering a “new normal,” and the digital marketing landscape is no exception. As we move forward, it’s important for marketing professionals to keep in mind the ways in which consumer behavior, advertising, and more have changed as a result of this and last year’s events, and what we can anticipate for the future.

Internet Sales

Given the stay-at-home orders and general safety concerns regarding in-person gatherings during the pandemic, it probably comes as no surprise that there was a huge surge in online sales, since people were choosing to shop from the comfort and safety of home. According to one study, internet sales saw a 7% increase during the summer months of 2020. Another global survey indicates that this rise in online shopping will outlast the pandemic, as most respondents say that they will continue to shop online.

What does this mean for marketers? With more eyes than ever online, a strong internet presence is vital. Businesses should consider introducing or improving digital advertising efforts, even if they don’t currently have an online store.

Social Media

App downloads reached an all-time high last year, and social media apps like Facebook and Twitter became essential to many during the pandemic given the impossibility of in-person meetings. Even before COVID-19, advertisers could reach potential consumers on these platforms, but the importance of these channels to brands has become greater than ever. Not only have more people downloaded social media apps since the pandemic began, but there has also been a shift in the user demographics, which marketing professionals should keep in mind when advertising on these platforms.

Take TikTok as an example. It was a largely Gen-Z-focused app, pre-pandemic. During COVID-19, it saw a growth of 180% among users aged 15-25. But, it’s also seen a general surge in use by adults in general. Usage of the app by people over 18 doubled from March 2019 to March 2021. This is a seismic shift, both in sheer number of users and in demographics. As a result, advertising tactics you may have once considered for this channel may need tweaking to appeal to the app’s userbase today. This mindset should be applied to advertising on any major social media app. Pay attention to how the pandemic has affected usage of the apps, as that could have a direct impact on the effectiveness of your messaging.

A Decline in Brand Loyalty

With about half of consumers trying new brands, it’s increasingly clear that brand loyalty is far less prevalent than it once was. Marketers cannot necessarily rely on shoppers to purchase from them simply because they have before. The shift to online shopping has been reflected in increased interest from consumers, but also in the increase in competition as businesses scramble to enter the landscape or otherwise expand their online presence.

With so much competition online, businesses must work harder than ever to maintain the interest of consumers, even those who have been loyal customers in the past. Keep the interest of consumers by focusing on your messaging, which needs to be relevant, engaging, and “real”.

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