Business Functions

Marketing: 3 trends that can shape your recovery strategy

By Lionel Alva

Digital trends have witnessed an acceleration, in terms of adoption, like never before. Everything from e-commerce platforms, video conferences, and digital marketplaces are a part of this new-age phenomenon. In many ways, we are living in a new reality.

To put things into perspective, companies have been trying to accelerate the adoption of video conferences for decades now. However, in a matter of weeks post the lockdowns, video conferencing tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams became a household name.  Online shopping too has existed for decades, but it was only in 2020 that it witnessed a 40 percent increase over 2019 and is expected to acquire greater traction this year.

It’s almost like we are living in a parallel reality. The pace at which digital trends are being adopted today is surreal. The key question is whether these trends are here to stay or are merely prevalent fads born out of extenuating circumstances? For many, it is quite apparent that these trends shall remain even after the pandemic passes over. Based on insights, let’s delve deeper into what it could mean for marketers going ahead by highlighting the key consumer trends that be capitalized upon.

Sparking innovation and entrepreneurship

Plato hit the nail on the head a thousand years for necessity is certainly the mother of invention.  And nothing sparks a wave of innovation like a crisis does: Digitization, which includes everything from online customer service to remote working to supply-chain reinvention to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to optimise operations, has witnessed enormous growth during the COVID-19 crisis.

In the Indian context, an article highlights that for India’s startup ecosystem, 2020 was a watershed moment. A huge number of companies struggled during the lockdowns, and 15 percent of India’s 40,000 startups were forced to close as a result of the epidemic. It has also been a year of perseverance and reinvention.  According to the Economic Survey 2020-21, the government has recognised 41,061 startups as of December 23, 2020. More than 39,000 firms have reported 4,70,000 employment, according to the study, which did not provide any information.

2021 is expected to be the year where digital transformation initiatives by businesses take off and the adoption of industry 4.0 technologies spark a new epoch for commerce and industry.

The emphasis on transformation is an opportunity for IT vendors and solutions providers to position their products for the growing entrepreneurship ecosystem. Marketeers can also focus on the entrepreneurial spirit of the target audience by offering novel and innovative solutions that are digitally enabled.  Today, even when it comes to packaging, smart connected solutions are much sought after. Organizations must also focus on innovation to make their products and services stand out in a highly competitive digital landscape.

Focus on health and sustainability

This comes as no surprise. The pandemic has been a wake-up call with regard to health and sustainability.  We have come to realize that we can no longer take anything for granted.  Health and wellbeing are top of mind for consumers, from hand washing to workout and meditation. The pandemic accelerated a long-running trend in telemedicine, as it did in other fields. Medical practitioners and consumers went from apprehension to complete an adoption in a matter of weeks. According to GlobalMed, 74% of millennials prefer telehealth appointments over in-person doctor visits. Whereas research by Bain highlights that virtual healthcare will see greater adoption by consumers over the next 5 years.

According to FMCG Gurus, 80 percent of global consumers intend to eat and drink more healthily in 2021, and 57 percent of European customers constantly seek out new ways to improve their health. Unsurprisingly, 43 percent of global customers are looking for ways to enhance their immunity. According to HSBC’s “Made For The Future” study, over half of UK businesses aim to raise their environmental investment by Summer 2021.

Preference for remote-working

When we were all confined to four walls and a laptop, our surroundings took on a whole new meaning. We discovered a newfound love for the comforts of home and hood. Many people who felt their surroundings were inadequate relocated, either to be closer to nature or family or simply to increase their living space.  According to a study conducted by Enterprise Technology Research, the number of people who work from home on a permanent basis is anticipated to double in 2021.   According to a recent Gartner CFO poll, more than two-thirds of CFOs (74%) aim to permanently transfer staff to remote work once the Covid-19 situation is resolved.

Consumers’ increasing attention on liking where they are and how they feel will be used by astute marketers.  Marketers will emphasize on the mind-spirit-body messaging of enhancing the value of the home where you actually live in.

The road ahead

Restructuring organizations and organizational approaches have become a mandate today.  Today’s businesses must investigate new distribution channels or consumer categories. Consumer brands that used to be omnichannel have gone entirely online. Many companies have also increased their product innovation. These trends and a need for businesses to stand out have made the shift towards digitization a very interesting phase. It has also impelled new ways for marketers to connect with their consumers digitally.

The preference for remote working and sustainability has also pushed the need for home-oriented eco-friendly products that consumers can relate to. It has sparked a wave of innovation and led to new ways to connect with the target audience in 2021.

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