COVID-19 has led to a drastic change in consumer behaviour, attitudes, and patterns and this has consequently impacted a brand’s marketing strategies and plans. Conventional sales, marketing, and branding approaches are no longer as trenchant as they once were. Building a market connect and making sense of the chaos has been a challenge for most brands. Contactless payments, e-commerce deliveries for everything from essentials, pharmaceuticals, to expensive electronics have fast become the norm. However, this is merely the tip of the iceberg.
Everything from packaging, marketing fundamentals, to business models have changed in a bid to adapt to a dynamic marketplace. Many of these changes are expected to remain even after the pandemic. Based on insights from Forbes, let’s take a closer look at some of these disruptive changes in consumer behaviour that may change marketing for the long run.
Changing brand loyalties
Consumers are more cautious than ever owing to the changing strains and looming uncertainty. 40.3 percent of respondents, according to Forbes, were even more reluctant to visit physical locations than they were in 2020. Brand loyalties have also been affected due to COVID-19: Near half of the consumers are trying new labels and a third have added newer private-label brands to their shopping lists. This puts a focus on advertisers as there are new opportunities and a need for greater insights into why consumers are changing brand loyalties.
According to an EY report on the effect of Covid on homemakers, slightly more than half (53 percent) of homemakers tried a new brand during the pandemic. 35 percent liked the new brand and decided to stick with it, while 38 percent went back to their old one.
What’s more worrying is that a study by Ketchum highlights that consumers who have changed brands during the pandemic are likely to ensure that this change is permanent. A confluence of various factors such as a shift to digital and omnichannel mediums, changing customer values, and the price to value proposition may have influenced this change.
Localized marketing will become more important as more people move out of cities and into the suburbs and rural areas. According to Accenture, two-thirds of customers prefer to shop in neighbourhood shops or purchase more locally sourced items. In order to deepen a bond with the viewer, localised content and personalization will be more critical than ever. Localization will also impel marketing automation, hyper-local supply chains, and information gathering as marketeers try to garner a better ROI in a highly competitive digital and hyper-localized landscape.
Emphasis on convenience
Offline companies have been pushed to provide more comfort than ever before thanks to Covid-19. For companies that may not have previously considered such facilities, curbside pickup and dropoff have now become the new standard. Convenience was cited by 25.5% of respondents as a deciding factor in where they chose to offer their company.
Those who design customer experiences will continue to distinguish themselves and achieve success outside of the wider social environment by integrating comfort, protection, a vibrant atmosphere, performance, and great customer service.
The road ahead
Marketers must rethink what they know about their changing clients, as well as how they meet and engage them, as a result of these disruptive changes. Survival would need an omnichannel marketing strategy. A focus on localized content and personalization will drive engagement in the new normal.
Undoubtedly innovation, experimentation and agility are no longer marketing buzz words but something that brands will have to live by as tenets for business continuity in a constantly changing and evolving marketing landscape.