Marketing In the ‘New Normal’
May 10, 2021
Through the COVID pandemic, consumers grew accustomed to new standards of service from the companies they do business with. More innovative brands offered conveniences and processes that helped ease the burden of lockdowns and quarantines, changing customer expectations going forward. As we gradually approach a return to ‘normal’ life, how should brands (and the agencies that serve them) meet and exceed these new consumer expectations?
Build Better Digital Experiences
How will consumers behave after the pandemic? Most consumers will continue to use no-contact payment, shop online for groceries, and even use telehealth services at a higher rate. Insurance and banking customers in particular have dramatically increased their expectations around digital experiences. Brands will need to adapt to this behavior in order to stay relevant.
These new digital processes have been adopted widely across demographics. Both younger and older consumers have integrated new digital experiences into their daily life. This increased level of comfort with digital will likely expand into new areas, leading more consumers to expect seamless and integrated experiences that span between digital and offline.
Position for Value
What will consumers’ priorities be? According to surveys, half of Americans still report a lack of confidence in their personal financial situation. While the pandemic had differing impacts across different groups, most are exhibiting a trend toward prioritizing saving over spending. It is vital to understand what constitutes value for your audiences, and then position your products and services accordingly.
The true ‘end’ of the pandemic is still uncertain, as well the extent of its lingering effects. With this in mind, marketing strategies should be kept nimble. Even when it is ‘safe’ to do so, most Americans may plan to return to their regular lives gradually and carefully. Marketers and advertisers must know that returning to normalcy will not be like flipping a switch. Placement contracts should be negotiated with a maximum of flexibility to compensate for unforeseen setbacks as well as surges of consumer confidence.
While vaccinations are bringing a level of optimism, there is still great uncertainty around when we can expect a return to ‘normal’. Brands must continue innovating their digital experiences, keep their marketing plans and processes nimble, and keep a careful eye on consumer behavior in order to meet their needs. It will be critical to keep a pulse on emerging signs of recovery and post-pandemic expectations.