Until this point in history, the future was always a little easier to define. Even during periods of conflict, there is usually at least two fairly certain scenarios that can be predicted. Unfortunately, Covid 19 has changed all of that and we are currently in a state of almost constant uncertainty about everything from the economy to the way in which this situation will impact on culture and society itself. This presents a monumental challenge for digital marketing professionals as the shopping habits, browsing habits and overall behaviour of the global population has altered dramatically. In this article, Probella discuss how you can approach digital marketing when dealing with an uncertain future.
Focus on Stability and Constants
There might not be many of them left but focusing on the few things that remain stable and constant will help your customers to envisage a future they can relate to. Things like meal times with the family, sharing good and bad times with loved ones or simple, every day routines relating to fitness, hygiene and health can all provide you with a solid bedrock for a digital campaign that will still be relevant in the Covid era. Many of the most successful retail and food production companies have been using this kind of approach quite successfully for the past couple of months. Manufacturers of easy to prepare food such as oven ready or microwave meals have been appealing to the busy lifestyle of the key worker or the hard-working parent. For those caring for loved ones or parent’s carrying out home schooling with their children, routine and structure are an integral part of daily lives. Making this a focal point for an advertising campaign may seem a little cynical at first but in many ways, it is the most logical approach to dealing with a situation that nobody has ever experienced before. People identify with what they know and relate to depictions of things they can understand.
Reassurance and Positivity
It is obviously important to be realistic about the bleakness of the situation we are all living through but in times of uncertainty, reassurance and positivity are powerful tools in the world of marketing. When people feel scared, trapped or otherwise out of control, they respond well to campaigns that promote a sense of drive and resilience. Much like the “keep calm and carry on” campaign that was used during the wartime periods in the UK, marketing that seeks to inspire and encourage, rather than make the audience feel as if they’re inadequate for not owning your product fosters a sense of positivity and hope. As people have lost loved ones, jobs, homes and more, hope may feel as if it is in short supply at the moment, so trying to bolster this in any way you can always be good for business.
Talk About the Here and Now
With the exceptions of next year’s summer vacation or planning milestone life events such as birthdays and weddings, most people are very much focused on their day to day lives at present. This makes sense, considering the current climate and from a digital marketing perspective, capitalising on this would be a smart move. Streaming services, delivery and self-care products have all enjoyed a significant boom in sales since most countries went into lockdown. Now this is beginning to ease, we may see a slight drop off in some sectors, but the importance of things people use or experience on daily basis is still paramount. Make sure that the tone of any content write, or record reflects this and that you are addressing people in a way that relates to the way they are living their lives at the moment. There is no doubt both priorities and focus will shift again as the lockdown continues to ease and we learn more about how the virus has impacted on our society, but for now, many people are only thinking a few steps ahead.
Do not try to predict the future
Even professional economists and forecasters are struggling to understand how Covid 19 will impact on the future, so creating marketing campaigns that seem to paint too clear of a picture could make you seem a little unrealistic or out of touch. Work with the data you have and the facts you know to be true, rather than trying to hope for the best or rely on blind optimism. Though both of these things are fundamentally positive, we still do not know what the world will look like in 2021 and beyond. Trying to market to an audience as if they were living in a pre Covid world will not work but neither will be trying to create a potential reality that suits the goals of your company or brand. Embrace the uncertainty and be prepared to constantly adjust your tone and style to suit the changing the trends as the pandemic continues to progress around the world.
Look for emerging trends
Though there is always more to life than marketing, Covid 19 has already shown us some significant changes in the way people behave, shop, and interact. Be mindful of this and try to identify new trends at the start of their lifespan. Things like the need for PPE, increased security, and the ability to work from home are all suddenly huge factors in the majority of functioning industries. Those who predicted this and managed to use their marketing skills to appeal to customers before the pandemic peaked have managed to reap the benefits of identifying trends early. Ethically speaking, it is important not to deliberately exploit or generate profit from the misery of others but realistically, even in the wake of such an unmitigated occurrence, there will still be markets to work within and customers to serve. Ultimately, it is about paying close attention to reliable media sources and thinking from the perspective of somebody who is ahead of the curve. There are never any certainties in marketing but with enough preparation, you can increase your chances of surviving even the most uncertain of futures.