COVID-19 era: the response of digital marketing

Sep 8, 2021

In recent times it has been established that content is king now more than ever. Orbit Media Studios and Agency Management Institute conducted a collaboration study highlighting significant COVID-19 impacts on marketing. Orbit Media Studios surveyed 122 communication agencies after the first three months of the pandemic (March to June 2020).

The study shows that 36% reported slightly negative COVID-19 impacts on marketing, while a minority of 25% deemed the effects of the pandemic to be “very negative”.

Furthermore, here are the numbers shared by the Content Market Institute’s annual research on B2B content marketing, as also shared by MailUp Blog in one of their articles.

  • 68% of top performers use content marketing for database building and 83% for lead nurturing activities, and
  • 84% of the most successful content marketing strategies focus on content to increase user loyalty to the brand and strengthen the relationship and engagement with the public.

The Response

While it’s uncertain when things will settle down and go back to normal, brands will strive more to compensate for their damages and losses. Amid this crisis, there were several opportunities that many brands utilised with digital marketing. Businesses have increased their social media presence, creativity, and innovations, allowing their business to hit the ground running during and after the COVID-19 era.

Increased Awareness

Many value-driven brands and businesses have revolutionised their strategies, products, services, and digital marketing. However, due to the uncertainty this global crisis brought to everyone, empathy, authenticity, and awareness has been crucial.

Businesses conducted audits and surveys to increase their engagement and connection with their customers. Several content reviews were conducted to guarantee their brand relevance, helpfulness, and value. One great example is how SurveyMonkey focused on listening to people and aligning their relevance and business goals with their data.

Digital Marketing

Many marketing and advertising companies have accepted the challenge of amplifying creative and innovative marketing strategies and practices that will navigate the business through this new normal.

According to Holland & Knight, businesses have refocused their spending to purpose-driven marketing, mission-based marketing and cause-related marketing to satiate consumers’ increased media consumption better while working from home. For example, 45 per cent of global consumers are devoting more time to social media. Online video streaming has increased by 26 per cent; online gaming traffic has increased exponentially on one telecommunication company’s servers. In addition, the number of consumers using online food delivery and essential goods delivery has risen dramatically.

Research and an article published by spilralytics.comidentified that recent rises match online traffic and increase internet users in online activity. For example, Reddit, an online forum, said they are reaching double-digit % increases in traffic across the board, with a 20-50% increase in subreddits dedicated to business, finance, news, education, travel, and sports.

With increased online attention, consumers are looking for content relevant to current events, comforting and entertaining content. Look at some big players in reels currently: TikTok and Instagram. These companies are disrupting online consumption, and they realised the value of brand partnerships to promote their businesses with digital activities.

As a result, many brands are constantly optimising their marketing practices to effectively respond to the increase in online transactions, communications and customer engagement.

Growth Opportunities

The response of digital marketing has been tremendously leaning towards growth opportunities in every business. Now, more than ever, the efforts in design, campaigns, marketing, agility, and value-driven products and services are unstoppable. As a result, growth opportunities are not only made available for big brands but also to start-ups. Today, brands and businesses can take advantage of this to achieve faster growth and market share results..

Let’s look at how COVID-19 has reinforced the importance of content. The relevance and advantage of leveraging content marketing and its power in this critical situation become evident by looking at the emerging trends of the first phase. Here, the campaigns that went full content hit the spot.

According to an article published by MailUp Blog, even before the pandemic hit, the crisis of traditional media was already present. Companies were slowly moving away from investing in conventional advertising and were gradually abandoning the straight push-oriented advertising approach. COVID-19 and the subsequently forced digitalisation disrupted this process. Companies started to adapt in indirect techniques. Here, the brand doesn’t chase the customer: it’s the customer who seeks its products and services. The drive doesn’t come from advertising aimed at selling and convincing. Instead, the realised value is the quality and informative nature of the company’s content. Due to social distancing, lockdowns, and isolation, digital marketing is the only way to stay in touch and get the right audience’s attention.

In addition to the statistics shared in the same article, spending more time at home, internet usage grew by 50 to 70% and by 12% for streaming services. Thus, the circumstances imposed by the pandemic and more screen time facilitate the success of digital Content Marketing.

Sustainability

The current and fast-moving trends in digital marketing for brands and business is here to stay. Gone are the days of our wishful thinking that we will be back to “normal”. As social media giants emerge as sales channels, social media and online activities has become embedded in consumer’s lives.

It is more sustainable for brands and businesses as most, if not all of us, are always glued to our devices, always hungry for what’s new, and thirsty for new information. So, consumption is no longer just about the products and services but also content and information.

Real-time feedback through online surveys and 24/7 customer support is another factor in keeping any brand and business’ sustainable. Without a doubt, a brand and a business success are made easy to measure and accessible. To assess the qualitative effectiveness of a brand or a business content effectiveness, one can choose from any of the following methods:

  • Surveys, requests for feedback, and interviews with your consumers
  • Social and web listening tools; and
  • Methods for analysing your status.

In general, focusing on the sentiment and engagement of the audience and consumers play a huge role in sustaining a brand or a business.

We have established that digital marketing is not only applicable to big companies but also to start-ups. Even if a brand or a business is not selling their products online, they are taking advantage of digital marketing as a plausible scalable growth engine for their company. This engine of growth is made of many cylinders, each representing a digital channel. Ideally, a brand or a business want every channel to be fine-tuned with the others to deliver the most robust and efficient result for their business.

The purpose of digital marketing strategy is to channel traffic to their website or social media pages, engage their target audience and convert them to leads and sales.

There is no doubt that COVID-19’s impact on marketing is tremendous, and digital marketing is undoubtedly favoured for most of the part. However, in the future, when we’re back to “normality”,— businesses, marketers, and advertisers have to sustain and constantly improve on the current digital opportunities to keep the customer base acquired during the global pandemic era; focusing on maintaining a stream of income, and customer engagements.

Conclusion

Despite its negative impact, the COVID-19 crisis doesn’t seem to undermine the relevance and power of content marketing as a communication tool for brands and businesses. Instead, content is king now more than ever. The response has been remarkable in increasing awareness in and out of the company and consumer relationships. As a result, content marketing is a valuable key to moving forward, strengthening and innovating, creating engagement, leading to growth opportunities, and creating effective and sustainable strategies and solutions.