Shops have closed, business models shifted, and we've had to quickly adapt to face the challenges presented.
But after three waves of lockdown, things are looking up. UK high streets and schools have reopened and we are now faced with a new, if uncertain, future.
To help you get ahead of competitors before the end of lockdown, here’s some emerging marketing strategies that could help you stand out from the crowd.
1. Building a strong reputation
Thanks to recent events, brands are really realising the importance of reputation. Building an honest and trustworthy reputation can really make the difference between success and failure when a crisis looms.
It’s worth putting that extra effort into the customer experience, whether it’s politely responding to complaints or answering queries. Especially now while your customers are on the internet more, there are online conversations taking place that could make or break your business.
Building a strong local reputation is the best way to not only win the respect of your customers, but hopefully a bit of business too.
2. Email marketing personalisation
Customers are becoming savvy to how marketing works and personalisation is a great way of distinguishing your efforts in their inbox.
There’s a lot of competition out there and it’s no longer enough to simply promote your product or service. Customers are typically put off by content that is irrelevant to them so you have to go the extra mile to connect with them.
When sending out your marketing emails, taking into consideration your customers’ likes, preferences and interests is a great way to show you care about their experience. And with 80% of consumers more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalised experiences, this could have an affect on your sales too.
3. Emotional marketing
Especially during these challenging times, those who can create campaigns that successfully appeal to people’s emotions will differentiate themselves from the pack.
A recent study by the B2B Institute at LinkedIn showed that strategies that appeal to emotions are 7 x more effective at driving long-term sales, profits and revenue than those just delivering rational messaging. This means using your ad campaigns to tap into your audience’s emotions and connecting with them on a personal level.
Now that the economy is reopening and families are reuniting, why not craft a social media campaign or blog post around familiar themes such as community and togetherness?
4. Video marketing
The pandemic also saw people leaning on easy-to-consume content, this means formats like videos and podcasts that can be consumed on-the-go.
Video in particular has never been more popular, with 81% of businesses already using the format for testimonials, walkthroughs, demonstrations of products and personal messages.
Now the high street has reopened and consumers are flocking to the shops, a branded video is a great way to drive people to your door.
5. Agile approach
In the last year there have been rapid changes and businesses have been forced to pivot to agile strategies in a bid to survive.
This has meant a greater focus on home-working and digital channel strategies and a step away from brick and mortar stores. Businesses need to meet customer needs as they unfold or risk losing relevance in an already tight marketplace.
Adapting your offering to this post-pandemic world is not only a great way to boost your image but might just help your bottom line, with 82% of consumers doing more business with a brand who had reacted quickly to the pandemic.
6. Omni-channel marketing
Which channel is right for me? Picking the right channel is always a key question for businesses.
The question has become even more baffling over the last year, as more consumers go online and digital paves the way to business recovery.
And while you certainly don’t have to have a presence on all of them, it makes sense that the more visibility you have, the earlier you can outpace the competition.
7. Buyer experience first
The last year has seen numerous shops and businesses close and customer-business relationships put to the test.
While some stores have now reopened, the way we buy and sell has already been altered. There’s been a rapid shift to online shopping as well as a greater focus on shopping local.
If you want to get ahead of these modern shoppers, it’s time to get to know them better. Download our guide to the Buyer’s Journey and understand the process they go through from the moment they first hear about you to the moment they buy from you.
A new way of thinking
The next year will see more brands willing to 'test the waters' of new marketing approaches, bringing about new ways to find success.
While we can’t wait for the pandemic to be over, in many ways it has already shaped consumer habits and marketing trends for many years to come.