The COVID-19 pandemic is set to bring about paradigm shifts in the way we go about our lives, and the corporate world is no exception. In the Darwinian market environment, it is not the ones with only the best marketing strategies, but the best marketing philosophies that will emerge as the fittest to survive. And yet, the basics of marketing will continue to stay the same; in fact, the principles will only find more prominent applications in the business world. So here are such principles that marketers would do well to remember once the COVID-19 crisis gets over.
1. Quality of Promotion will trump Quantity of Promotion
The lesson that the current lockdown has delivered to the corporate world is, the most sustainable brands are built on the basis of how well they are promoted rather than how much they are promoted. The audience will not remember how many times they have seen an advertisement but will remember well-framed ad jingles even after decades. Even when it comes to content marketing, the rule of quality being more important over mere quantity applies.
2. Information trumps Claims
We are living in an era where consumers have grown a lot more conscious of the choices they make. In part, this is because there are a lot many options to choose from, whereas disposable income growth is not as prolific as the growth in the number of options. But more importantly, each customer, after having misled into making the wrong buying decisions at some of the other time, tends to get wiser with their purchases. And hence, marketing has evolved from telling consumers what to buy to convince them why to buy.
3. Experiences trump Endorsements
Truth: we’re being bombarded with hundreds of marketing messages each day. So the truth is also that a brand needs to go beyond aesthetics and clutter in order to get into the mind of a more-than-ever conscious consumer of today to communicate a message. Talking without walking won’t deliver desirable results; direct engagement with consumers and leaving them with lasting, purposeful experiences is what will matter the most.
The experiences become true, the physical embodiment of a brand’s mission. Experience is believing – and believing is forever. And this is the very concept of experiential marketing that people value experiences more than tangible things. By providing branded, memorable events and active experiences, brands will build positive associations – while also generating increased levels of customer loyalty and organic word-of-mouth as a by-product. Yes, the future should be in favor of brands aiming for advocacy over awareness.
4. Market solutions, not goods and services
The strongest of brands are ones that end up establishing themselves as solutions to customer pain-points. In fact, it is not surprising to see that brand names become synonymous with products in a geography where the majority of the people prefer a certain brand as a solution to one of their existing needs. When you project your brand as a solution to a need, as opposed to merely making grand claims about it, the target audience finds it easy to connect with the necessity to purchase the brand, and this link explains what makes it a superior marketing approach.
5. Change is the only Constant
The number of marketing channels available for marketing continues to grow at a never-seen-before pace with the advent of social media and internet proliferation. What this allows brands to do is to target global audiences with their messaging in innovative, and more importantly cost-effective ways. The dynamics of marketing vary on every channel. Thus, what works on your business website would not work on Instagram, and what works on Instagram might be difficult to replicate on Quora. As such, the need of the hour is to devise customized marketing strategies to suit each new platform and marketing channel that is sought to be explored.
6. Data >> Intuition
Analyzing data will reveal patterns in consumer behavior and preferences, sales trends, and the effectiveness of different marketing campaigns executed in the past. Such aspects are difficult to guess correctly without a scrupulous analysis of data. As such, it is important that marketing plans be based on the information that data reveals, as against what merely ‘feels right to do’. As revealed by this Mckinsey report, adopting the use of analytics to drive marketing can reduce marketing costs by 15-20%, which may either be invested back or could drop to the bottom line of the P&L.
The above principles might seem pretty intuitive. But they remain the defining principles on the basis of which marketing efforts need to be based on. Once the dark times of COVID-19 phase away, businesses would do well to base their marketing strategies while keeping the above principles in focus, in order to enjoy a sustained resurgence after the resumption of economic activity.