It is always darkest before the dawn. Little did Thomas Fuller know when he wrote this in 1650 just how prophetic it would be for many centuries to come.
No-one can deny the enormous challenges that Covid-19 has brought to all of us and I hope you are well and safe. In today’s short read I wanted to focus, rather than on where marketing is suffering, on what we can do to come out stronger than ever.
As I mentioned in my last blog, times like this are opportunities to innovate. Indeed according to eConsultancy, 82% of large companies are learning new ways of working that they expect to implement when things come back to some level of normality.
This trend has started to take hold much more as the lock down has continued. Many leaders now realise that remote working is entirely workable, cost savings can be made by making processes lean and smarter marketing delivered through better use of technology. It seems that the virus has accelerated the appreciation of some of these core areas of modern marketing and the industry is likely to come out all the stronger for it.
A perfect case study
Positive signs have been seen in many businesses that operate well in the home working environment. Amazon beat their Q1 earnings target, supermarkets saw their busiest month on record in March and Netlfix gained 16m new subscribers in Q1.
If you’re not in an industry that would organically benefit from this trend then that all might seem irrelevant. However what it tells us is that changes in consumer behaviour directly correlate with results. “That’s obvious” I hear you scream. Yes indeed but it strengthens the importance of guiding consumer behaviour in your marketing strategy. If you ever needed an argument to support your campaigns and channels that focus on behavioural change (those that sometimes are cut when marketing budgets get pulled as they are not direct revenue generators) then you have a very strong case study.
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Ethics are vital
I have talked about this for years both on stage and in blogs. Ethics is something I feel very strongly about in terms of how we treat consumers in our communications. However there is also is a clear commercial benefit to being unethical. Or perhaps a commercial risk in being unethical.
Those that have taken advantage of the situation to foster fear or cynically jump on the bandwagon have been heavily criticized and rightly so. It is reassuring to see consumers across the world pushing back on businesses that lack the EQ to be supportive but genuine in difficult times. This should be a lesson for all marketers
Virtual experiences have grown
Finally, from house viewings to major global events; from school lessons to simple video conferencing, the virtual world has been embraced more the in last 2 months than ever before. This is largely due to the lack of other options of course but it has proven on a grand scale that alternatives to standard events do work.
LogMeIn has seen a 20% increase in usage, Airbnb have launched virtual experiences. Interest in virtual events in 2020 has tripled over 2019 and many business conferences have transformed into something more akin to a corporations ‘Town Hall’ meeting.
We should all now consider whether our future events should be physical or virtual and whether there are more events we could run if they were purely virtual as this option is clearly now sustainable.