2020 has brought a lot of change, quickly, to many areas of our lives and businesses. This is true even for marketing and consumer purchase behavior. We are seeing a different consumer because of the sudden increase of people being indoors. This has led to a change in lifestyle where consumers have shifted to spending more time online than before. Businesses are adapting to cater to this “new consumer” in many ways. Even in our industry, we’ve seen a push toward no-contact and virtual meetings, a faster adaption technology such as WIFI controllers, and consumers looking to upgrade their outdoor living spaces now that they are home more often.
Consumer purchase behavior was already quickly changing toward online but now the coronavirus has pushed this trend into hyper speed. Couple this with the less human interaction and we’re seeing some very interesting trends in marketing. Some of the most tried and true marketing mainstays such as word of mouth are seeing huge decline. With people not seeing friends, family and neighbors regularly, word of mouth has seen declines of 40% or more, while digital marketing and advertising has exploded. So, what are the trends we are seeing in digital marketing and today and what ones do we think are here to stay? Check out these 5 digital trends to help your business’s marketing today and tomorrow.
1. Seize the Opportunity
Seize the opportunity sounds pretty obvious but what does that mean in marketing. It actually means a couple of different things. First, now is the time to go all in with the trends you are seeing in our industry. As we mentioned before, we were already seeing a seismic shift toward things like technology and all-natural and sustainable products. These trends are not going away, so now is the time to embrace them.
Second, traditional hard selling has waned over the years. Especially as younger generations are getting older and becoming homeowners. Consumers do not want to be sold to; they want you to solve a problem for them. They want to engage with brands and businesses they trust, and they want to look to you to be the expert they rely on. Focus on selling your solutions, look to create a long-term relationship, and show them how you can help make their lives better.
Third, is digital advertising has finally become affordable for small and medium sized businesses. It used to be that only large and mega-sized companies could afford to spend money on digital advertising. This is no longer the case. Digital advertising has come a long way over the years and even with a minimal budget, you can target the audience you want to reach whether it’s with paid social media, pay-per-click, geo-fencing, or retargeting.
2. Omnichannel Marketing
So, what is omnichannel marketing? It’s a fancy way to say to make sure the customer has a good experience from the first touch through the final sale. Omnichannel is a multichannel sales approach that focuses on the customers experience and want to ensure that everything is seamless from the website, to the Google My Business page, through the first phone call, the quote, and the sale. It includes both traditional and digital channels from the first contact with the business through the final sale and beyond—and you customize that interaction based on the behavior of each customer as they make their way through your sales funnel. It’s the ultimate personalized customer experience. Luckily for our industry, personalization and a customized experience is easy to pull off.
As business owners, the traditional piece to omnichannel is pretty easy to handle. It’s what most of you have been doing to provide good service over the years, from having someone dedicated to answer your phones, to in-person meetings and customized quotes. On the digital side, it’s making sure that you have an up-to-date website, that you are utilizing and keeping your Google My Business page current. It’s making sure you are communicating via email, that you are testing digital advertising like retargeting and PPC, and that you are utilizing your social media channels for engagement and paid advertising. Finally, it’s focusing on experiences, looking for solutions to make sure your customer has a quality experience at every touchpoint with your business. Omnichannel and the strategy surrounding it has been the biggest buzz of the last few years and it will only continue to gain steam and evolve.
3. Don’t Stop Advertising
Many times, during a downturn companies will stop advertising. However, during the last economic downturn, companies that did not stop advertising saw an increase in sales while competitors that stopped advertising saw a decline. Earlier we spoke about seizing the opportunity. When it comes to advertising during a recession or downturn, companies have an opportunity to take advantage of. There is less competition on the advertising side, the cost of advertising drops during economic downturns, when you stop advertising you risk losing “share of mind” with consumers (brand recognition, staying top of mind, etc.)
The benefits of continuing to advertise is twofold. First, 43% of consumers find it reassuring to hear from brands/companies they know and trust during uncertain times. This means, you can solidify your relationship with existing customers and prospects. Also, advertising when done right, can have a huge return on investment. According to HIS Markit, it is estimated that each dollar a company spent on advertising in the United States last year led to $9 in sales!
4. Leverage Inbound & Outbound Marketing Efforts
The most successful companies are employing a mix of inbound and outbound marketing efforts.
Outbound marketing like email, direct mail, advertising, and other outreach is all critical to keep your messages in front of people. While inbound marketing such as SEO, content marketing (blogs, before and after photos), social media, shareable content, or anything that drives people to your website enables your business be found online.
Make sure you are leverage both inbound and outbound marketing to help you be successful when connecting with customers and prospects. Here are some ways to make sure your website and email marketing initiatives are successful.
5. Keep in Mind
Some of the most important things to remember when marketing, both traditional and digital, is to be there, be useful, and be quick. When you create a trustworthy partnership with your customers, you can assure they are there for the long haul. It’s vital to be mindful of individual customers’ needs and their mindset.
That’s why one of the most important trends moving forward in all marketing is going to be being mindful of how you communicate with customers. What channels are you using? Are you sending communications frequently enough? Too much? How are you saying your message? It’s important to evaluate images and language used to make sure you are putting your best foot forward. Does it convey the right message? Will it catch someone’s attention? Does that image showcase your work in the best light?
Finally, rely on Central to help, whether it’s questions about marketing strategy, strategic purchasing, or business planning during COVID-19. Central is the right partner for your business. We stay at the leading edge of the industry and we’re ready to help you grow!