The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how marketing works and even buyer behavior. Even the giants had to conform in order to thrive in this pandemic.
This is exactly how challenging it has been for every business. 2021 is now well underway, and as we work towards life post-pandemic, marketers across industries are left wondering whether it’s time to return to their old playbooks.
It’s the new normal and marketing has all shifted online. While there’s no going back to the old normal, there have certainly been a number of takeaways from the past year that have challenged existing rules about customer journeys and brand building.
Personalize the Customer Experience
Before the pandemic, marketing efforts were universally centered on the basic mantra that you have to know your customers. In a post-pandemic world, this doesn’t quite cut it. Knowing your customers isn’t enough, you also have to interact and mirror your customers. Content will be very important in this era more than ever.
COVID-19 reinforced like no other that brands are required to communicate highly targeted content to a specific set of consumers. This not only means zeroing in on key demographics like age, gender, and location but also going deeper by taking into consideration your customer’s unique situation and values.
Personalized content will be key moving forward, reflecting the individual purchasing behaviors of each brand’s customers. Direct-to-consumer brands will have a leg up on this, having already mastered hyper-personalization by adeptly using customer’s personal data.
You’re Only as Good as Your Last Customer
This time around, your problem isn’t your competitors. Marketing in this pandemic era rings around you because you’re only as good as your last customers. Don’t pay attention to what your competition is up to, you have to focus on your own game and ace it!
Customer expectations have been rising steadily since before the pandemic, and Gen Z consumers are especially wary of purchasing experiences that aren’t seamlessly integrated into their lifestyle or daily lives.
COVID-19 just hit digital transformation into overdrive, sending consumer expectations and demands through the roof. Today, customers are not just looking for the best products or prices but are looking for personalized and memorable experiences in the customer journey.
Customer Demands Soar!
Customers before the pandemic would shop with you hoping that you would have the products or items they’re looking for but now, customers expect that you have it.
With that being said, your entire digital marketing strategy should also be aligned to this dogma or new demands. Additional emphasis should be placed on leveraging customer data and technology when approaching a marketing strategy, both during and post COVID.
Customer data, while key prior to the pandemic, is now more important than ever. Consider customers’ skyrocketing expectations; without personalized and relevant data, it would be nearly impossible to stay abreast of their wants and needs.
Today, consumers are now looking or expecting these 4Cs of Marketing:
- Content – Includes emails, social media, advertisements, guides, and everything in between
- Commerce – Refers to e-commerce and physical shops or hybrid models
- Community – Refers to social media communities, live trade shows, and webinars
- Convenience – Includes perks like deals, discount coupons, loyalty programs, and referral incentives
Pre-pandemic, most brands delivered the 4Cs using a “one-size-fits-all” model. Post-pandemic, however, brands will need to meet the demand for greater personalization using data to drive more relevant customer interactions.
Be Nimble and Agile
Agility is what makes businesses resilient even in a pandemic. COVID-19 has taught a lot of businesses about embracing a nimble mentality. Companies that were quick to adapt to the widespread changes brought on by the pandemic and other events were the ones who were able to come out of the crisis intact. Unfortunately for many, adapting marketing during COVID didn’t happen quickly enough.
One positive to come out of the pandemic is this marketing agility mindset: for all intents and purposes, it’s here to stay. We can expect marketing teams across the globe to embrace more agile decision-making. Operationally, this means we can expect faster decision cycles, leading to overall flexibility across areas like media and PR, creatives, and budgeting.
Marketing is Still the Core of Your Branding Strategy
Marketing is the lifeline of your branding strategy. But the marketing department often came on the chopping block during tough periods in which businesses needed to be leaner.
During this past year, however, marketing has been shown to have a huge return on investment and even to be paramount to growth. Without marketing, we cannot understand the zeitgeist of the marketplace, and ultimately, we cannot champion the voice of the consumer.
If there’s one key takeaway from the pandemic, it should be that digital strategies are going to lead growth in the future, and prioritizing the perspective of the customer is the best and most effective way to achieve that. Remember, what you think isn’t important as that is what your customers want.
Brands are unique in their very core. With that being said, every brand’s digital strategy is going to look a little different, but every successful one will involve driving meaningful human connections through storytelling. Of course, it’s not black and white; marketing certainly falls within that fine line between art (brand marketing) and science (performance marketing).
That being said, the universal truth to come out of COVID-19 remains clear: bespoke, data-driven experiences that speak to customers’ values are going to win overall. If you can achieve this, you’re well on your way to redefining a digital strategy that will propel your business to the next level in a post-pandemic world.
When it comes to being a successful online entrepreneur, few things are as important as your product choice. After all, your products are what will get customers in the door.
They’re what will determine your inventory, warehousing, and shipping costs. They’re what will impact your SEO and market efforts. They’re also what would eventually determine your pricing strategy (and potential profits).
Your choice of products is the key to your business success. So, what products do you have in mind?
What is the Best Product to Sell?
There are so many competing products out there and it’s very difficult to choose one that would be profitable and that your target market would love. Ideally, the best products to sell should have unique value and serve a purpose for customers such as the following:
Solve a Problem
People buy products and services to free them of life’s problems or complications. That’s a given fact. Now, finding a product or service that can solve these pain points would be your formulation for an ideal product.
Look into the problems that you encounter daily. Are you always stressed out and looking for a gadget that can help you relax or de-stress for a while? Are you looking for a better-tasting coffee or a more comfortable pair of jeans to pair with your new silk top? What are the problems you experience every day? What products can help you free up your time or perhaps increase your energy and productivity?
This can be your guide when looking for an ideal product to sell. Think like your market because you have to find products that appeal to them.
People buy out of emotions. Buying behavior is said to be strongly associated with emotions so people should look into that when looking for a profitable product. Whether that strong feeling is love or hate doesn’t really matter, as long as it gets people curious, talking, and buying your products.
Ideally, you want to have a love for the products you sell — at least in that you use them, understand the need for them, and feel strongly about their value. This will allow you to put your full self behind their marketing and sales. Believing in your brand and loving them
Showcase Your Brand
Your branding efforts are crucial to making it in this pandemic and even post-pandemic. To cut through the noise, your story should leave a mark on your target market. Brands that become timeless and loved by many are memorable.
Look at how giant brands execute their marketing strategies. It’s not focused on the products – the focus is on the brand. It’s important to remember that your products won’t exist in a vacuum. Everything is interlinked. They’ll be associated with your name, your logo, your branding, and your overall marketing efforts.
When looking for products to sell, you should look for products that you know people will love and follow. Specifically, you should be looking for products that call to mind images, videos, and social content that are shareable or has the potential to go viral.
Be Very Niche-Specific
You cannot possibly sell to everyone. You have to hit it where it matters the most – to the heart. The best products are ones that serve a very specific purpose and audience and are extremely honed in on what that audience wants, needs, and feels.
Niche products also lend themselves to stronger branding and marketing campaigns which translates to more sales in the long run.
You have to look for unique products too or highlight the unique value proposition of your niche product. Maybe you offer a different color or pattern than your competitors, or maybe there’s an entirely different feature or component.
Once you find value in your brand and product line, you will know how to effectively plan and execute its marketing strategy. It’s easy to fall in love with a brand that you can relate well to – like its second skin or your best friend. Embracing the values of your brand will leave a scent anywhere and everywhere. Finding products that sell is easy when you know and understand your market and you find ways to integrate a memorable customer journey from start to finish.