We’ll start with the ubiquitous cliché: COVID-19 has changed everything. In the weeks, months, and years to come, we’ll all see even more clearly how it’s disrupted our world and changed our behavior. The marketing world is by no means exempt; it may be a good long while before we have a full reckoning of how the pandemic has impacted consumer behavior, and what that means for our efforts to advertise and promote.
Marketing After COVID
With that said, we can certainly make a few preliminary hypotheses.
- Traditional advertising is going to become all but gone. Many of us are going to be spending more time at home, fearful of too much exposure to the open air; as such, things like highway billboards just aren’t going to offer the same return on investment. Similarly, in a culture increasingly germ-aware, physical totems, such as direct mailers, are going to become obsolete.
- Traditional TV advertising is also likely to shift toward a digital, programmatic model… if only because the quarantine has led more people to start consuming content on their devices, focusing more on streaming services, YouTube, and short-form social media content over broadcast TV.
- In light of the pandemic’s economic fallout, many of us are going to have tight budgets. We’re not going to want to part with our hard-earned money just because some ham-fisted sales pitch tells us to. Traditional sales tactics are going to become less and less effective.
- For a long time, consumers are going to have questions about whether their favorite businesses and restaurants are still in business and about whether the new businesses that have sprung up are worth going to. Most of us will turn to Google to do some research before we physically venture to these businesses. Again, you can anticipate a lot of reluctance about heading away from home needlessly.
These are just a few of the changes we foresee to the marketing landscape… but what are the practical implications? For one thing, we think content marketing is going to become hotter than ever.
The Argument for Content Marketing
There are a few reasons why we suspect content marketing will thrive in a post-COVID world.
- These days, we’re inundated with voices from the news, voices from politicians, voices from the medical profession… and at times, it can be hard to know who to listen to or who to trust. The most successful brands will be those that develop a reputation for clear, candid, and honest connection with their audience. Content marketing and thought leadership create that connection.
- While the general public is going to be increasingly wary of being “advertised to,” we’ll arguably be more ready than ever for stories, which help us to empathize and to make some sense of a chaotic world. Content marketing is one of the best ways for brands to tell their stores… stories of who they are, who they serve, and what they value.
- More than anything else, content marketing is poised for success because it meets people where they are. Sure, we’ll likely reach a point where people are once again eager and ready to spend time outside their homes, but it may be a good long while before we flock back to movie theaters and concerts. So how will people occupy their time? One answer is content that can be enjoyed anywhere, from the convenience of a phone, tablet, or other device.
- As consumers seek information about their favorite old businesses, or try to discover favorite new businesses, content marketing provides a way to engage them, to inform them, to win their attention, and ultimately to gain their trust.
Nobody can predict for certain what the coming season will bring; not for the economy, not for COVID-19, not for marketing. But if you want to place a bet on something, content marketing looks right now to be a pretty safe choice.
Curious to learn more? We invite you to contact Grammar Chic, Inc. via 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.