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How is Digital Marketing Changing Post-Pandemic?

The pandemic has changed a lot of what we do, how we do it, and what is important to us. It’s been the catalyst of what is now considered The Great Resignation. In January, the Bank of Canada reported that almost one in five Canadians will quit their job in the next 12 months.

Those aren’t small numbers.

Employees (and employers) are now reflecting on what makes them content, and the economy and workplace play a big role in that.

Marketing has had both a large impact on our economy during the pandemic, and has also been impacted dramatically by it. Digital marketing in particular has shifted as more consumers and businesses are pivoting rapidly to the surge in remote work and online purchasing experiences.

The world we will see coming out of the pandemic will be considerably different than what we had going into that. Here’s how digital marketing will change post-pandemic, and what it means for marketers and consumers alike.

It’s about the buyer, not the brand

While the concept of brand awareness has changed considerably, the underlying message is that digital marketing is no longer about the brand. It’s all about the buyer.

Here’s what we mean by this.

Social media has completely reshaped the way we experience brands and products. During the pandemic, online sales skyrocketed, leading consumers to want more connection with the brand along with an experience that is uniquely tailored to them. And that means making purchases in a frictionless sales experience.

Whether your product is B2B or B2C, the consumer wants to know that you are focused on them, know their needs, and will provide a solution.

How this affects sales funnels will also change drastically. Where once upon a time, a single CTA was the marketing paradigm, because consumers expect unique experiences, now multiple CTAs help create an experience that speaks to the consumer, and gives them the options they need. 

Social commerce will continue to accelerate

Toy Story meme - social media

Once lockdowns started in 2020, online shopping became the norm. That puts a lot of pressure – but also opportunity – on retailers. This resulted in an increase in the need for businesses to make the shopping experience seamless, with one click and right at consumers’ fingertips. 

Social commerce cuts across generations as well, which has only been enhanced by the pandemic. Over 95% of Gen Z consumers use social media as their top inspiration for shopping, resulting in higher in-app purchasing.

Digital marketers have had to pivot quickly to capture that audience, a behaviour that is swelling to older generations as well. This isn’t something that is going to change anytime soon, if ever, and all social media channels have been responding to this.

As part of the digital marketing journey and the spike in social media as a marketing tool, influencer marketing strategies will also continue to increase.

Content will be humanized and sensitive

One of the great things that will come out of post-pandemic digital marketing trends is the emphasis on humanized and sensitive content.

Regardless if you’re B2B or B2C, consumers want to know the companies they are working with or buying from are companies with values that align with theirs. That means being sensitive to current issues. This translates to digital marketing campaigns that are authentic and that add value to both the brand and consumers’ lives.

However, this can present a challenge for digital marketers as oftentimes rapid pivoting can be necessary in the wake of changing cultural or political climate shifts. For example, when the pandemic started, marketing campaigns that focused on the physically social aspect of lives had to change quickly to remain sensitive to lockdowns and isolation.

This humanized and sensitive digital marketing content trend isn’t likely to go anywhere. In fact, it’s not a trend at all, but a necessity for companies to become socially responsible contributors of our global market.

More emphasis on community

In mid-2021, Google reported the use of keywords “local” and “business” in searches to be up by over 80%. That’s a direct reflection of the pandemic impacting buyer behaviour.

Consumers want to purchase from and support local businesses. Add to that a supply chain bottleneck, consumers are now looking for what they need within their own communities.

While this may seem antithetical with how the workforce has shifted – from in the office to remote work – it actually lines up. With more workers not in the office, they need businesses to supply what they need within their own communities.

This community feel is expected to stay, partly because of the drive to support local businesses with social media trends like #shoplocal, but also because of consumer awareness of social responsibility.

Socially responsible buying has risen in collective consciousnesses, resulting in digital marketing trends shifting from global reach to local and targeted campaigns.

Digital marketing needs to be agile

It should come as no surprise that digital marketing needs to be agile. We’ve all now learned that lives can change quickly – and sometimes drastically. Political and social climates are continually shifting, and brands need to be aware of these changes at all times. It’s not just good marketing, it’s responsibility.

Digital marketing is also a quickly changing industry by its very nature. Consumers need your product to fit their needs right away and with little to no friction in that buyer journey. Decision cycles are at a rapid pace which requires more flexibility across all departments, not just marketing. Creative, budgeting, and media need to work together to create holistic and flexible marketing strategies.

Moving forward

Moving forward into a post-pandemic world isn’t about returning to what once was. The shift in trends we’ve seen in the entirety of the digital marketing process over the past two years are also a reflection of consumer and user needs. They’ve just been emphasized by the pandemic.

Digital marketers need to keep ahead of the curve when it comes to these marketing changes. Embracing the “new norm” also means embracing the continual evolution of what it means to market products and services.

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At Sparked, we work hard to be a leader in current digital marketing strategies. Need help with your digital marketing strategy? Contact us today to book a free discovery call.

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