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What Will the 'Next Normal' Look Like for Marketers?

Many marketers are figuring out how to survive the current choppy waters until we get back to business as usual. However, it is likely the COVID-19 pandemic has changed marketing in profound and lasting ways that there will be no “going back” to the old normal.

social distancing 4621687 640smallMarketers that can understand the new rules of engagement and can adapt their approaches have a tremendous opportunity to not only get ahead of their marketing peers, but also to demonstrate the value marketing teams hold within their organizations.

“While there is still much uncertainty about the future, we are likely in the midst of a generation-defining event that will influence how consumers behave for years to come,” Kelsey Robinson, a partner at McKinsey & Company, writes in a column for Campaign. Robinson says marketers need to take a three-pronged approach. In addition to managing the current situation with resolve and resilience and planning for the recovery, Robinson says marketers must “reimagine and shape the ‘next normal.’

Robinson says it is too early to tell exactly what the world will look like when we emerge from this crisis and what behaviors and attitudes have shifted permanently. “But we are quite likely to see some changes in consumer psyche and these are the things that will truly define the next normal,” Robinson writes. “Companies shouldn’t wait for a completely clear picture of the future to emerge, so they need to take a studied portfolio approach to create options for growth depending on how the market and consumers shift. This is an area where marketing leaders can help the chief executive and the business as a whole to start reimagining the future.”

Ryan Detert, CEO of Influential, says that brands and agencies need to rethink their media strategies in today’s environment, according to a recent Forbes article. “It’s critical brands and agencies take into account the state of their audiences—both their changing behaviors and emotional state of mind,” Detert told the publication. “Customer service is a critical part of brands marketing strategies as consumers are turning to brands looking for answers about products in stock, refunds, where to buy and changes to schedules.”

Many Unprepared

Despite the need to navigate change, 42% of marketing leaders say their teams lack the capacity to quickly adapt to changing priorities and develop content accordingly. So reports Click Z.

This comes at a time when consumer behavior has clearly shifted. In fact, 24% of people plan to delay large purchases, while 42% are expecting to cook meals at home during the next six months to save some dough, according to the Click Z article.

At a time when global advertisers, such as Anheuser-Busch, Airbnb, Marriott and Coca-Cola are cutting marketing spends, Converse is increasing its marketing.

“As a result of Covid-19 we paused like everyone else and took a minute to reassess,” said Converse’s CMO Jesse Stollak, according to a recent DigiDay article. It has “launched a crowdsourced campaign for housebound creatives called #CreateAtHome” and decided to “work across Instagram, Twitter and its newly launched TikTok as the first phase of a new long-term brand campaign,” according to the article.

Influential’s Detert said firms may also want to turn to influencers at this time. “On average, a brand's owned and operated account will receive 90% less positive sentiment compared to a talent/influencer's branded post,” Detert told Forbes. “If you want to minimize risk, use those who can speak on your behalf. Make sure the message is aligned with your values and is emotive, the data reveals that consumers trust people more than brands, and it shows.”

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