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Post-pandemic marketing: A new abnormal?

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Many of us have a new and unanticipated vocabulary. Zoom. Skype. Google Hangout. Video calls with doctors and colleagues illustrate the adoption of such technology. We are witness to and participants in rapid consumer behavioral change.

We also have been watching a bombardment of “We Deliver” contactless messages and heard endless overused words like ”unprecedented.” But what’s a marketer to do, whatever new business era emerges post-pandemic? What will that era look like? Will it be a new abnormal?

The increased use of online products and services is here to stay. After all, the rate of growth was already accelerating before we were in work-at-home mode. Some studies estimated a 30% increase just in March.

An example of great marketing/advertising activity is automobile companies deferring payments to those on furlough.  Another is the remarkable expansion of InstaCart participating grocery stores and buyers.

As small businesses focus on recovery and rehiring, advertising approaches will also adapt. The post-COVID-19 era needs to be and will be a time of great creativity for all organizations.

More predictions

Consumers are expected to be pessimistic but will spend on essentials. Online advertising will continue to overtake traditional approaches, except that it will need to be more targeted and less intrusive since there will be an explosion of such ads.

Television — cable and mainstream – will be occupied by seemingly endless political ads this fall. However, online events will flourish.

Whereas webinars were somewhat passé, they now have had an expanded use during the viral outbreak that will likely continue. Consumers have renewed this viewing habit, so well-produced and scheduled webinars will remain a valuable tool.

Social media platforms have been essential as entertainment and information for the shut-in world, so expect those diverse formats to remain at high growth levels.

There will be a pivot from live to virtual events for a while, including streaming programs without an audience where personality and content are important. Google and FaceBook are already promoting ideas for this approach.

With unemployment challenges, expect sites like LinkedIn to have dramatically increased utility for job seekers, a return to the original concept.

Regional developments

On the regional front, some area businesses are already looking ahead creatively to life after the coronavirus. White Marsh-based The Traffic Group is expanding its less-hands-on drone traffic engineering service technology.

As people adjusted to remote working by necessity, a Virginia-based developer who recently launched a niche concept of live-work buildings now sees his efficient concept as one of high growth. Robert Seldin’s Highland Square Holdings is already offering 156 units in Falls Church’s Mission Lofts. People who lost the habit of commuting can now run their small business for up to 10 people, and the owner can live in a specially designed combination habitat.

Local ad agencies/marketing firms are all working on new campaign visuals that won’t show crowded places in their clients’ imagery for a while.

I look forward to seeing what lies ahead as marketers emerge from their forced cocoons in the hopefully not too distant future and adapt well to necessary change with timely and creative approaches.

Glenda LeGendre is principal of Marketing & Strategic Communications and can be reached at [email protected]