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Marketing in the Time of COVID

While we’ve been confined to quarters, consumer buying behavior shifted significantly—and there’s more bad news for brick-and-mortar retailers. COVID has created new marketing challenges.

These stats tell the story:

  • eCommerce orders are up a whopping 108%
  • Our daily Facebook habit has increased 27%, YouTube 15%, TikTok 15%
  • 42% of us believe the way we shop will fundamentally change

The shift towards eCommerce has revved into high gear

The shocking bankruptcy/closing of some of retail’s oldest and most storied brands—the department stores—will further impact the way we shop. These behemoths have traditionally filled mall parking lots. Now those malls will likely shutter as consumers switch to online shopping.

The challenges of change

Smart businesses need to be nimble and adapt to change. I know one business owner who closed down one office, furloughed a few employees and began offering virtual services. All within one week. This is a guy who’s not afraid to make decisions and move on them.

One approach might rely on the messaging that so many have been sharing—that we’re all in this together. Somehow that’s comforting.

With increased online engagement, conversion is now essential to business success

With reduced budgets, we are all content creators. We’re sharing photos and videos across social platforms. These are personal brand experiences that now have an official name: User-Generated Content (UGC); and it’s UGC that potential customers trust. People are looking for authenticity and connection. UGC can be sustainable and cost-effective, the way to build trust, grow sales and deepen relationships.

Building trust: Be the source of consumer confidence

One way to generate trust is through shared, authentic experiences. How to do this? By showing off our happy customers. Think case studies, showcasing successes. According to Nielsen Research, 92% of consumers trust earned media, like UGC, more than any other form of content.

In that same study, 87%  testified that social media posts help them decide what to buy, and 56% say that they rely on reviews to make informed online purchasing decisions. These findings transcend the high-priced photos and product descriptions on websites.

The power of Zooming in your PJs

One unintended side effect of the lockdown has been the dismantling of the corporate façade, of office formalities. Doing a Zoom meeting in your pajamas with kids wrestling in the background tends to humanize us. It brings us together.

Preparing ourselves for what comes next

We all want our lives back. We’re angry about the way our government has mismanaged this crisis, heartbroken by the unnecessary loss of lives. But by now, we all understand that our former lives are going to be out of reach for a long, long time.

This is the perfect time to be developing a marketing plan that leverages online delivery

Think about creating some case studies. Then think about how you’re going to use these. I’m working with one client and we’re creating animated explainer videos for YouTube advertising. Or maybe it’s time to finally update your website. Need help rethinking your marketing strategy? Contact Top of Mind Marketing. We’re writers and content marketing experts.