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This pandemic provides a tough environment for marketing as brands wonder how to realign their strategies to match the changes in the business environment. Yet, in the ever-competitive and changing business world, a number of factors exist that when acted on, can be used to augment your brand's marketing strategy. COVID-19 is changing consumer behavior in various different ways, there must be a shift in marketing objectives and the strategies used to achieve brand success. Augmented strategies won't just help your business gain resilience to the effects of COVID-19, but allow your business to thrive as a leader within your industry.

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Increasing digital presence

When considering the impacts of the pandemic on marketing in general, the most significant influence has been the growth of eCommerce. When COVID-19 became a reality, marketers faced a rapid digital transition, and companies quickly learned how to shift their focus online. The pandemic has increased the rate of this change, with online industries having greater leverage than ever before. Recent surveys revealed that about 79% of business owners made changes to adapt online in response to the crisis. We now depend on Amazon or Zoom to purchase our latest need or host a business meeting. This shift online is likely to stick, simply because e-commerce provides a more efficient, less resource intensive, inexpensive, and safer option for customers. Therefore, as marketers in the modern age, in order to remain competitive with marketing strategies, we must take advantage of this newfound reliance on technology. This means that marketers who want to increase the effectiveness of their strategies must first increase their investment towards establishing and updating digital interfaces to remain competitive and accessible.

E-Service Platforms

Evidently, in the era of COVID-19, marketers must place a greater emphasis on e-commerce and digital channels. However, in addition to the online transition, consumers have learned to adopt e-service options. This growing customer trust in the usage of e-services indicates a possible spike in demand as well as a chance to form new relationships. For marketers, this means we must rethink how we connect with customers and clients. To achieve this, both marketers and brand strategies must consider the role of direct-to-consumer (D2C) e-commerce channels which may include the creation of apps, websites, direct emails or sales by phone, and much more.

Invest in Social Media

Consequently, with the shift to digital channels, the usage levels of online tools such as social media are experiencing an onwards and upwards trend. Interestingly, in 2021 we can already see a greater increase in the frequency of social media marketing campaigns, with mobile ad engagement has increased 15% during the pandemic. In fact, social commerce is on the rise as well with 34% of people having shopped on Instagram based on influencer recommendations. This can be linked to the fact that as more people spend time at home and on social media, the use and influence of online ads, influencers, and online sale sites has skyrocketed. As a result, businesses are encouraged to consider a media mix and invest in social media marketing techniques, such as Facebook ads. This investment will increase the impact of brand marketing strategies as it generated greater brand recognition and establishes the brand as one which aims to be a significant part of the ‘new normal.

Analytics are Everything

Linking with the rise of e-commerce, we can only begin to imagine the role data will play in determining how and what marketing strategies are used. Thus, one way to augment your marketing strategy during COVID-19 is to re-think how you can manage data and use it to better personalize offers and messages to relevant consumer segments. Moreover, with greater investment into managing data, marketers have the opportunity to examine changing consumer demands, adapt quickly to shifts, and predict new trends, all of which lead to a more competitive marketing strategy. 

Customer is Key

Knowing how to execute a successful consumer marketing plan is important in this changing business landscape. Nowadays, a company’s ability to retain current clients is now seen as a determining factor in remaining current and successful. Thus, given the unstable environment created by COVID-19, including the lockdowns and business closures, marketers now must shift towards a customer-centric marketing strategy and place an intense focus on the customers they already have. To apply this consumer-focus approach, companies must first understand what their clients want, linking directly with the growing need for data management and analytical insights. 

Stay Loyal by Staying Local 

We know that customers determine a company's success or failure, therefore as marketers we appreciate the value derived from consumer loyalty. Local neighborhoods have become considerably more significant as a result of the near-total closure of transport and other present lockdown limitations. As a result, community social-media pages and forums have been developed. This means that businesses looking to strengthen their relationships with customers have an opportunity to profit from localizing their marketing strategies. This may include customized messaging to specific groups distributed through newly formed community networks or leveraging current brand influence to promote and fund local businesses. Regardless, local marketing capitalizes on a large base of loyal customers and allows marketers to establish a strong brand image. 

It’s All About the Communication

­Two elements of communication must be met in order to have a successful marketing strategy in COVID-19. Firstly, given the drastic changes in the past 12-months, marketers have had to overhaul their original communication strategies and redesign themselves in the new contexts. Specifically, the online transition means marketers must clearly but uniquely communicate their brands’ purpose, vision, and offerings to engage consumers on new communication channels. With this, marketers must also ensure there is the opportunity for an online open dialogue between the brand and consumer, simulating what previously existed in person. Secondly, in today’s day and age, and with a growing culture of activism, consumers are inclined to engage with companies that meet and communicate their own personal values. Therefore, marketers must also focus on linking company values, ideals, and ethics into the advertising strategies and the brand image itself. Ultimately, companies must fine-tune their own marketing goals to continue to effectively establish themselves as both a first choice and a competitor during COVID-19.

Post-Pandemic Strategies

So, what does this mean for the future of marketing strategies? If marketing strategies want to remain competitive, marketers need to rethink the playbook. Changing trends and new demands caused by COVID-19 have the potential to become the new normal for marketers. Whilst previous strategies used before the pandemic have become outdated, they may likely come back into effect if things ever return to the old normal. Overall, we cannot predict what marketing may look like in the future, however, this pandemic has taught us we can adapt. Whilst marketing has seen many changes, looking beyond 2021 into whatever new environment comes our way, key aspects continue to remain essential in providing an augmented marketing strategy. 

Marketers in 2021 know to expect an unstable marketing environment that is driven by changes caused by COVID-19. However, key strategies are available to increase your brand's marketing strategy. Successful strategies in the ever-changing world of COVID-19 include investment into online interfaces, social media, data-driven research, and consumer loyalty. Overall, marketing leaders must adapt to the new normal, and marketers must employ key strategies in order to remain competitive and current. 

If your business has any questions regarding your marketing strategy or you wish to learn more about how you can augment your current marketing strategy, don't hesitate to get in contact with one of our professional marketing executives today.



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