In a recent article about the power of digital marketing amidst COVID-19, Forbes makes the heavy-handed claim that a company’s’ digital marketing strategies “will be the deciding factor in whether they make it through the tough times ahead.”
That’s quite a statement.
And while the specialists in our field could not, in fact, predict the destructive outbreak of an infectious virus quite like Bill Gates, we definitely saw the former coming.
Digital marketers have long predicted the collapse of traditional media in the form of newspapers, magazines, billboards, events, cable, radio, etc.
This isn’t a fluky 6th sense – it’s just the progression of technology.
And while only a few months ago, convincing our clients to invest in SEO or a social ad campaign might have seemed “out of their comfort zone” or just downright confusing, right now they’d be comfortably navigating through the stormy seas of COVID-19, keeping their eyes peeled on the horizon.
That’s not to say they wouldn’t get wet.
The catastrophic economic consequences have affected us all in inevitable ways.
But here are 4 ways that the COVID-19 crisis has made it abundantly clear that companies will most definitely need a digital marketer in their lifeboats in order to survive.
1. When All Eyes Are On Digital, You Need an Expert in Your Corner
The first thing to fall off the map during a pandemic like COVID 19 is traditional print media.
Because if the average citizen is “forced” to self-quarantine at home, their ears and eyes are also quarantined – and unfortunately, your ad spend only goes as far as their eyeballs.
As a digital agency, we often advise our clients against traditional print media (billboards, bench signs, magazines, sports sponsorships) & radio for several reasons:
Not highly targeted
Difficult (often impossible) to track ROI
Hard to adjust in a pinch
And the list goes on.
But the shift of eyeballs from physical real-estate to personal devices was not the result of a global pandemic – it’s already been taking place.
Even Before WFH, Average Adult Spends 11-12 Hours in Front of a Screen Daily 📱
Whether we like it or not, the average adult spends most of their waking hours in front of screens.
The uptick in screen time in recent years can partly be attributed to the growing accessibility to technology and the widespread adoption of Connected TV (simultaneously making these new digital ad outlets a goldmine).
But in the wake of self-shelter pandemics, daily screen time only increases.
Social Media Usage Soars Amid COVID-19 Crisis
In the last 2 weeks alone, one study of an influencer agency found a 76% increase in daily likes on Instagram #ad posts.
With a stay-at-home quarantine, everyone is bound to spend an inordinate amount of time on social media.
This means that once the panic buying subsides, e-commerce will tick upwards – especially because consumers still can’t frequent their normal brick & mortar establishments.
But it’s not too late: if you’re not already in the game, the time is now.
2. When Social Distancing Prevails, Companies Can No Longer Depend on Traditional Events
The second thing COVID-19 made very clear was the fact that it’s no longer a viable option for companies to tie up a large part of their revenue in live events and conferences, simple as that.
Sadly, the tech industry alone has seen an economic loss of over $1.1 billion in the cancellation of just 10 major tech conferences and one major gaming event.
Even the Tokyo Olympics are postponed for the first non-war time period in world history.
The Effects of Event Cancellation on Undiversified Businesses Have Been Disastrous
“Larger companies are also now finding themselves in the position of having potentially lost millions through canceled events,” states Forbes.
“They won’t claw back the hours of time and expense spent on preparations for this year, but insurance and flexible cancellation policies will leave them with a marketing budget to reassign.”
Here’s where they should be reassigning their budgets.
Alternatively, Digital Events are a Land Mine of Data 💥
Digital savvy or not, we know your company, institution or university needs to quickly adapt to social distancing by utilizing resources like Zoom and Google Hangouts.
These platforms are quite literally sustaining the economy right now. As half the world proceeds to WFH, companies are conducting sales meetings and virtual events via the software.
But we can easily use these platforms to our advantage.
Companies that are thinking on their toes are already moving live events online.
They know they can take advantage of the gold mine of data and analytics available to them, including:
Email list building
Conversion rate optimization data
Transparent engagement rates
…and so much more.
3. When Crisis Strikes, Digital Marketers Can React Swiftly & Tactfully
The third thing COVID-19 has made apparent is the importance of having adaptable marketing strategies.
Not only do digital specialists have the resources to scale their campaigns from the comfort of their laptops or smart devices (#wfh), but they can also do so immediately.
This is the competitive advantage you need when dealing with unpredictable economic circumstances. Your campaigns NEED to be monitored on a day-to-day basis.
Digital Marketers Have Come Prepared With a Bunker Full of Skills 👨💻
And while many businesses, schools, and other institutions are just now making the shift to online platforms and ad campaigns, digital marketers have been waist-deep in the tech ad space for years.
They know how to think on their toes when a crisis strikes.
Not only that, but they’re always preparing for a storm by investing in valuable organic real estate (search engine rankings). While best practice dictates having a mix of paid advertising and SEO, solid SEO strategies are imperative in order to maintain high organic visibility during budget shortages.
“Aren’t They Just Shooting in the Dark?”
The short answer? No.
Numbers don’t lie.
Unlike traditional marketers, digital marketers are proficient at collecting and analyzing big data across campaigns. This helps us boost what’s working and easily identify what is not.
Based on detailed analytics reports of subtle changes in the market, many agencies already have extensive digital marketing strategies set in place way BEFORE a crisis strikes.
4. When Brick & Mortar Clings On For Dear Life, You Need Digital On Your Side
I hate to be dramatic but let’s look at the obvious: COVID-19 has solidified the impractical nature of brick & mortar establishments in our current economy.
This is not to suggest that the brick & mortar concept is unprofitable. However, many businesses that solely operate under this model have revealed that they were unprepared to face a global pandemic of this size.
At the same time, others are gladly accepting their share of the proverbial pie.
Pandemic or Not: E-Commerce & Digital Marketing Are the Future
No one could have fathomed a bottleneck in Amazon as a result of COVID-19.
But even though delivery time quickly slipped from 2 days to up to a month for prime customers, consumers didn’t abandon Amazon.
Because through their unprecedented growth in the US digital retail market, we’ve all learned to trust and rely on Amazon. It’s become a staple in our consumption habits. Consumers are willing to take the hit because of their brand loyalty, and frankly, their lack of options.
But it’s not just e-commerce that needs digital marketing during COVID-19. Take food, for example.
Where Food Meets Digital Marketing 🍔
While many restaurants and food establishments have laid off employees or shut-down operations entirely, larger chains with well-established digital channels have stayed afloat.
Just look at Chick-Fil-A, Starbucks, and Dunkin Donuts, for example. With creative solutions to delivery and in-app offers, they continue to penetrate their customers’ screens at home. Talk about filling their cravings for food, convenience, and loyalty all in one bite.
But large franchises aren’t the only ones killing the digital game.
Smaller Businesses With Clever Digital are Getting Ahead
Many local mom & pop shops have put a wrecking ball into brick & mortar establishments by building up their own online presence. Check out some seriously genius content marketing strategies to get inspired.
Through implementing different funnels like:
- Amazon distribution
- Social media
- Email campaigns
- Creative digital promotions
- & Delivery service apps
…they have revolutionized their brands during this economic pitfall.
The good news? These businesses didn’t have to completely cut advertising – they just had to re-adjust their strategies.
Time to Tighten Up Your Digital Marketing
Digital marketing during COVID-19 is not just a safety net, it is the way of the future.
Is your company planning on tightening up its digital marketing funnel (or creating one for the first time)?
Learn how to pick the right digital marketing agency so you can start building timely digital marketing funnels tailored to YOUR business. No matter how you do it, allow digital marketing to pull you out of COVID-19 thriving and prepared to take on any global crisis.