It’s hard to say what the post-COVID marketing playbook will look like. As time progresses, there will certainly be a snap-back to pre-COVID behaviors. We’ll value what we lost and missed and never take things for granted again but there will be hesitancy, maybe even some trepidation to fully-return to previous behaviors; some new behaviors will stick.
Regardless of what happens, marketers and communicators need to do what they’ve always done and that’s to look for effective ways to connect with their prospects and customers. Understanding first the emerging customer behaviors of their audiences is important, for sure, but I do see some common themes emerging that may prescribe actions:
- Old meets new meets old again: Commercial space isn’t as important as before, and employees have learned that they can be productive remotely. Returning to the office – a full office, that is – will take time. B2B direct mail will take a hit, but there could be a resurgence of B2C direct mail.
- Digital burn-out: We’ve all had enough of e-mail assaults and Zoom meetings. We’re thirsting for real connections, human connections. If we’re going to engage, it has to be personal, emotional, relevant, authentic. This may be the time when we enter a true era of customer respect marketing that’s actualized by full realization of the potential of personal marketing journeys.
- Problems create opportunities: Marketers are constantly looking for new places to place a logo. If Zoom or Teams meetings are here to stay (and I think they are), could there be on-screen product placement opportunities? Sponsorships? Affiliate marketing agreements? This could be the new frontier for account-based marketing.
- And, speaking of product placements: I now have food and supplies shipped to my doorstep like never before. Boxes and more boxes show-up on my porch daily and weekly. Seems to me that Amazon and others could offset costs by selling ad space on box exteriors and charging product providers to place promotional offers or coupons on the inside.
- Connecting the dots…er…machines: IOT is very real. Look at your home set-up. Personal and professional tasks blur while WFH. Marketers need to help people with speed, certainty and efficiency of mobile and digital engagements.