Digital marketing has proven to be more than just a way to increase sales. It’s the lifeblood for businesses struggling to survive during this unimaginable time. Hence, the increase in various digital marketing trends.
A digital presence is essentially a requirement for a successful company in 2020. In fact, the global pandemic has separated companies into the fit and the fragile in the context of this new virtual arena. Fragile companies relied heavily on brick-and-mortar sales, and they typically leveraged site-specific advantages to drive traffic to their stores and offices.
Fit companies, on the other hand, understood the importance of having a virtual presence. Fit companies embraced user-friendly websites, social media ads and other forms of digital marketing. They were well-poised for success even in the face of a widespread lockdown.
While the tragedy of COVID-19 is undeniable, it has provided us with a rare opportunity to see which digital marketing trends are truly crucial for the survival of small and large businesses alike. In this article, we’ll go over four trends in 2020 that you should follow in digital marketing to flourish in the wake of the pandemic.
1 – Going virtual to connect with customers
Staying ahead of the curve is a luxury when many businesses are struggling to stay relevant. Connecting with customers has never been easier as we all live an increasingly online life.
Companies that want to capture the attention (and market share) of their customer demographics must focus on staying up-to-date on these digital marketing trends, including when it comes to managing their teams. Online management tools such as Basecamp and Asana are powerful tools for marketers because they make it easy for employees to reduce email overload, improve productivity through streamlined processes, and maintain transparency. These will all make it easier to connect with customers at the individual level.
The same is true not only for your team members but also for your customers. The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown affected some industries more than others. However, certain hard-hit industries were able to find much-needed digital wiggle room through virtual reality. For example, real estate companies struggled to find alternatives to showings and open houses.
Enter the virtual disruption era of marketing, which is a viable solution for companies that also relies on virtual reality. Homebuyers are increasingly able to request a “virtual tour” that allows users to virtually walk through a home. Marketing your product, service or venue through the use of virtual reality tours can keep consumers interested in your brand and convert interest into sales.
2 – Genuine and interactive content
Democracy and having your voice heard is a major theme for 2020. Customers are no longer content to be simply sold to. They want their opinions to be heard, and to be given platforms for voicing them.
You can supercharge your content when it allows honest reviews, comments and feedback – so long as you actually respond to all three. Social media users are savvy and can tell when a company deletes negative comments. After all, it’s rare that a company receives no complaints at all in a world full of the hard-to-please. How companies respond to these naysayers can often say more about the company than arranging for hundreds of fake positive reviews.
Interacting with customers is key and the best way to accomplish this is to rely on marketing platforms to automate your social media and email marketing campaigns, which will allow you to share content to customers effortlessly and yet also keep them engaged organically. This is because you can create posts and email messages and then schedule them ahead of time, ensuring that you can continuously be reaching out.
Marketing automation services also often incorporate polls and quizzes to allow interaction with your customers and make their input feel valued. A marketing campaign that interacts with consumers has the double benefit of getting more attention and positive reactions and also gaining valuable data on their key customer demographics.
3 – The human touch
The digital world is convenient, and it offers companies a portal to interact with their customers at any given time or place. But what the virtual world lacks is a sense of human connection. This is vital to building trust and converting sales. Companies that excel in digital marketing must always keep the importance of the human touch in the forefront of any campaign.
Large corporations realize the need to become forward-thinking and purpose-driven in order to remain relevant. 2020 consumers are more educated, thoughtful and introspective than consumers in the past. The global pandemic amplifies people’s desire to care for their community, and also enhances their realization that their actions matter on a larger scale. Political activism, social responsibility and “people over profits” are a key theme of the future.
As the world witnessed pollution clearing in response to the decline of economic activity during the pandemic, corporate responsibility has never been more critical. Do your digital marketing efforts highlight the benefits your company provides to the community as a whole? Do you allow employees and small business vendors to have a voice in your ad campaigns? Can your customers feel like their opinions matter? Answers to these questions will be crucial to any successful digital marketing campaign during and after the pandemic.
4 – Reliance on artificial intelligence for security
Gathering and analyzing marketing intelligence and looking for new trends and patterns will continue to be essential for digital marketing efforts. Companies that are able to scale forward to adapt to the increasingly large amounts of data available on consumers will be successful at gaining more market share and outshining their competitors.
But with gathering all of this data comes great responsibility, especially in the face of the rising frequency of cyberattacks that have become worse due to the pandemic. With the reality of our interconnected world increasingly becoming clear, people are becoming warier of protecting their privacy and data.
As cybercriminals also become more sophisticated in their hacking methods, companies will need to become more sophisticated in their defences as well. One way to do so is to rely on artificial intelligence, which has endless applications but is most frequently utilized to analyze and protect data. AI tech that can find meaningful insights when faced with mounds of marketing data will prove to be invaluable tools for marketers.
For example, one of the best defences you have against hackers is to encrypt company and customer data, such as through virtual private networks (VPNs). VPNs that rely on advanced artificial intelligence-based algorithms to encrypt data are far more effective than those that do not.
Conversational AI will also be integral for marketing efforts. From chatbots to AI salespeople and customer service reps, conversational AI can help retain that “human touch” when a human is not readily available. Artificial intelligence, when applied correctly, can engage your audience and provide valuable data and insights. It’s important to keep in mind that AI will never replace your human marketing team, so there is no need to fear these new developments.
The fit companies of the future have a long-term vision for their brand, with a purpose-driven mission statement that aligns with the beliefs of their key customer demographics. What we are witnessing now is a once in a lifetime opportunity to innovate how businesses interact with customers and how they engage in marketing. The global shock of the COVID-19 pandemic has realigned how consumers think and behave, and digital marketing strategies must strive to align with that.
From creating virtual content that puts your product or service into the laps of future clients to crafting compelling, interactive content that makes your customers feel listened to, doing business has changed. Companies that can balance retaining the human touch with the increasingly fast-paced digital world will emerge as winners now and after the pandemic ends.