You hear the term "the new normal" these days. Rightfully so, many aspects of our lives have changed for better or worse.

Today we examine what the new normal is for marketing.

It is highly unfortunate of the human lives lost and the economic impact that this pandemic has brought to the world. As I'm not medical professional, this article will only cover how we think marketing and audience engagement with brands have changed.

People can see through the fluff

The first observation I can make is this: if you choose to communicate to the audiences, and it consists of lofty messaging, it will not fare very well.

Why? Because they can see right through it.

Take a look at this mash-up. Commercials from several disparate brands seem to end up having the same set of elements. And it's mostly fluff.

These days, fluff won't cut it anymore. People would ask questions like:

  • Why spend the money on ads when you can send the money to relief efforts or equipment?
  • What exactly are you doing to help us at this time, other than making that ad I just saw?
  • If you truly are celebrating 'heroes', i.e. hospital frontliners, why not assist them directly?

At times like these, action speaks louder.

Facebook is keeping a closer eye on your content

If you post something on Facebook related the Covid-19, the moderators will inspect it. If they decide that it contains harmful misinformation, they will censor it.

I don't blame them for attempting to do this. Misinformation is becoming more dangerous than ever.

Which means you, as a brand, have to be thoroughly careful about your content posted on Facebook. Or even other platforms like Twitter or Pinterest, for that matter.

That is, if you still choose to push communications at this time, which brings us to our next point.

You don't have to say something if you're not relevant

This is a conclusion I came to, having seen ads and content pushed out by various brands.

I'll give you an example: if you're a travel company, don't run a major ad campaign.

Why? Simple. People are obviously not going holidaying at this time.

No amount of marketing can change that. I know it's tempting for you as a brand to push out an ad of some sort in the attempt to retain your 'top-of-mind' status for customers. But practically speaking, the best thing you can do at this time, until the pandemic blows over, is to remind people to stay at home.

There's already enough clutter on the internet as it is. We don't need to hear from irrelevant industries at the time being. Speaking of which...

Consumer spending habits are changing

The biggest fear of digital marketing is pronounced now more than ever. That is, when people are buying less of something and no amount of marketing can change that.

Take a look at this graph from McKinsey & Company.

The people surveyed are buying less of what they don't need right now. The reasons for that are clear.

That means the affected brands will see a loss in sales in the period of weeks (if not months). Yes, it's possible that your products and services are relevant again after the pandemic blows over, but the world will likely head into a recession by that time. That will affect the spending power that consumers will have.

Therefore, your marketing strategy will become a question of product. Is there a way to repackage what you're selling into something valuable in these times? If not, marketing is no longer the main issue for your business.

In a nutshell

The Covid-19 pandemic is certainly making things tough for both consumers and businesses. But the way forward can be paved as long as don't rely on marketing as your only crutch for dwindling sales.

Stay safe.

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