The COVID-19 pandemic has been dominating headlines and disrupting industries around the world for the past three months. The fields of digital marketing and communications have been turned upside down, as a result of decreased client marketing budgets, paused campaigns, and increased competition for customer and media attention.
How long will this disruption last? Some experts say indefinitely. The far reaching impacts of this pandemic could change the course of digital marketing and communications for years to come.
Experts predict the following trends to take center stage for digital marketers and communicators over the next few months.
- Increasing demand for interactive content.
Marketers around the world have a captive audience of people stuck at home, and glued to the news and social media. But, this same audience is also being inundated with content and news around every corner.
In order to compete for customer attention, and stand out among the crowd, marketers and communicators need to find new ways to engage audiences, and interactive content may be the answer. Studies indicate that interactive content can lead to higher engagement rates, increased brand loyalty, and higher conversion rates.
Arin Darcan, Director of Hawk Reach, a Facebook advertising agency explains, “It’s time to start creating content that your audience can engage with while they are stuck at home.”
Interactive content includes content such as: videos, infographics, surveys, free tools, interactive emails, and e-books.
- Thought leadership will become more important than ever.
Although it’s hardly a new marketing discipline, thought leadership has taken center stage for many brands over the past three months. Audiences around the world are hungry for leaders to step up and lead them through the crisis, and brands who are willing to do that can gain massive market share and mindshare within their audience.
Blair Nicole, CEO of Media Moguls PR, a PR and Media Relations firm says, “If you can establish yourself as an expert in your industry, potential clients and customers will inherently trust you more – and equally beneficial, bloggers and reporters will also respond to you more warmly if you’re seen as an industry leader.”
By positioning yourself or your clients as industry thought leaders, the brand will stay relevant and top of mind for customers, stakeholders, and potential partners.
- Communicating and marketing with empathy will become the norm.
The worst thing a communicator or marketer can do right now is pretend that things are business as usual. People around the world are experiencing grief, loss, and economic uncertainty, on a scale we’ve never seen before.
Consumers around the world are already responding with massive backlash against the influencers who are carrying on with their campaigns as if nothing has changed. In a post-pandemic world, marketing from a pedestal is no longer going to be the norm.
It doesn’t matter if the marketing discipline is email marketing, internal communications, or social media advertising, marketers and communicators will be expected to lead with empathy, kindness and respect.
“What’s needed from leaders right now, and in the many months to come, is understanding, empathy and respect. We can’t predict the future after COVID-19 with any certainty, but right now, we can choose to be the kind of leaders that we would want for ourselves and our families,” explains Gregg Ward, Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Respectful Leadership.
Not only does marketing and communicating with respect and empathy set the stage for a positive work culture, but it also allows brands to lead with purpose and attract a following of customers with similar values.