Picture the scene… it’s October 2019 and businesses around the world are putting the finishing touches to their marketing plans for the much-lauded year ahead. 2020 – the big one, the 20th year of the third millennium, a time for fresh opportunities and a new start off the back of a tumultuous year of Brexit, climate change and trade wars. Projected trends for the next 12 months analysed and dissected, marketing plans worked up, budgets allocated, creative collateral designed and campaigns primed for launch. And then… well … COVID-19.
This unpredictable, highly contagious, respiratory virus had certainly not been jotted down for inclusion amongst the key trends of digital, customer experience and AI forecast by marketeers. Indeed no forecasting had predicted that almost overnight the world would close down, businesses would be forced to shut their physical front doors and consumers confined to their own four walls.
The impact of this was instant – according to Nielsen advertising spend across the UK fell by more than £1 billion, year on year, during the national lockdown period. With traditional media nosediving, and more people online than ever before, effective and agile use of the growing digital space was crucial in order to be both seen and heard amongst the crisis.
Marketing teams worked to pump collateral through to a captive audience, using a smartphone as their window to the world, utilising direct mail, engaging video content and social media platforms.
At a time when consumers were gripped by fear, from a health and economic perspective, and with their buying power restricted businesses began to hone in on their customer experience instead. Those that read the room fared well – no longer working just to push products or services but displaying a desire to check in, connect, empathise and reward. In short create a human connection.
With just two months left of 2020, and no exit plan to the COVID-19 pandemic yet identified, it’s likely that businesses will feel cautious about forecasting, and planning, too far ahead. Yet if anything has been learnt in this unprecedented year of uncertainty it’s that adaptation and agility is key. Because for many businesses adversity can also be a real springboard for opportunity.
Need help navigating the new normal for your business? Want to be heard in a noisy world? Contact MMC today to find out how we can help with content strategy, content creation and promotion and PR communications.