ECONOMYNEXT – Agility, adaptability and customer centric decisions will be the key to success in post-pandemic marketing as brands shift from a health emergency environment to aggressive and creative practices, industry representatives said.
Customers are expected to shift from an environment where safety and guaranteed delivery are prioritied over price points to placing more emphasis on values and sustainability.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic has resulted in changes to advertising, marketing, promotional and media spending.
This has forced businesses and brands to re-evaluate their thinking about current and future advertising and marketing campaigns to maintain a steady stream of income.
While brands currently seek to strike the right tone during the global health emergency, the future portends market alteration, increased competition and a demand for creative and aggressive marketing practices.
“We now live in a world in w hich consumer state is changing rapidly,” Shalin Balasuriya, co-founder of Spa Ceylon told a forum on ‘Marketing in Post pandemic world’ organised by EconomyNext and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.
“Brands need to be on alert on how to do their brands with things changing. The big approach here is a deep understanding of what you have in terms of resources and a deep understanding of what your consumers’ state is.”
Balasuriya’s spas say they offer extensive menus consisting of more than 25 signature treatments inspired by Sri Lanka’s rich Ayurveda heritage and centuries-old Sri Lankan royal health and wellbeing rituals practiced in the grand palaces of ancient Ceylon.
He said markets, the narrative to brand a product, and the way companies connected with customers have changed during the pandemic along with changes in consumption patterns, lifestyle, the way people travel, and how they enjoy their leisure.
“But the connection was still maintained,” Balasuriya said. “If you stay connected with the customers and stay relevant, no matter whatever changes. Having an agile mindset is what is going to get there.”
During the pandemic, Spa Ceylon was able to expand with new outlets in five countries and changed to online selling to face the changes, Balasuriya said.
The time since the pandemic started has revealed that consumer perspectives have changed globally, surprising businesses. Security and stability were prioritized over price points, disrupting previously-held notions.
Concerns over safety, guaranteed delivery, and business sustainability ethics have also surfaced.
Another way that post-pandemic marketing will be different is in the need for companies to ‘hyperfocus’ on who exactly is their target audience is and what they want.
Customers now expect an enormous amount from the brands they love and rely on. They have high expectations and know exactly what they want and when they want it.
This need has created an environment where customer loyalty towards brands has been tested.
“I think the number one priority is to optimise the customer experience,” Jayomi Lokuliyana, Co-founder and Chief Executive, zMessenger said.
“When you optimise your customer experience, you can grow faster than your competitors, you can be on top of the customers’ record, and you can predict their behavior before even they start their consumer journey.”
She says companies have to capture customers’ digital footprints with their brand and also outside the company to have an insight about consumers.
“That is going to be a huge challenge in predicting their behavior,” Lokuliyana says.
Companies now have to cater to the needs of customers who are gradually shifting to live within their budget, focusing less on brands and more on product functionality.
Concerns over health amid the pandemic with choosing products they trust to be safe and minimising risks in the way that they shop are among marketing challenges that will have to be considered.
The pandemic has also forced people to think about sustainability; hence buying brands that minimise their impact on the environment and buying from organisations they find to be honest and transparent.
Loyalty, technology, talent pool, and risk taking ability will be other strategies the companies will have carefully consider in post-pandemic marketing, if they want to succeed.
“COVID has taught us quite a bit on how to layer our marketing, in a way that we can talk to multiple people like talking to them individually, but do it at the same time, and continue to test and adjust,” Balasuriya said.
Values could also be one of the keys in the post-pandemic environment for companies to be unique from their competitors.
Nike’s controversial commercial which said “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything” was criticised by many. But the same commercial recognised the US-based company’s value.
Experts suggest that values and stances of companies will also matter in the future marketing.
“I don’t think we have businesses you can go around being sentimental about everything,” Rohan Jayaweera, Co-founder, Antyra Solutions told the forum.
“I think there has to be a point where you have to take a stance.”
Balasuriya says brands should connect their stance on championing a cause to create a value successfully. (Colombo/Sep04/2021)