Today we want to jump ahead 5 years from now and pretend the Covid 19 pandemic is just a mere memory.
What is it that has changed since the mandatory lockdowns of 2020?
For starters, very little as we know it will remain unchanged by Covid 19: Politics, socioeconomics, business work, and quite simply life as we know it.
The real question is will things ever go back to the way it was before? Personally, we highly doubt it. Why? Well the simple answer is that every business that needed to adapt and evolve in order to survive did so. Every business that was capable of making the transition online is now online. At the same time, they became cheaper, faster, and higher quality in the process.
This has also resulted in a higher demand for synchronized marketing and sales efforts to attract new business. Regardless if you are B2B or B2C, here are 8 trends in consumer behavior today and how they affect their buying behavior:
1. Affordability first
This one may come as no surprise. The fact that the pandemic strained economies all over the world, led to record high unemployment rates, and reduced cash flow. This, unsurprisingly, pushed consumers to look for alternative solutions that were more cost effective.
Thanks to the global virus, there was a higher demand for essential products than there was supply – think of the toilet paper crisis in the early stages of the pandemic. This resulted in the shift of consumer behavior patterns of brand loyalty to product functionality. In return, it urged consumers to try something new all together. We have all seen this trend spread across a variety of services and products. Simply put, people value a good deal more than ever.
2. Health First
Consumers are more health conscious than ever before– protecting themselves and their loved ones is a high priority. This means people are choosing products that they trust to be safe and minimize the risks in the way that they shop.
You may have already noticed a lot of advertising campaign strategies aligned to this trend. It seems to be one that’ll stick around.
3. Planet first
Sustainability is becoming increasingly more and more important as time goes on. There is only one Earth and as humans, we need to respect the planet and its environment to ensure that we are doing our part to sustain all life on earth. Brands realize that as generations get older, there is an increasing demand for sustainable business operations and that consumers are trying to minimize their impact on the environment by buying products and services from brands that reflect their beliefs.
Again, we are already seeing more and more advertisers targeting this market segment and attempting to build rapport with their target audience.
4. Society first
Thanks to popular media coverage, this one has become more apparent than ever before. Brands and consumers are working together for the greater good, buying from organizations they find to be honest and transparent.
By standing up for what they believe in and by illustrating a sense of ethics and morals, brands are able to help transform the world and improve equality across many socioeconomic factors.
We have all seen many marketing and advertising campaigns targeting social current events.
5. Experience first
This one is two fold. First, consumers enjoy living in the moment to make the most of life, often making them open to new products, brands, and experiences.
Second, from a marketers perspective, they are no longer competing with competitors, rather they are competing against the last best user experience. This relates heavily to any tech company with UI and UX but can also be applied for any business that’s implementing digital marketing in their marketing playbook.
The bottom line is that it’s important to invest in continual improvement on your businesses brand image, user experience, and functionality. It’s what the consumers want.
6. Your brand should stand behind great values
The pandemic truly challenged brand loyalty. The EY Future Consumer Index found that up to 61% of consumers, depending on the category, became willing to consider a white label product, let alone switch name brands. That dynamic coupled with growing consumer awareness and activism precipitated during the social unrest of 2020 should make brands very focused on the values they express.
Brands that care about values more than just turning a profit is what makes them stand out. A personable brand that illustrates ethics, morals, and trust goes a long way. In fact, it aligns directly with the 80/20 principle and boosts brand loyalty.
In today’s age, people want businesses to stand up for the greater good and equality. Brands can do their part by doing what’s right – treat people the way they want to be treated.
7. Relationships are everything
It goes without saying that it is vital to build relationships with customers founded on trust. Advertising, for example, makes a brand promise, and it then falls to the product, service, and customer experience to deliver on that promise.
But Covid-19 has placed a new emphasis on relationships, particularly in B2B sales. Faced with a virtual sales environment, teams with existing relationships have been able to maintain revenue momentum, capitalizing on the strength of their prior bonds. In contrast, prospecting for new customers has required an evolved set of skills focused on selling solutions, not products.
The bottom line is that relationships are everything and the customer is always king. Trust and integrity are fundamental components when driving market momentum. More importantly, trust will be built and rewarded to those who listen to the customers' needs and provide a tailored solution. Marketing is the starting point to gain the consumers' trust.
8. Marketing is at the center of growth for all c suites
Unquestionably, marketing is typically associated with a high expense on the balance sheet and is usually one of the first departments the company looks at to cut the budget in when trying to maximize returns and profits. However, these days, the entire C suite views marketing as the center of growth. It’s no longer the CMO’s job to only be thinking about growth plans but it’s all the executives job.
With the trends listed above, it’s no question that the increasingly blurred lines between sales and marketing has led to deliberate actions to build out effective content that is strategically deployed by the respective sales team resources to maximize ROI.
With the pandemics forced business progressions, digital marketing is not a maybe, it’s a necessity. This means that your business needs to be doing everything it can when marketing campaigns that appear on a computer, phone, tablet, or other device. It can take many forms, including website development, consumer communications, content creation, online video, display ads, and social media posts.
Looking for extra bandwidth and help with your digital marketing campaigns? Oak Street has the expertise in place to help you achieve your strategic objectives. With marketing strategies revolving around brand and performance based marketing, we can help cultivate a plan that’s right for your business and make that plan a reality.
It’s important to focus on what your target audience needs to hear then focus on what’s the right way to communicate the message effectively. Interested in learning more about the right strategy for your business? Schedule a free consultation today.