Examples of Truths About Marketing After the Pandemic

1) Pre-Pandemic truth: The first step in marketing is learning about your customer.
Post-Pandemic truth: The first step in marketing is learning about your customer segment.

The Covid-19 pandemic validates the common understanding that brands have to target specific consumer groups by learning what their circumstances are and what they consider is the most relevant. Marketers must tailor their message in very specific and local terms. This requires a thorough understanding of what is going on in that geographic area, starting with a top-level analysis at the national level, then drilling down to the specific state and postal code levels. For businesses like financial institutions, retailers, or restaurants, it might even be necessary to customize the message for each store.

Outside of the geographic level, another thing we learned is that marketing messages must be relevant to each person, addressing the person’s values and unique situations. Targeting a general demographic group, like an age or gender group, no longer works. In order to create such a personal message, the marketer must define consumer segments by the many dimensions that lead them to their purchasing decisions. That includes characteristics of their attitudes and their psychographics. As a side point, I recommend seeing Stopgap Marketing Recruitment Agency.

From the time when the pandemic began, the EY Future Consumer Index conducted five rounds of studies on 14,500 people in 20 countries. These studies revealed five different groups of consumers:

  • 32% put affordability first: These consumers budget and do not overspend. They make purchases based on the functionality of a product rather than the brand.
  • 25% put healthy first: These consumers prioritize the health of themselves and of their families. They don’t take risks with their purchases and only buy products that they trust to be safe
  • 16% put the planet first: These consumers avoid actions that will negatively affect the environment. They buy brands that are environmentally friendly.
  • 15% put society first: These consumers are socially responsible. They buy from companies that they believe are transparent and trustworthy.
  • 12% put experience first: These consumers make the most of their lives and live in the moment. They will try new brands and new products that will enrich their experiences.

When marketers use consumer segmentation and personas, they can come up with more insightful marketing approaches and media strategies. This deeper understanding can be used throughout the layout of the whole journey of the customer.

2) Pre-Pandemic truth: Your competition is your competitor.
Post-Pandemic truth: Your competition is your customer’s last best experience.

Before Covid-19, consumers were already expecting more. Gen Z has never experienced life without technology. Companies that are direct-to-consumer, such as Parachute or Glossier, have maximized their usage of personal consumer data which has conditioned consumers to expect a higher level of personalization.

However, when the pandemic hit, this digital evolution went into hyperdrive. Consumer expectations of an even more personalized digital experience shot through the roof. As explained by Carla Hassan, the chief marketing officer of Citi, consumers want more than just a smooth digital transaction. They know that companies have collected their personal data. So, in return, they expect an experience that is customized to their individual needs and preferences throughout their whole journey.

Here are three strategies that companies should follow in order to meet those high customer expectations:

  • Use brand scores as a top key performance indicator. Rather than using performance data from a point in time and looking back, the brand score should use analytics in real time.
  • Construct a solid foundation with the right technology and data that will support the need across the customer’s journey.
  • Align all goals in the customer’s journey so the customer will not see any disconnect between the objectives of the different work groups like customer service, marketing, and sales.

3) Pre-Pandemic truth: Customers hope you can provide what they want.
Post-Pandemic truth: Customers expect you to give them exactly what they want.

If these standards continue to rise, companies will have to work toward continuously improving the customer experience, both in the context of business-to-consumer and business-to-business. Consumer expectations of a seamless, relevant, and well-connected experience are at an all-time high, and there is no sign of slowing. They don’t want anything to interfere with their getting what they want at the time when they want it.