They say that “necessity is the mother of invention” and it is more apparent now than ever. Lockdowns are having a devastating ripple effect across the globe. Many businesses have either shut down or slowed down their physical operations. It’s no secret that some businesses have gone into hibernation mode as they are unable to operate when the world is endangered. With more people staying at home and getting almost everything online, firms are putting their money in digital marketing. Many businesses have digitized and transformed their marketing strategies to remain engaged with their customers. Companies are turning to apps like Zoom for conferences and Slack for communication. Likewise, as people opt to or are forced to stay home, they turn to delivery services like Swiggy, BigBasket, UberEATS to get food and supplies without having to risk exposing themselves. Naturally, as those bound homes are seeking to find entertainment to pass the long hours. Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube are seeing an increase in use. Movie theatres on the other hand are experiencing reduced occupancy. Quarantine is leading to a tremendous increase in site traffic and internet usages, the digital marketing landscape has changed dramatically. 46% of consumers are using social media more than a week before March 27th. Organic searches have gone up by 33%. In a survey, it has been reported that around 30% of the respondents are now making e-commerce purchases for the very first time. But if we take a step back and look at it from the marketing perspective, we realize that the situation has accelerated trends which we have seen all these times. Trends like health and wellness, convenience, e-commerce, digital and social media. These trends have existed for the past few years.
The areas that are majorly affected are consumer needs & occasions, shopping behavior, and media habits. To mitigate this impact, the owners are quickly adapting their business. Marketing activities and consumer engagement activities are not knocked off during this pandemic. Instead, businesses are focusing on adapting the marketing strategies to address the changes in consumer behavior, review the efficiency of current media mix, reallocate the resources accordingly, and tweaking their creative content as necessary to connect and to empathize. Recent TV commercial by BMW displays the emotions of the current situation which is relevant and resonates with the consumers. The other creative executions that empathize and showcase positive values or championing togetherness is Coca-Cola. They shot a two-minute clip on social media that was addressed to the human race looking at the current negative reality but through a very positive lens. The video went viral and it connected with people deeply. Apart from online marketing, the fitness companies are offering to bring the gym workouts home during this lockdown. Professional fitness instructors are rolling out daily live streams of yoga and fitness sessions at home. Restaurants and hotels are moving their focus away from dine-ins to home deliveries. Whereas, supermarkets need to improve on their online presence and distributions to pick up on this bottleneck with the help of logistic players. Ensuring omnichannel product availability and competitive value chain to gain sufficient share of virtual presence.
Currently there are too many variables at play and it’s too early to project accurately and conclude. Things will only become clearer when more markets open up. Normalization will also take place differently across different cities and countries. The worst thing for businesses to do is this situation is to stop marketing or delay marketing for a prolonged period of time. Analysis says if the business goes completely dark for a long period of time, they might lose up to 13% of their existing business which is a high percentage to recover from. Explicitly or implicitly businesses need to act, optimize, adapt and innovate. It’s time to listen to the consumers. It will be foolish to wait for the new normal because this is the new normal. Businesses do not necessarily need to go down the route of discounting or start a price war, as every brand has its role. They have the opportunity to shape the situation as it develops. Sticking to the old ways and to not act until we get more information is sure death for the businesses. This is the time and opportunity for the brands to leapfrog their competitors because everyone else is cutting down. Businesses have the opportunity to zoom ahead and have their presence in the market to showcase their value and relevance to the consumers.
In every crisis there is an opportunity, it just depends on how sensitive we are to consumer behavior and how creative we can be to touch on those evolving and developing consumer behavior. This is a difficult and challenging blip on the whole runway but we just need to focus on where we need to go and we need to adapt. So, act, optimize, adapt and innovate but don’t sit still. The pandemic is not going to stay forever, we will come out strong, just be resilient and persistent.
At Mitti Ke Rang, we started with a COVID-19 community support fundraising, as an emergency response to provide a safety net to families. This will help them survive in the lockdown period. We aim to directly support these families by providing a minimum wage, through transferring the same into their accounts or partner with local NGO, Organisation, Fellow, or a Volunteer and support them with groceries.
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