Things are starting to look up a bit. The last six months have been among the most difficult times most people around the world have ever faced. The good news is that the number of new Covid-19 cases has dropped dramatically and businesses in most categories are starting to bounce back. The stock market, which was down -32% from its February high has roared back quite dramatically, and the SBA’s PPP (Payroll Protection) program has been a life saver for many small-medium sized businesses, In addition, there are literally dozens of treatments and vaccines in the pipeline being developed and tested.

But what does this all mean going forward for the world of business and marketing? So as we head into the last few months of 2020, let’s have a look into the ‘crystal ball’ to see what new trends all of this has created. I’m pleased to provide seven Covid-19 oriented marketing trends and predictions I believe all businesspeople need to keep in mind, and to integrate into their late 2020 and 2021 thinking and planning.

7 New Trends That Covid-19 Has Unleased! 

  1. Digital Is Experiencing Historic Acceleration – Since the pandemic began, there has been major transformation in the ways we interact with our families, get our work done, talk to our doctors, travel, spend leisure time, and conduct virtually all of our “way of life” tasks. According to McKinsey, these changes have accelerated the migration to digital technologies at a stunning scale and speed, across every sector. As one CEO remarked…“We are witnessing what will certainly be remembered as a historic deployment of remote work and digital access to services across literally every domain.” Through the Covid-19 recovery, and well beyond, digital will play a defining role…or even the defining role.

    Hence, it becomes critical to quickly accelerate your digital efforts. Ask yourself…Do I leverage and monetize my website and your other digital channels as well as I could? We’re now in a new world. As customers continue to interact with digital more than ever, companies need to quickly rethink their customer journey and accelerate the development of digital solutions….whether their website, e-commerce, e-mail, blogging/content, social media, search, lead generation via Linked In, Amazon, video, etc. 
  1. Shopping Is Witnessing a Major Migration to Digital – According to McKinsey, consumers vaulted five years in the adoption of digital in just eight weeks. Across the world, people are turning to digital and reduced-contact ways of accessing products and services. This digital trend is magnified for Gen Z, millennials, and higher-income consumers in general. Social commerce is on the rise as well: 34 percent of people say they have shopped on Instagram based on an influencer recommendation. 

    And this shift is likely to stick, to a large extent simply because e-commerce is often more efficient, less expensive, and safer for customers than shopping in physical stores. Moreover, as social distancing and protective measures remain the norm, shopping from our couches will seem even more convenient by comparison. For marketers, this means rethinking how to connect with consumers. Clearly a stronger emphasis on e-commerce and digital channels is crucial, including consideration of the role of direct-to-consumer (D2C) e-commerce channels.
  1. Amazon continues to dominate e-commerce and “change the game” in so many ways and in so many categories – Since Covid-19 started, virtually every day, there are Amazon delivered packages on our home’s door step. Why? Because nothing is simpler than ordering from Amazon’s Prime. In fact, E-Marketer reported that with an incredible 49.1% market share of online shopping, Amazon is bigger in e-commerce than eBay, Apple, Walmart, Home Depot, Best Buy and Macy’s combined! (And those retailers are all ranked in the Top 10 online!) And with Amazon’s stock price up over 80% this year, the proof is in the pudding. 
  1. “The Home” Has Become The New Command Center – The pandemic has made the home a multifunctional hub, a place where people live, work, learn, shop and play. This will be especially true as a growing number of companies and employees attempt to sustain some of the advantages of working remotely that they have now experienced. Interesting, that other than groceries and household supplies, at home entertainment is the only other category where spending has remained resilient during the crisis (McKinsey Pulse study).  

    For marketers, the implication may be that they need to redesign shopper journeys for consumers who may be in a different state of mind. At home, shoppers are comfortable…they want to see loungewear options in their recommended products, they want to spend time browsing through add-ons. They’re in no rush; they can “add to cart,” then go back for more. They may be shopping at different hours during breaks from their remote-work schedule. They may be shopping for their whole family across multiple product categories. Keep this mind…
  1. Linked In is Seeing New Life As a Very Powerful Networking Tool – How can one “network” for new business if you can’t go out for coffee or dinner with a prospective customer? Linked In has quickly become a potent sales lead generation, marketing, and networking tool. Almost all of us have a profile on Linked In and we use it to link up and socialize with business colleagues and associates. But Linked In has added major new lead generation and selling power to its platforms. 

    For example (and especially if you’re in B2B), you can now very effectively micro target potential leads by geography, job title, seniority, closeness to your inner circle and much more. In addition, it’s becoming popular for people to post videos to their Linked In feed as a way to spice up their participation and social optimization. I’m working with numerous clients on this right now and it is an amazingly new and effective lead generation medium.  If you’re looking to drive powerful new sales lead generation avenues for your business, you should certainly look into these features for your sales team going forward.
  1. Zoom Rules! – Before the pandemic, I used to have 3 meetings per quarter via Zoom Today, I’m have 3 meetings per day! It almost feels like you’re actually sitting in front of the other person. Zoom will likely affect how and where we conduct business going forward. Who needs to fly out to Los Angeles for a meeting when one can accomplish the same thing via Zoom? The travel industry will likely suffer for some time as business travel will decline even after the pandemic recedes. And Zoom’s stock price? Up over 300% year to date!
  1. “Purpose” is Important – Especially in a time where people are scared, and many are facing financial hardships, brands should think about what they can do from a charity and social responsibility perspective. For example, Starbucks now provides front line healthcare workers with free coffee. Adding a “purpose” component message to your advertising and social media can leave a positive and even lasting impression on your customers and clients. And this is especially powerful when targeting millennials who typically hold brands to a much higher standard.

    In summary, companies who are proactive and ready to leverage these trends and opportunities will recover faster and potentially be much stronger in the long term.  If you need help thinking through and developing a game plan to capitalize on this, feel free to reach out so we can talk. 

    Wherever you are, wishing you all the best….Be well and stay safe!