I have actually thought about putting this article together a few times in the last six to nine months. Yet on each occasion I have been thwarted by the rapidly-changing situation with Covid.
But with a mass vaccination programme now in full swing and key milestones being reached and targeted, and Boris Johnson’s forthcoming “roadmap” to loosening restrictions due to be unveiled shortly, there is perhaps some light at the end of the tunnel. As many people seem to be quoting to me, "‘the recovery’ can finally get underway", and it seems an apt time and opportunity to look ahead to how marketing will be affected in a post-Covid world.
With caution being the popular keyword at the moment to gradually bring the various elements of life as we know it (or knew it) back again, the signs are ‘the recovery’ won’t be a rush job. There will be no quick fix, waving of magical wands to bring everything back to how it was pre-pandemic. That's a given.
I hark back to one of the many webinar invites I have accepted in the last half year, in particular the viewpoint from Visit Britain where travel and tourism is concerned. The suggestion there was that it could take a number of years, as much as five years, for domestic and international travel to fully recover from the pandemic. That is perhaps a common viewpoint shared across many industry sectors.
In the weeks and months ahead, the impact of just how much Covid has disrupted our world and changed everyone’s behaviours will begin to become apparent. Yet it may be a good while longer before we begin to appreciate and develop a full picture of how the pandemic has impacted consumer behaviour, and what that means for businesses and companies' efforts to advertise and promote themselves and their services.
Marketing in a post-Covid recovery
So as we gradually look to get things back on track – and it is likely to be a slow and drawn out process over a number of years – how will marketing change?
The traditional methods of advertising as we know it will suffer. In times of economic downturn, advertising and promotion are always one of the first casualties. Those two familiar words of ‘budgets constraints’ normally come into play and are reeled off. Now on top of less money being at people’s disposal, there is the added and unexpected issue of a germ-aware society. Social distancing and masks in shops has been one thing (and sure to be with us for a while yet). Coupled with it the general reluctance to pick up marketing materials in the public domain from the likes of shops, showrooms etc. With a combination of lesser demand, public scepticism and reluctance from public health concerns and increased production and distribution costs, physical media of hard copy materials and direct mailers we receive could be reduced, in some cases become a thing of the past.
Radio and TV advertising in particular is also likely to see a downturn. The enforced lockdown and quarantines of the last 11 months has led more people to start finding and consuming content via their electronic devices across streaming services, YouTube, and short-form social media content.
If you thought marketing budgets were tight pre-Covid, they will become tighter than ever. Many companies and business will be looking to cut back on expenditure across the board and are not going to want to part with their hard-earned money. Those that do spend will want their monies to work harder and yield even better returns on their investment.
It is with these initial pointers in mind that, in my opinion, content marketing will prove its worth and be one of the players in a post-COVID world.
Content Marketing for good reasons
And here are a few reasons why it will thrive.
Look around us and we are deluged with so many voices and opinions, whether it is the news, politicians, advertisers, Tracey on Facebook. But who can you trust? And who would you want to listen to? The most successful businesses and organisations will be those that develop clear and honest connection with their audience and an ongoing reputation for doing so. Content marketing creates that connection.
Following a pattern which has developed in the last decade, to counter being wary and suspect of being “advertised to”, ever-cautious people will be more receptive to stories.
Why? Stories help us to empathise and at times make some sort of sense of an increasingly chaotic world. Content marketing is one of the best ways for businesses and organisations to tell their stories. Who they are, what they do, who they serve, what they value and how they can help you.
Content marketing meets people where they are. There will come a time where people will have the confidence and feel safe and want to go out and visit people and places once again. But it may be still some time yet before the proverbial green light is given to head to the pub or restaurant, to go to the cinema, theatre and concerts.
So how will people continue to occupy their time? Just as the last 11 months have shown by ‘staying at home’, one answer is by viewing content that is of interest to them which can be enjoyed anywhere. Whether it is via a phone, tablet, or other device, everything from exercise classes, school lessons, tips to improve your golf swing, cooking recipes, to watching films, online theatre and music performances you have seen in the last year for example. It’s all readily available content. And with it presents businesses and marketers with a media to reach and connect with people from the comfort of their own surroundings.
Engage and inform
As consumers will look for information and updates about their favourite restaurant or place to visit or local service, they will be curious to discover new places to eat, drink, and visit. And find out about new businesses that have emerged from the pandemic. The great thing about content marketing where this is concerned is that it provides a way to engage consumers, to grab their attention, to inform them and ultimately to gain their trust.
Can I help with content marketing for your business or organisation?
With over 15 years’ experience of producing structured copy for a wide range of print and digital sales and marketing resources, why not get in touch for a chat to see how I can help.
Call me for a no obligation consultation on 01788 542441 or 07775 883102, or email me at email@example.com and I will be happy to discuss your plans and potential requirements.