We live in uncertain times. Many businesses, large and small, are having difficulty coping with the changing environment and consumer patterns. Many of the businesses that are currently allowed to remain open are still seeing a significant decrease in their profits. How businesses market to potential customers has, and will likely be, forever changed.
The Changing Marketing Landscape
If you have turned on a screen lately, you likely have noticed that the majority of advertising to consumers has changed. Many of the larger companies are focusing their messaging on how they "support front line staff," and discuss how much they have donated. Obviously, these donations are extremely important, and serve a vital purpose. But for smaller companies, they are left wondering how to manage their marketing strategy, and keep their businesses alive. As the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacts profits, many small businesses are considering changes.
Marketing and Advertisements in 2020
Many local businesses have relied on minimal paid advertising in the past, and some may have relied solely on word of mouth. With COVID-19, the lack of individuals grouping together to simply chat about recent purchases has significantly decreased. Internationally, people are primarily concerned about their health and their livelihood, so rather than sharing topical updates like their experience surrounding a new skincare product they've fallen in love with, or the amazing time they had dining-out at that new restaurant in town, Canadians are (rightfully) prioritizing checking-in on the well being of their friends and loved ones when they have the infrequent opportunity to get them on the phone. Many businesses that have solely retained and acquired customers on a word of mouth basis are struggling, and may continue to struggle, as most individuals will be hesitant to get too close in the foreseeable future.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Where does that leave small businesses? Well, the one place that individuals are talking, and, in fact are talking more than ever, is online. Social media has taken a bit of a hit recently, due to privacy concerns, but that hasn't stopped people isolated indoors from massively increasing their social media use. With that increase, this presents an opportunity for small businesses to reap the rewards by upgrading and expanding their digital marketing efforts; it's an ideal time for small businesses to begin focusing on generating leads from social networking platforms. Increased social media usage among all population demographics means that the potential audience that brand's can connect with has also risen sharply.
Producing quality digital content that can be shared fluidly throughout multiple platforms is the future of effective advertising for small businesses in a post COVID-19 world. Even once the pandemic is over, the trends are indicating that more consumers will be spending a heightened amount of time on the web, including doing a significant portion of their shopping online. The reality is that small businesses will have to adapt to this changing consumer environment, and rely less on traditional marketing strategies. Even things like print advertisements may transition to the wayside, as many major companies have delayed printing flyers due to concerns of germ contact transfer. Instead, major companies like Canadian Tire, Walmart, and others, have opted to not send a physical copy of a flyer, but rather, only offer a flyer online, as well as attempt to acquire the digital contact information of potential consumers through gated offers and apps.
Small businesses will have to take the lead of the larger companies, in recognizing that the most effective, and currently the safest, method of directly reaching customers is through digital outreach.
As this will be a significant shift for many businesses, we at Park House Solutions are here to help guide you through it. We offer consultations that focus on creating, or strategizing your business' marketing plan for the current and post COVID-19 world, as well as a more in depth management of your digital presence. Local businesses are the heart of our community, and we, just like you, want to ensure that these businesses can all thrive in this changing world.