Wow – those Zoom meetings sure let us slack off on office dressing.
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Wearing pyjamas and sweatpants while working from home offered a small, superficial respite during an otherwise challenging 18 months.
But let’s face it: the global pandemic has seriously – and probably permanently – made us rethink the way we work, what we prioritize, and how we spend our money.
All of which has wide-ranging implications for the future of marketing and advertising – and for the future of the enterprises they support.
Let's Get Digital
If you weren’t there already, you probably are now.
Online, that is.
Covid-19 has played a major role in personal and corporate digitization over the past several months.
Consumers have dramatically changed their buying behaviour. And they’ve made pivoting “a thing”.
Pivoting is what purveyors of products and services have had to do to meet consumers where they are.
Which is online.
Marketers are digging into the burgeoning industry of cloud apps to acquire tools that will ensure their online enterprise continues to grow.
The move to online service has been seen in everything from banking to medical services to fitness classes. It encompasses leisure and entertainment activities like virtual gallery visits, TV and movie streaming, and online gaming.
And of course ... shopping.
Shop Til You...
The general consensus is this: the glory days of bricks and mortar buying are gone. The pandemic only accelerated an already growing trend: eCommerce has become a critical feature in the global retail picture.
Pre-Covid, many shoppers enjoyed – even preferred - the in-store experience
But the convenience of 24/7 accessibility has made online shopping an irresistible alternative.
In 2020, over 2 billion people bought goods or services online, rocketinig e-retail sales to a record high of $4.2 million U.S. globally.
Nearly 90% of shoppers begin and end their buying journey online.
That has made certain tech giants very happy.
A mere handful - Google, Facebook, Amazon, Alibaba, and Bytedance - accounted for over 45% of the world’s advertising revenue in 2020 – coming in at a cool $296 billion.
Amazon’s advertising CPC is up by more than 50% over last year. It’s become the place for consumers to buy and retailers to sell globally.
More brands are investing in Amazon advertising as a way of competing for ad space – causing typical transaction fees to rise from 15% to over 20%.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s interplanetary travel plans? A done deal.
The Money Trail
In the face of massive storefront closures, marketers are doubling down on competing for consumer attention and dollars – and they’re doing it through online media.
The amount spent globally on advertising in 2021 rose by nearly 24% year-on-year, marking a new record.
But – it’s important to note that ad spend on offline media such as print, TV and radio fell by 20% - a record low.
On the other hand, overall online ad spend grew by nearly 10% - reaching nearly 28% in the ecommerce sector, and over 18% on social media.
While spending across other ad sectors was slashed, the upset win came in mobile ad spend - rising to over 75% of total ad spend in the Americas.
That investment makes sense, because most online shoppers are now making their entire shopping journey on their smartphones.
Do the math: 24/7 phone accessibility + targeted messaging = surefire sales.
The past year also saw a marked shift to video ads.
Putting a video on a landing page can increase conversions by a whopping 80%, and advertisers have been quick to adapt. Nearly 80% of businesses are now making use of videos as a key component of their marketing strategy.
Videos are engaging, they reach a wide audience – and, when created with the video software tools now available – they’re superbly cost-effective.
Marketers are making use of digital channels to deliver captivating messaging to a connected global audience 24 /7.
Something they couldn’t have done standing behind a counter.
It’s All In The App
Who and what is conveying this precious marketing cargo?
The big player is social media.
At least one in four online purchases is made through an interaction with a social media platform.
Successful marketers spot and respond to social trends. They stay agile by shifting their focus and budgets to align with current consumer tastes and behaviors.
Heard of TikTok? The former upstart became the most downloaded app of 2021.
Under lockdown constraints, millions of consumers flocked to this app as a source of entertainment and escapism. Its monthly active user count now surpasses Netflix – underscoring the power of the short video format on social media.
And influencer marketers are riding the wave. About 45% of brands currently use TikTok for their Influencer marketing campaigns.
Other digital channels are also enjoying the ride.
Almost 60% of American B2B marketers are now using Instagram – that’s double the percentage of the previous year.
LinkedIn remains the most-used (over 85%) social platform for marketing communications. Close behind is Facebook (at 80%), followed by Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest.
During a time of disruption and distancing, social platforms are proving to be powerful, round-the-clock tools that bridge the gap. Marketers who aim to thrive are getting on board.
Who’s Minding The Store?
The marketplace has gone virtual.
So has the workplace. For many, working remotely or on contract is the new normal.
But where does that leave workplace teams? In-house digital talent is hard to find and keep at the best of times – much less during a pandemic.
Yet businesses need to continue to create engaging content, provide customer support, and facilitate transactions in order to thrive.
Some are getting creative with tools like chatbots and chat-based support to maintain the consumer connection.
Others are finding new efficiencies by outsourcing everything from content creation to project management.
If there’s a single “benefit” that the pandemic has bestowed, it’s a willingness to rethink the familiar, and try something new.
For businesses, it means experimenting with and expanding on their marketing capabilities. They’re finding their stride as both marketers and employers with innovative technologies.
And they’re not judging the person in pyjamas – because that person might just be their next star player.