Marketers have been saying it for years: digital transformation is unavoidable for modern businesses. If there was any doubt, COVID-19 was the final nail in the coffin. The digital transformation process came in full force during 2020 for every industry throughout the world.
Many small businesses—and even some whole industries—were dragging their metaphorical feet every step of the way, but many homebound customers could only be reached through a user-friendly digital presence and cultivated with inbound marketing.
2020 has brought a lot of challenges for businesses of all shapes and sizes, across all industries. This blog will talk about how businesses had to pivot in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic and the tech and strategies that helped them prevail in the worst of times. Marketing and business were changed indefinitely in 2020, and—in many ways—for the better. So, what have we learned as a collective?
The Importance of Online Accuracy
Companies that don’t keep their information updated online are being caught with their proverbial pants down. Some major box stores have even struggled to keep their inventory updated, creating incredibly frustrating experiences for customers who are doing their shopping online. Some companies canceled orders well after they were placed because of inventory issues. Other brands and restaurants failed to keep their websites updated with COVID announcements, menu alterations, and changed hours of operation.
Of course, these failures could happen to any company in the most normal of circumstances, but with the heightened strain of COVID-19, failing to keep up with online information is likely to have larger ramifications. With everyone forced to stay home as much as possible, they relied heavily on the accuracy of the information they could grab from Google, social media, and company websites.
Many brands found out how complicated it was to keep up with information spread across so many platforms. A store could update their hours on their website and still have a social media page or Google business listing that was outdated, resulting in unhappy customers.
If brands haven’t felt the ramifications yet of sloppy online listings, they should be aware that these inaccuracies will destroy trust with customers. According to Bright Local:
- 80% of consumers lose trust when they come across inconsistent company details online
- 68% of consumers said they avoid businesses if they experience an inconsistency
- 93% of consumers say they are frustrated by inaccurate company information
Those were all stats from 2018. It’s pretty safe to assume they would have been at least that high (or higher) in 2020 when people were already stressed by other concerns.
Preparation for Quicker Pivots and Agility
With the incredibly unpredictable nature of COVID-19 and policy changes, brands were forced to figure out agility. Major corporations had to pivot direction on a dime with little-to-no warning. The companies that were sluggish in marketing 2020 and reacting to fluxing demands, lost out.
This has really made companies think about their logistics, corporate policies, and supply chain. Some industries have realized the bottlenecks in their corporate decision-making process. Other industries are realizing their stretched-out supply chains are full of vulnerabilities. The changes made to shore up these problems are going to make businesses stronger and better prepared to adapt to any circumstances moving forward.
Battling Unprecedented Marketing Fatigue
The pandemic lines got old fast. Inbound marketers had to find a new way to talk about the pandemic challenges that didn't start with "in these unprecedented times." They had to be careful not to capitalize on misfortunes (or risk looking like the bad guy). And they had to stand out in a sea of competition with the sudden digital migration.
The idea of “we’re all in this together” didn’t grow old, though.
Marketers have found that there is power when people feel pulled together. Moving forward, people will likely continue to make certain sacrifices for the greater good. Companies should use this desire for unity to help inform their marketing strategy direction. If a company can help solve problems (and not cause them), people are going to be more persuaded to support with their dollars.
Personalization to Offer Value and Stand Out
When everyone is online, competition becomes complex. Most companies are battling to reach a larger-than-local audience, so the internet highway is littered with options. To stand out, brands have to shift towards personalized marketing that tracks where customers are at in their buyer journey and offers content for that point.
This change has meant that consumers are no longer faced with one-size-fits-all advertising. Instead, they benefit from the value of brands offering personalized services, relevant content, and a much higher level of convenience.
No one knows what 2021 will bring. But, marketers feel sure the new digital ecommerce wave isn’t going anywhere. Brands need to shore up their processes with marketing agencies skilled at managing complex digital marketing strategies and creative inbound content.
If you are looking for an inbound marketing team, connect with us and see where we can help improve your digital footprint.