The New Reality... for Marketers: How Marketers Need to Act Differently Today

The New Reality... for Marketers: How Marketers Need to Act Differently Today

Big Ideas

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January 21 2022
Big Ideas
Author: Glenn Cressman

The phrase – ‘the new reality’ – has been injected into conversations across the globe as we all deal with the impacts of a global pandemic. For the most part, we know what it means: travel has changed, proof of vaccination is an issue we all need to prepare for, and we check for a mask as much as we check for our wallet, purse, or keys when we leave the house.  

Some of our responses to the pandemic will be short-lived, but others will be profoundly influential in our day-to-day lives... forever.  

As Marketers, we need to face our new reality too... pivoting based on how consumers want to make purchases and interact with companies.  

Many businesses and Marketers responded to the pandemic with immediate, necessary adjustments that changed the way they promote their business and serve their customers. Marketing on digital channels was no longer an afterthought or a “we’ll push that to next quarter” thing. There was an immediate need to become savvier at every aspect of digital marketing. Many websites had to be rebuilt to enable e-commerce, free delivery, and curbside pickup to become a new service. Many ad campaigns needed to be edited and or re-done – for instance, actors in commercials suddenly needed to be wearing masks and or other PPE products.  

With the necessity to pivot strategies and the need to be found online, all while accommodating the new behaviours of customers, some companies had a quantum leap going from no digital footprint to establishing an entire online presence. Those who were nimble in their pivot and execution saw great results and those who didn’t may not even exist anymore.  

The focus of this post…as we focus on the light at the end of the tunnel…is not about how we all adjusted and responded, it’s about how Marketers everywhere need to act differently, from this point on. 

What is the new reality for Marketers? 

To understand our new reality, we need to first understand consumer behaviour and how it influences the way we do our work. 


Consumers shop differently 

According to this UN News article, online sales in Canada nearly doubled in 2020 (compared to 2019). Some of that online behaviour was out of necessity and may go away, but an entire cohort (another term we’re using more often now) of the population is now more comfortable buying more things online. Many buy groceries online and subscribe to meal preparation services when they didn’t before. Many will watch new movie releases online when they used to exclusively go to the theatre. Through virtually all industries, not only did online sales rise because of the pandemic but a new generation of online shoppers was born. 

So what? Well, as Marketers, our new reality, as a result, is heightened competitiveness in the digital advertising arena. If consumers have moved from offline to online, brands will be next to follow. We must create digital campaigns that are more unique and more influential because our competition will be trying to do the same. The extent to which we can be creative, try new tactics and embrace new platforms, the more likely we are to win that battle for the new online consumer’s attention.  

 

Consumers are influenced differently 

Quite simply, we don’t go out as much. Staycations are more of a thing now, and many of us work from home for some or most of a typical week. That means consumers are less influenced by traditional (outdoor) media. And if we’re in our cars less, we likely listen to the radio less. To summarize, we need to think differently about our marketing mix.  

 

Consumers more often decide what to buy based on whether or not it’s available 

This Econsultancy article found that out-of-stock products surged 172% in the pandemic. Surely everyone reading this has had some sort of negative buying experience because of short supply. Availability used to be a given, now it’s a purchase consideration. Marketers may think that it’s a Production or Operations problem, but we must also recognize our role in this situation. Our product offering is clearly influenced by inventory and what we choose to promote is similarly influenced. Product launch planning will now have to include new discussions and considerations.  

 

What does it all mean? 

Tactically, it means we need to think differently about our digital marketing effectiveness, our marketing mix, and our inventory planning, as referenced. But it also means we need to develop new skills.   

The pandemic showed us that consumer behaviour is fickle. It can pivot. Quickly.  

As Marketers, we must make sure we are: 

Observant 

Whether it’s social listening, reviewing analytics on our digital ads, landing pages, and websites, we need to see what the new trends are. Keeping a pulse on what’s going on in the online world with help you with the other skills below.  

Adaptable 

The online world is a fast-moving machine - take TikTok for example, you could be off the app for a week and will have missed multiple trends. Being able to adapt to this fast-changing digital landscape will help your business stay relevant and be part of the leader pack or early adopters. 

 

Responsive 

With the digital world at our fingertips with no traditional “business hours”, customers have multiple ways to contact companies with any type of inquiry or dissatisfaction. We see people tagging companies in their Stories on Instagram narrating their unhappiness of a product or service, leaving the company a very little window to see the complaint and or to address it. Marketers need to be aware of all the channels and ways that their customers want to interact with them and respond to them in the way the customer wants. Responding to any kind of customer message shows that you care. 

 

Quick 

Not only do you have to be responsive, but you must also respond when the customer is looking for an answer. This might mean adding bots to your website to field common questions with the option to escalate to a real person as needed. Being quick to respond to clients can help a matter from escalating to a more public platform.   

Your ability to be quick applies to your responsiveness, but also to your ability to pivot and implement your new strategy and tactics. If you lack the resources in-house to meet a quick deadline, you’ll want to look at outsourcing.

Flexible 

A willingness to be flexible is needed, as we’ve seen the digital world can be fast-moving, but this also means that tweaks and adjustments can be made quickly and easily. For example, testing out two different ad versions and then serving the one that performs better, even if that ad did not resonate with you as the marketer. In a traditional world, it’s often hard or very expensive to make changes to ads, once it’s printed on a paper or billboard, that’s it.  

 

Enlightened

As Marketers, we need to be enlightened about who our customers are and what makes them tick. Take the time to get to know your customers, call them, survey them... Learn why they chose you over a competitor.   


When we hire marketers, we need to start looking for these skills; similarly, when we engage with marketing agencies, we need to ensure they can demonstrate these attributes.  

It’s how we need to think now. 

 

Glenn Cressman is passionate about all things Marketing and Sales, with decades of experience, he has seen quite a few shifts in marketing during his career. Don't be left behind in a world that has seen a significant shift on how marketing should be done, contact Glenn today. 

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