The global Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on lives and businesses alike. So much so that IHS Markit stated, “The Indian economy is facing a recession in the 2020-21 financial year for the first time since 1979-80, during the second OPEC oil crisis shock.” While no industry and business could remain unfazed, the media and the marketing industry is one of the hardest hit, if not the most hit.
However, as they say, “necessity is the mother of invention”, crisis or uncertainty is the mother of innovation, disruption and strategic makeover. As in a Fight-or-Flight Response, businesses are realigning their operations and rethinking of ways to emerge out of the crisis with the least impact. In the brand marketing and advertising front, with print media facing the brunt of dilapidating revenues, with companies tightening their marketing spends, many are hopping on to the digital bandwagon seeking better ROI or are experimenting with innovative strategies. The medium, the message and everything in between will see evolutionary changes going forward to keep pace with what is now widely being referred to as the ‘New Normal”.
In a predominantly digital-first world, traditional marketing tenets are not being able to make a fitting cut, and brand evangelists are upping their game to reach consumer touchpoints, in bigger, better, and more impactful ways. Today’s consumers are spoilt for choice and with shorter attention spans and breakneck competition, even segmentations are becoming obscure. A consumer today may prefer to buy a cheaper flight to travel but may buy a high-end gadget for their home. Therefore, with the brand-consumer relationship ecosystem undergoing seismic shifts, technology and data will be calling the key shots.
For instance, IoT, AI, and ML has been in trend for quite some time now, and why wouldn’t it be? After all, these technologies facilitate more pin-pointed, real-time analytics and delivery, thereby enhancing customer support and experience. In fact, from devising pricing strategies to strategising better marketing campaigns, these emerging technologies are altering the game plan in new ways. In fact, as per reports, AI-powered chatbots are managing 50% of customer queries today, analysing complex questions and providing personalised responses. Going forward, as interesting use cases emerge, this technology is slated to witness massive traction.
Also, as voice assistants proliferate further, marketers will gain access to a treasure-trove of novel opportunities. The real-time interactive and personalisation tool can catapult voice-ad spends to go through the roof. At present, there are no use cases, because of the nascent nature of the market, however, their target reach and engagement potential will value-add immensely to businesses across segments as advancements continue to happen.
As immersive, interactive, engaging, and personalised experiences beckon our future, marketers will also leverage virtual reality as a veritable tool. Virtual reality-based storytelling promises a brand-consumer connect on a much more emotionally intense level. Many auto and smartphone manufacturers are using this technology as a part of their marketing campaigns to churn out all-encompassing interactive experiences. As per Allied Market Research, the global augmented and virtual reality market is estimated to reach $571.42 billion by 2025.
Similarly, data aggregation and intelligent analytics-based marketing led by consumer insights will crescendo. With the growth of IoT, as more and more devices get connected and interact with each other, brands will be able to come up with more fussed customer-centric communication, by analyzing consumer search history and purchase patterns. Data enables highly exclusive and personalized marketing and brands will increasingly use personal data and location data to sharpen targeted advertising.
Blockchain will also occupy an important strategic position in the marketers’ handbook. At present, blockchain is being used to rectify and address privacy concerns, identify bots, and build customer trust. We can expect to see many innovative use cases of blockchain, going forward.
Thus, in the post-Covid-19 era, as businesses pull up all ropes to revive and return to normalcy, marketing will continue to be more targeted and customised, intelligently listening to customers’ evolving needs, demands, wants and aspirations and address those satisfactorily.