Businesses of all types have been affected by the pandemic over the last year. Some companies have closed their doors while others have found ways t continue to operate during the lockdowns and the changing buying behaviors of customers. Schools had to embrace distance learning, telehealth became more important for healthcare providers and clinics, and many theatrical releases went straight to streaming platforms. Companies of all types have had to change many aspects of their business.
One of the areas of the company budget that sometimes receives short shrift in the pandemic is the marketing department. Yet, marketing is what helps to retain and obtain customers even in the midst of the pandemic.
The arrival and persistence of the coronavirus have caused companies to innovate and adapt their strategies to meet the changing needs of customers. To reduce costs and better utilize assets for marketing, companies are increasingly turning to the use of improved marketing technology.
The Disruption Helped to Increase Innovation and Adoption
There is no doubt that marketing has been disrupted over the last year. While things may be changing and seem to be improving thanks to the arrival of vaccines, things are not back to normal. The disruption that many companies have faced has led many of these companies to innovate and think outside of the box as a means of surviving during this time.
Those who may have been resistant to adopting better marketing technology are making the change. They are realizing that it can provide them with advantages in a world that is increasingly going digital for marketing and shopping. Companies unwilling to innovate and that insist on trying to do business as normal will find that it doesn’t work well for them. Consider just how much businesses have had to change recently. Often, the changes implemented stem directly from the needs of their customers.
Restaurants, for example, had to change their marketing tactics. They couldn’t offer in-house specials. However, eateries that did not offer delivery in the past were now compelled to provide this service as a means to try to stay in business. Other types of companies that had never provided delivery started to offer this service, too. Some businesses, such as Best Buy, started to offer curbside pickup when they had to close their stores to the public.
Hard times called for companies to make big changes, and many of them did. However, it didn’t mean that they could ignore marketing. It simply meant that the way they marketed had to change, and this led to an increase in digital marketing.
Digital is More Important than Ever
Given the increased need for better digital marketing, it has pushed marketing technology, or MarTech, to the foreground for many businesses. This encompasses the software and other tech tools that are typically used by marketers to plan, execute, and measure their marketing campaigns. It could include analytics tools, digital asset management tools, marketing automation, and CRM tools, for example. Together, these are known as a company’s MarTech stack.
Of course, not all companies will be using all of the various tools available for marketing technology. Businesses must consider their needs and the areas that will be most important for them to properly run their marketing operations. Often, businesses will start with a solution that can provide them with a range of tools, and they may choose to add on to their stack as needed. Choosing only the necessary options helps to reduce costs. After all, they do not want to invest in products that they will not be using.
Marketing Changed Quickly
One of the ways that things have changed for marketing is that out-of-home marketing techniques and tools do not work like they once did. More people today are staying home. In some cases, lockdowns are keeping people at home. Other times, they are staying home to reduce their risk of exposure. They aren’t going to stores and can’t see in-store marketing or benefit from physical coupons. They can’t attend events where marketing would typically be on full display.
This means that companies needed to adapt and utilize more digital marketing methods with their digital assets than they’ve done in the past. While it’s true that companies were already putting quite a bit of attention into digital efforts, the pandemic exacerbated this mover faster and further.
Online marketing is the place to be for companies in the pandemic. The volume of online shopping has increased steadily since the first lockdowns. From the span of March to June last year, there was a 25% increase. When the holidays arrived, in-store shopping was down dramatically from 2019, as was expected. However, there was an increase in online spending to help make up for the difference.
This goes to show that even though people are typically being more careful with their money, they are still buying. Your business needs to know how to reach them in the “new normal”, though. Using the right types of marketing technology can provide a range of benefits.
Quality Technology Saves Time and Money: Essential in the Pandemic
Even though companies are looking for many ways to save money during the pandemic, marketing remains essential. They need to market to reach their customers and to continue to make sales, so the adoption of MarTech is a necessity for many.
One of the ways companies are saving time and money is by using digital asset management systems. These systems make it easier for your employees to find the assets they need for marketing purposes. They keep all of the files properly organized and easily accessible.
They allow the marketing and design team to reuse assets in a host of interesting ways. Rather than buying or making brand new assets, it’s possible to repurpose those that already exist. This can reduce the amount spent on marketing since the new assets will not need to be acquired. Since many companies are working on reduced budgets during this time, any means of saving money is helpful.
Analytics tools are another essential marketing tool that can’t be forgotten in a pandemic. It could be one of the best tools during this time since it can help companies to see the new and changed behaviors of their customers. They can get a better sense of what the customers are buying and the types of marketing materials that are working best for them. The information will guide the marketing teams in the creation of marketing campaigns that better reflect the current needs of the customers.
MarTech helps to reduce instances of human error. Even when there is a highly competent team in place, there is a risk that an error could be made. It can help with lead and data management, as well as tech support processes, content automation, and organization.
Technology has helped to make it easier to align multiple teams. There could be several teams working on the marketing campaign, for example. Some might be core employees from the company, while others could be freelancers or other agencies. MarTech solutions can help to keep all of the members on the same virtual page. They can work together and on the same projects easily no matter where they might be located.
MarTech also helps with the automation of many common tasks, which will speed up the processes. In some cases, certain processes could even be eliminated, which will save more time and money. By reducing the menial and repetitive tasks, it allows the teams to focus on the marketing campaigns and opportunities that have the most impact on the company’s bottom line.
MarTech Makes Working from Home Possible for More Employees
One of the biggest changes that happened during the pandemic was the massive shift from working in an office to working at home. While there has been a movement toward remote workers over the past decade or so, it was slow. The coronavirus changed things almost overnight. Companies started to realize that it was possible to get set up in the cloud and perform many types of work from home. This helped to keep quite a few companies in business and employees working.
Even industries that were holdouts against remote work started to change their attitude. The technology is available and it is of sufficient quality to make working from home possible in many instances. Marketing teams have been faster to adapt than most, and tools like digital asset management platforms were a major factor in this.
The use of these platforms allowed people to continue working on and adapting marketing projects regardless of where they were located. All of the assets and tools they need are available in the cloud.
Beyond Tech: People Are Paying Attention
We are living through the biggest pandemic in more than 100 years, and it’s changing the way that people think, shop and view businesses. While MarTech is important and needed to be implemented, companies should also remember that surviving as a business is about more than just using the right tech. It is also about truly understanding and empathizing with the customers. Understand what their needs are, what their worries are, and find ways that your company can express more empathy through your marketing.
Today, people are paying close attention to how brands are responding to COVID-19. Customers have concerns and they want to know what your business is doing about them. These types of messages should be part of your marketing. Keeping the customers and clients up to date helps companies to better manage their customer relationships.
Combining compassion and responsiveness with MarTech can help to give your business better tools, deeper insight, and more trust among your customers.
Personalized Approaches Will Go a Long Way
The pandemic has made many people feel lonelier than they’ve ever felt. They are spending more time at home, less time with family and friends, and it can take a toll. On top of that, they often feel like just another cog in the machine when they are buying from and engaging with companies and their marketing materials. Everything feels more distant amid the pandemic.
However, with the right MarTech solutions, it is possible to help bridge that gap and make customers feel more appreciated. While it might seem like a simple thing, having personalized marketing messages for the customers can gain more traction than generic messages. Certain solutions can make adding a personal touch easy.
Of course, for personalization to work, you will need to have enough data on your customers. Again, with analytics and other data collection resources, it’s possible to provide a deeper level of personalization. The information will also allow the marketing department to create campaigns that are specific and for segmented groups on the company’s various platforms.
When companies treat their customers and prospects well and understand what they want and need, the marketing will be more effective. Given all of the elements that need to be considered, it is virtually impossible to do without the right MarTech stack.
Scalability of MarTech
One of the benefits of many of the MarTech platforms available today is that they tend to be scalable and sustainable. The tools can work for businesses now and can scale up as the company expands. When the company goes through a period of stagnation or if they have reduced needs, the technology can be scaled back to fit those needs. Depending on the type of tool used, this could reduce costs. For example, companies that find they do not need as much storage space for data could reduce their cloud storage capacity.
Businesses Are Developing Greater Resiliency in the Pandemic
The coronavirus has taken a toll on the world and most were woefully unprepared for what was coming—and continues to come. This is true for individuals, as well as for businesses. Businesses that have managed to survive this long and that have adapted their marketing strategies are poised to do well in the event of other crises that may happen in the future. They have become more flexible and are more open to making the changes needed to survive.
Finding Quality MarTech Solutions
Companies today need to find solutions that will work well for their current and future marketing needs. The pandemic has changed these needs for many companies, so this must be considered when choosing platforms. There are options available that can provide management of marketing assets, provide help with social media, sales enablement, analytics, marketing operations, and more.
Those who are buying these solutions should consult with the CTO in their company, as well as the brand manager to get a better sense of what will be needed. Take the time to locate a solution that will work well for your business, your team, and your customers. Just because there is a pandemic doesn't mean that marketing shuts down. It just needs to adapt and be done differently. Quality MarTech helps with that.