Lifting stay-at-home orders and reopening the economy forces us to confront how the world, and the job of marketers, has changed. Miruna Dragomir, Head of Marketing at Planable, offers her take on how marketing has changed, and how technology can take content marketing to the next level.
Marketers have learned to be adaptable, collaborative and authentic
This crisis has impacted every aspect of our lives, leaving its mark on the business and marketing world as well. In the past few months, marketers have learned that adaptability, collaboration, and authenticity are the biggest lessons we can take from this crisis.
The pandemic made the business world adapt quickly and without the luxury of planning. Changing or adapting our processes used to take months or years. This crisis has now forced huge corporations to adapt in mere days, as well as build processes that allow people to work efficiently regardless of the circumstances.
That is one of the benefits of the lockdown—marketers proved our ability to adapt at an unprecedented pace. We’re ready to modernize and fully embrace a tech-driven world, we just didn’t have the opportunity to do so until now.
Marketing has the ability to combine creativity, data, and analysis to perfection. However, it lacks proper processes, as it’s not used to focusing on ease, organization, and workflows.
The pandemic highlighted the importance of collaboration. It taught us that we have to maintain the efficiency of working together regardless of context. Over-the-desk conversations were never ideal, and now we’re discovering the need for a more structured approach.
The pandemic has also forced marketers to focus more on the value of the content and less on the quality of its production. Before, brands were accustomed to investing incredible amounts of time and money into digital. I’m not referring to advertising, but rather to the building of the content itself. Complex photo-sessions for perfect Instagram grids, professional studios for Facebook Live, and gathering 10-people-video teams for a one-hour interview are just some of the methods I’ve seen.
With stay-at-home orders in place, content creators have improvised and significantly lowered standards for what can be published. Brands started producing home videos, and Facebook Lives featured screaming children in the background. And interestingly enough, it’s worked. People have tuned in even more, and I believe it’s because brands appear more relatable—and audiences like that.
Companies need to be prepared and flexible to emerge from this pandemic stronger
Companies that managed to throw away their plans and instead build contextual content have fostered brand loyalty. People looked at brands for help and reassurance during the pandemic, and those that responded, won. “We’re here for you” emails disappeared quickly, and content providing advice on what to do became prominent.
For brands that didn’t pivot—it’s not too late. You can make changes now that ensure your team is prepared for the future. But processes need to be clear enough to be followed, flexible enough to be adapted, and strong enough to prevent mistakes.
Content needs to be adaptable, authentic, and help people
The level of effort needed to produce content has decreased. We’ve learned that your content doesn’t need to be perfect—but it does need to be authentic to truly resonate.
There’s also been a more structured approach to content production. Content has a short lifespan during a pandemic. So we’ve seen teams building workflows designed for speed. These include clear ownerships, rapid approvals, transparency throughout all the production stages, and technology to accelerate collaboration.
Working together over-the-desk has changed—it’s simply not sustainable anymore. And, obviously, not WFH-friendly. A key facet of over-the-desk work was spontaneous collaboration. Instead of doing away with this spontaneity, we have to ensure we integrate it into our new ways of working. Overall, content production needs to be more nimble, and aimed primarily at helping people.
Consumers are turning online and supporting local businesses
It’s impossible to fully predict the impact this pandemic will have on consumers, yet I’ve observed that eCommerce and home-improvement have seen a significant boost. If consumers were reluctant to order online before, that’s not the case anymore. The lockdown has forced all consumers to familiarize themselves with ordering online, which built trust in eCommerce. Expect this trend of online sales to continue.
Lockdown meant staying at home, all the time. People were left without their day-to-day services, so they started making their homes better and bringing as much of the outside, in. From fancy coffee machines to gym equipment and home cooking, habits shifted. Sure, once businesses resume operations, many will go back to their old ways. But some discovered new passions. And even brick & mortar businesses can take advantage of this. If you run a coffee shop, start teaching courses. Start selling hard-to-find coffee. There are actions brands can take to adapt.
I believe this period also increased consumer sympathy towards local businesses. The pandemic forced small businesses to ask their consumers for support and to show their vulnerability. I believe consumers are realizing the human side of local businesses, and they’re starting to jump in and support them.
Lastly, I’d point to the fairly obvious fact that services have moved online. From medical advice to therapy, interior design, personal training and so on, these services happened entirely in person. Now, there’s a new-found openness towards receiving such assistance via video calls. If this habit persists, service businesses will be able to expand faster.
Technology can make content marketing more collaborative
I believe tech that makes production accessible will win some new ground. This could be video-making or design software that can be used by anyone—not just production pros. Marketers are embracing this technology and I think they will continue leveraging tech in their strategies.
Content marketing is at the heart of a company. The more departments that get involved, the richer and more diverse the information is. Technology can enable more brains to join the process. From product experts and HR specialists, to legal practitioners and customer support agents, these unique viewpoints can help take content marketing to the next level and ensure the brand is well represented. This is the level of collaboration that technology can offer us and I think that’s the future that has been accelerated by the pandemic.
The marketing world has undergone significant changes during this pandemic, and marketers have proven their ability to adapt in record time. Local businesses have seen support from their communities, and there’s been an increased level of trust in eCommerce as consumers turn online.
In order to continue this momentum, marketers need to rely on authentic content that’s geared towards helping consumers and embracing the collaboration that technology can provide. As marketers, we can emerge from this pandemic stronger if we use these newfound tools at our disposal.