Marketing in the era of COVID-19: Opportunities and Challenges
COVID-19 has forced businesses to adapt , and this has led to an unprecedented adjustment in business’ approach to brand marketing. For two years, brands have had to navigate their strategies based on mass lockdowns and shutdowns. This has created immense challenges to brands in sustaining and growing their brand identity. This article attempts to discuss innovations ; flaws and missed opportunities and path ahead in terms of brand marketing.
With the onset of COVID pandemic, traditional marketing tools like hosting events and billboard advertising have taken a big hit. That said, long term lockdowns have resulted in forcing brands to adapt. The digital push that Nepal’s advertising market has witnessed is testament to this adjustment. However, have the businesses gained any noticeable returns in terms of increase in sales or reaching their target audiences through digitisation?
Brands have continued to advertise through traditional mediums like buying air time on television channels. However, there has been an upsurge in digital advertising(DATA). With the government enforcing crippling lockdowns, businesses had to look for non-traditional avenues for advertising. However, if we read between the lines, it becomes clear that the businesses still do not have the same confidence with new media. For example, …. Spent majority of their marketing budget on traditional advertisement in the past financial year.
Therefore, while on paper, it looks like brands have begun to shift in digital marketing, the reality seems otherwise. One of the main reasons why brands have stuck to traditional marketing seems to be higher return on marketing investment. Moreover, it seems, for now at least, the general population has relatively low confidence on online platforms. Lack of a proper regulatory body and the subsequent haphazard publishing of content with the sole purpose of click-baiting the audience in order to make easy money has led to relatively low confidence from both the general audience as well as brands.
It is not to say that there are no optimistic trends that can be observed. While the online marketing budget against traditional marketing has not really increased, the fact that businesses are willing to invest proportionally from their overall budget means all hope is not lost yet. On the contrary, it shows how in spite of multiple faultline with the online platforms, brands do see the future of marketing shifting significantly from the traditional platforms. So, what remains to be seen is whether online portals self-actualize the goldmine they are sitting in and reform accordingly, or simply keep whining about brand’s continued hesitancy in terms of investing in online marketing.
That said, brands are at fault as well. First and foremost, traditional marketing model that emphasizes in publishing banket ads sweeping the audio, video and print waves are not only cost inefficient, but also a lazy approach in that it is not focused on reaching its target audience smartly, but rather on reaching everyone with the hope that it might finally reach the intended target audience. Not only is producing general ads inefficient, but it is also unable to appeal to its intended audience as such ads have not been crafted with focus. For example, a Zen Z product like a fashion apparel or an online dating app would find more reach through online marketing.