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As the cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to rise and social distancing remains a recommendation, much of world is shut down. Many businesses are at a standstill or close to it, many are left wondering, “Do I need a coronavirus marketing strategy?”

Never in the digital age has a crisis so abruptly changed the way businesses operate. But marketing doesn’t stop, even for a global pandemic.

While some of these changes may be temporary for businesses, many of them are going to influence marketing for years to come.

The businesses that use this time to adapt through the crisis in their marketing, rather than stand still, will be in the best shape to survive a downturn in the economy. Thus, they’ll be able to thrive in the long term.

#1: CORONAVIRUS consumer behavior is shifting MARKETING STRATEGIES

As social distancing remains in place, consumers are shifting from in-person purchases to digital. 89% of consumers say their shopping behavior has been affected by COVID-19. Businesses should shift with them, investing more into SEO, website and online learning management systems, virtual connection with customers, and online marketing channels. If at all possible, sell your product or services through your website via an online store.

Some industries, like restaurants and bars, have been hit much harder regardless of the actions they’ve taken. Others, like home furnishings and fashion, have exceeded their 2019 revenue marks. Businesses should continue to shift to online delivery and click-and-collect services when possible to attract new customers, among other marketing shifts.

reaching customers with content marketing

Up to 40% of many marketing budgets are focused on in-person trade shows every year. Compare that to 8% on average spend on online marketing. The near future of large in-person gatherings is in question, with conferences into May already getting postponed. With those marketing budgets slashed, now is the time to shift those dollars into content for your digital footprint. This should include online lead generation, social media, and content marketing to sustain business growth and interest new customers.

Especially now, consumers want to connect to the brands they trust and see how they’re reacting to a global pandemic. Consumers want to see that brands are there for them and how they are embracing community. This is a huge opportunity for brands to increase loyalty, especially those that are already positioned for online success.

B2B investing more in digital marketing

Trade shows are especially important for business-to-business marketers. With no face-to-face interactions, marketing teams should take time to move their online marketing strategies forward and redefine their online marketing messages.

content planning and editorial strategy is essential

Whether that’s a website refresh, new lead magnets, improving website SEO, or general content marketing — there are countless ways to start the shift and invest more in your content plan. This is a time when B2B marketers must find new paths keep their sales pipeline flowing. Fresh content is a primary source to generate traffic for your business.

You content plan should be simple but effective in reaching the audiences that are important. In turn, this shift will pay long-term dividends even when things do return to a level of normalcy.

#2: working from home will become more common

In a digital age, working remotely was starting to become the new normal. But it’s becoming a necessity as the novel coronavirus spreads.

As of 2018, more than 70 percent of the global workforce reported working remotely at least once a week. Since 2005, the share of the American labor force that works from home has tripled. The majority of employees said remote work improves self-care, stress, personal health, physical activity, and romantic relationships.

The following months will very likely shape the future of remote work in marketing positions that have the ability to shift to digital.

what does remote work look like for a marketing agency?

The digital marketing sector is in an ideal position to benefit from working remotely. Regardless of the indsutry you’re in, digital marketers can continue to align your marketing and brand efforts from anywhere with an internet connection.

Forward-thinking marketing agencies have been prepared for remote work for some time now. Marketing teams communicate digitally internally and with clients, giving regular constant updates on the marketing processes and materials. With tools like HubSpot, filestage, and Google Drive, communication and content can be executed seamlessly.

productivity during remote work

Oftentime with remote work, companies are aiming to increase employee productivity and engagement by emphasizing a work-life balance. According to a Gallup poll, those efforts have been effective, and energyhill has seen success as well.

This is a time to refine these remote work strategies and build on the technology that could make marketing remotely between agencies and clients easier in the long term.

#3: soft skills WILL become more essential

As technology continues to develop, bots and automation can complete mundane tasks (chatting with a customer, for example). However, bots can’t interact and connect the same as humans to create emotional responses, from content creation to business pitches.

While every job requires varying levels of developed hard skills, soft skills are the intangibles that employers often seek out when hiring. 91% of talent professionals agree that soft skills are important to the future of job recruiting. To present value to a company, individuals must portray these soft skills that make them indispensable for their business’s success despite some shifting to automation.

“While hard skills may get a candidate’s foot in the door, it’s the soft skills that ultimately open it,” said Lydia Liu, head of HR at Home Credit Consumer Finance Co. Ltd.

creativity

Research shows that creativity is the most crucial soft skill marketers are looking for in new employees. Creativity is a skill that no machine can replicate. This is especially true in marketing, where creativity is important not only in campaigns but in managing business relationships.

Our marketing team regularly meets for design charrettes to get creative juices flowing and create a dialogue around our marketing strategies for individual clients.

communication and teamwork

Arguably the most difficult part of remote work is not team-working in-person to craft solutions. Face-to-face conversations can spark creativity and innovation in marketing messages.

However, working from home doesn’t change the importance of constant, clear communication that keeps teams on the same page. Putting emphasis on communication between your marketing team and clients is more important than ever to carryout successful sales and marketing strategies.

adaptability

With technology shifting and improving, fearless team members are important to adapting to the changes and keeping clients on the cutting edge. For many, adaptability is an attitude. It’s certainly an important one to have as many marketers shift to remote work and rely on new tech.

Employees who are adaptable show potential to become leaders and embrace the challenges they must overcome. These employees can ask the tough questions, make mistakes, and then learn from them and their peers.

Remaining a work-life balance and prioritizing your health as you work from home is just one form of adapting.

the coronavirus impact

Ultimately, we can’t yet see the full scope of the lasting impact the novel coronavirus will have on marketing. However, it’s clear that trends in this age of coronavirus are beginning to take shape and marketers and sales teams will have to make adjustments.

energyhill has helped position our clients to embrace the marketing shifts in these unheralded times. to learn more about what energyhill can do to drive renue for your business, contact us to discuss your business goals, or check out our services page.