New Marketing for the New Normal

Viewed in Egon Zehnder

It’s increasingly recognized that much of global business may be altered in permanent ways by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Marketing will likely be no exception.

Executive search firm EgonZehnder interviewed 65 executives from 61 countries around the world, asking the following question: “How will the marketing function look different post Covid-19?”

Five notable changes

The question promoted five notable changes we can expect to see in the marketing function after the pandemic is brought to an end.

#1 More products expected through remote shipping

The first such change, they found, was a growing expectation from consumers that products be available for remote shipping. Marketing will change to reflect this transformation in product delivery, placing more emphasis on reaching customers at home.

It is likely to prove good news for television advertising, which should see a boost in utilization, and less not so good news for event-oriented marketing such as festivals and concerts, which will see reduced utilization in organizational marketing plans.

#2 Growing sense of urgency with innovation

A second change is a growing sense of urgency with innovation. Prior to the pandemic, new product offerings, the development of new markets and new marketing campaigns commonly took a year or more to develop—and company executives seemed content with that pace.

The pandemic shows signs of changing all that, however. In the age of COVID-19, “the marketing function came under pressure to bring the idea-to-implementation timeline down to months or even weeks,” EgonZehnder reports.

#3 Well-being loyalty

A third anticipated change is a greatly increased emphasis on purpose-driven marketing, driven by consumers burgeoning desire to deal with “companies and products they believe have their well-being in mind.”

Companies that build brands known as empathetic in the pandemic era—and back it up with accommodating policies that reflect an understanding of consumers’ challenges stemming from COVID-19, will likely be rewarded with long-term consumer loyalty.

#4 Localization emphasis

A fourth such change is a growing emphasis on localization in marketing, which is proving necessary in many cases given the varying states of pandemic recovery globally. “That means that both what the customer is looking for and the way that customer needs and wants to interact with the company—all online, mostly online or mostly in person—differs from place to place,” this survey finds.

Companies that once saw global customers with similar expectations now find that those expectations have changed based on the magnitude of the pandemic threat they are confronting—and that threat varies geographically.

#5 Timely data

Finally, marketing in the era of the pandemic is likely going to require more timely data utilization. “From our discussions with marketers, many companies are now refreshing analysis daily or even more frequently,” this EgonZehnder report concludes.

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