As the world emerges from the pandemic, some newly formed digital habits will stay. But a pent-up desire for in-person experiences means some traditional marketing tactics may have more impact than in pre-pandemic days.
How can you effectively integrate the digital and in-person worlds in your marketing plan to capture these new hybrid habits? Here are four things to consider.
- Make virtual more personal. Conferences and trade shows went all-virtual practically overnight. And we won’t be going back to big crowds at trade shows or events right away. Whether you are organizing a virtual event or sponsoring one, it’s worthwhile to put in a little extra effort to ensure you have solid technology and an interesting, useful program or activation. Events like these will be hybrid soon, with many attendees and sponsors choosing the virtual option even when a full in-person experience is available. Getting the information and the networking without the time or expense of travel will be one of the lasting legacies of doing business in a pandemic.
- Consider traditional tactics. During the pandemic, everyone has spent far more time at home, and people’s daily routines offer opportunities to reach them. Getting the right message to the right person might happen at a different time and on a different platform than it did pre-pandemic, and staying current on those trends can payoff. Many people have spent more time on social media than ever before, but many have also spent more time reading books, listening to podcasts and watching TV news. Direct mail, for example, is benefitting from new consumer habits — when you’re at home, the mail’s arrival every day is newly important.
- Prioritize content creation. All marketing plans depend on quality content as a foundation. How you develop that content can take a variety of forms, depending on the audience of customers or prospects you are aiming to reach. Video and podcasts are fast becoming the preference of business leaders and consumers alike for consuming content, because they can be consumed any time — at your desk, on your phone, or even while exercising. Video and audio content also can make the transition to in-person and group settings when the time demands. Consider your blogs and newsletters as source materials for speeches or presentations, too, so that you can smoothly segue your message delivery to in-person, or hybrid, when the time comes.
- Measure and experiment. When habits change and shift as fast as they have during the pandemic, marketing results will, too. You may find that email newsletters suddenly show a big increase in open rate and click-through, or that your social media ads aren’t getting any real traction. Whatever you observe, compare it to overall market trends. You might find that there are changing habits behind the change in your results. And if you are consistently measuring as you try new approaches, your data will be the earliest and most accurate indicator of which tactics are most effective.
While we look ahead to a time when business can be done face to face, the ability to be simultaneously effective in both the digital and virtual space will likely be one of the most valuable and useful skills we take with us into post-pandemic life.
Kelly Borth is CEO and chief strategy officer of GREENCREST