Marketing Hacks

The Evolution of Marketing Since Post COVID: A New Era Unveiled

How Marketing Has Changed Since COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically altered the landscape of marketing. Businesses were forced to pivot rapidly to digital channels as physical stores closed and consumers turned to online shopping. According to McKinsey & Company, there was a dramatic increase in e-commerce, with ten years of growth occurring in just three months in 2020 . This shift necessitated a greater focus on digital marketing strategies, including social media, email marketing, and search engine optimization.

Marketers also had to adapt their messaging to reflect the new reality. The pandemic heightened the importance of empathy and authenticity. Consumers were dealing with unprecedented levels of stress and uncertainty, and they gravitated towards brands that showed understanding and support. This trend has continued post-pandemic, with consumers expecting brands to maintain a genuine and compassionate tone in their communications.

Audience Sentiments During and After COVID-19

During the pandemic, audiences sought comfort, connection, and a sense of normalcy. According to a study by Kantar, consumers wanted brands to offer a sense of continuity and reassurance, emphasizing messages of solidarity and resilience . As we move beyond the pandemic, these desires have evolved but remain fundamentally the same. Audiences continue to value brands that foster a sense of community and provide reassurance amid ongoing global uncertainties.

In 2023, a key sentiment among consumers was a desire for normalcy and escapism. People sought out experiences and products that could offer a brief respite from the challenges of the real world. In 2024, this trend has persisted, with a growing emphasis on mental well-being and sustainability. Consumers are increasingly looking for brands that not only provide high-quality products and services but also contribute positively to societal and environmental well-being. Again, audiences associate with brands that they identify with, therefore keeping them aligned with their audiences requests so the audience feels closer to that brand making them socially and emotionally responsible in many ways.

The Largest and Most Engaged Audiences?

The largest audience to market to today is Generation Z (born between 1997 and 2012). This cohort is now entering the workforce and becoming a significant economic force. Gen Z is known for its digital savviness, strong social consciousness, and preference for authentic and transparent brands.

However, the audience most active and engaging with marketing and advertising is Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996). They are highly responsive to personalized and interactive content and are more likely to engage with brands on social media platforms. Both Gen Z and Millennials expect brands to align with their values and demonstrate social responsibility.

New Consumer Preferences and Aversions

One thing audiences absolutely do not want to see anymore is inauthentic or insensitive marketing. The pandemic has made consumers more critical of brands that appear opportunistic or out of touch. According to a report by Deloitte, consumers are quick to call out brands that engage in "woke-washing" – pretending to care about social issues without taking meaningful action.

The Most Powerful Marketing App? 

TikTok has emerged as the most powerful marketing and advertising app. Its algorithm-driven content discovery and highly engaged user base make it an ideal platform for reaching younger audiences and creating viral content. TikTok's unique format allows brands to create authentic and creative campaigns that resonate deeply with users. Additionally, TikTok has mastered the art of flipping viral videos into ads. This approach serves more reputable and relatable content, making advertisements feel less intrusive and more engaging for viewers, effectively blurring the lines between organic content and paid promotions giving users that feel of authenticity they crave.

Integration of Ad and Marketing Suites Across Platforms

Meta (formerly Facebook) has continued to evolve its ad suite, integrating advanced targeting options and AI-driven analytics. Meta's ad platform allows businesses to create highly personalized ad campaigns by leveraging vast amounts of user data. Despite its complexity, Meta has made efforts to maintain accessibility for beginners through guided campaign creation tools and educational resources.

Other major platforms like Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest have also integrated sophisticated ad and marketing suites. These platforms provide businesses with tools to target specific demographics, track campaign performance, and optimize ads in real-time. For instance, LinkedIn's advertising tools are particularly effective for B2B marketing, while Instagram and Pinterest excel in visual marketing to customers.

The integration of these suites across platforms helps businesses of all sizes by offering more accessible and cost-effective ways to reach their target audiences. Small businesses, in particular, benefit from the ability to run targeted campaigns without needing extensive marketing budgets.

Our Advice?

To stay ahead of the curve, businesses should embrace these key strategies:

  1. Prioritize Authenticity: Ensure your brand’s messaging is genuine and empathetic. Consumers are quick to dismiss inauthentic or insincere brands.
  2. Leverage Emerging Platforms: Utilize TikTok for its powerful viral potential and ability to blend ads seamlessly with organic content for B2C. B2B businesses should consider LinkedIn as a top platform when starting out with marketing to other businesses and business professionals.
  3. Invest in Digital Tools: Take advantage of the sophisticated yet accessible ad suites on Meta, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other platforms to create targeted and efficient marketing campaigns.
  4. Focus on Community and Well-Being: Align your brand with social and environmental causes that resonate with your audience’s values, fostering a sense of community and shared purpose.
  5. Stay Agile and Informed: Keep up with the latest marketing trends and technologies. Being an early adopter of new tools and platforms can provide a competitive edge and open up new avenues for reaching your audience effectively. No question is a bad question.

Wrapping Things Up…

The landscape of marketing has transformed significantly since COVID-19. Consumers' preferences for authenticity, community, and social responsibility have remained strong, driving brands to adopt more empathetic and value-driven approaches. Gen Z and Millennials are key audiences, with platforms like TikTok leading the way in engaging these demographics. As marketing technologies become more sophisticated yet accessible, businesses of all sizes can effectively leverage digital tools to connect with their audiences in more meaningful ways.

Give us your thought on why marketing has shifted since the lockdown? 

Book us for Podcast and Speaking Gigs