The New Norm: Shifting Consumer Engagement to Digital

As many of us work to adjust to the new norm or working from home and the reliance on digital channels for communication, marketers are considering how to best redirect and reinvest in marketing priorities.  The truth is, while many brands invest heavily in a diversified approach to marketing, from trade-shows and out-of-home media to digital and streaming efforts, many often struggle to understand which efforts best provide real value to both their customers and organization.   Now is perfect time to dive deep into your marketing mix and rethink the how our brands creatively engage with and bring value to our we customers. 

It’s hard to imagine such a drastic shift in social norms happening in the first place, let alone so abruptly.  With the shift to a largely work-from-home workforce and social distancing policies causing the cancellation of sporting events and in-person programs nationwide, brands are racing to reevaluate how to best to shift marketing priorities and ad dollars. The pause in live sport, for example, is already forcing advertisers to reinvest ad dollars originally allocated to TV to their network’s digital and streaming channels as viewers stay home and are flocking towards these outlets.

Aside from merely redirecting funds, the initial shift priorities given the new state of working is also pushing brands to think outside the box to find unique ways to engage and deliver value. 

Joe Angel, President of Chicago-based PMMI Media Group, a division of PMMI, a trade association representing the packaging and processing industries, commented that while clients are seeing some of the live events in which they participate postponed or canceled – as well as in-person meetings – they’re shifting investments to more digital and print media channels.

“In light of the current situation, [our clients] are looking to reinvest some their dollars in other efforts to continue to connect with customers. To help with this, we are seeing an increase in video/technology e-blasts, podcasts and webinars”.

Joe Angel – President PMMI Media Group

By leveraging these digital and print offerings, PMMI’s association members and non-members are able to continually engage their clients with the same level of personalization as they had before. “They’re looking to temporarily recreate the personal touch points that conferences and trade-shows provide, but in different, more targeted ways…though nothing replaces that face-to-face interaction at an event.”

This sense of keeping branded communication on has also been seen across a few other industries as well. Echoing Joe Angel’s thoughts on the need to pivot to more digitally targeted content is VP of Marketing and Enrollment at NLU, Rick Yaconis.

Noting that out-of-home expenditures are largely void this time, Rick noted that [NLU] should be creatively looking at spending on other means.  “For example, what can be done digitally?  We need to quickly shift to providing video content.”

The key however is that brands need start to become more present and relevant by providing content and solutions outside of their service offerings and products. By providing content for parents to help engage and educate their kids, tips and tricks for working remotely or how to prepare home-cooked meals, brands can help provide a much-needed respite from the situation while providing entertainment as well.

So, as we consider the changing nature of work and home life, it’s vital to understand how your brand can add value while building short- and long-term relationships with your customer base.  Be it additional investments in channel specific media or useful content to help provide a sense of normalcy, now is the time to truly place the consumer at the center of our communications mix.

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