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Why brands are turning to digital marketing to survive COVID-19

6th November 2020 Print

To say that 2020 has been a year of change may be an understatement. With lockdown round 2 now in full swing, those changes will only continue. Businesses are fighting for survival: fighting to be seen and heard. As the streets empty again, as businesses lock their doors, and as we all wonder how long this will continue, now is the time to adapt. Now is the time to turn to digital marketing.

Of course, digital marketing is no longer anything new. Companies big and small have been using this channel, with varying degrees of success, for a number of years. Whereas some have made this a major component of their marketing strategies, others have simply paid it lip service: knowing that they should have a digital marketing strategy but perhaps not really understanding why. COVID-19 has now highlighted that 'why' in ways that can not be ignored.

A game of hide and seek

With larger companies traditionally relying on trade shows and networking events to keep themselves in the mind of their customers, and smaller businesses reliant on word-of-mouth referrals, what now? With no trade shows, no face-to-face networking, and fewer and fewer people to speak to, businesses have had to find where their customers are now hiding. The answer? Online.

Michael Ryan, who runs an SEO agency in Essex has seen a change in the market, with companies pivoting their offering. He said, " Our business was born 6 months prior to the pandemic and we were lucky enough to grow throughout. We're seeing more brands pivoting their offerings to eCommerce or online style services and products to sustain their businesses. Some businesses are flourishing from the amount of activity online. This isn't possible for every industry, such as travel who are in a desperate survival mode."

Why digital is the clear winner

Companies can not simply try and ride the storm that is Covid-19, in blind hope that customers will remain loyal and return in their droves. Instead, they have had to learn new ways to be ever-present, to continually communicate, and to show their offerings.

With social media, SEO, content marketing, and the use of influencers all forming part of the digital war chest, there are an array of means and methods to continue communicating with, and selling to, customers. With no sales visits and a lack of networking, it is digital marketing that is allowing companies to reach their office and home-bound customers. 

2020 and beyond

Uncertainty reigns. With no end in sight to the current pandemic, companies will continually be forced to explore the world of digital marketing. When the current lockdown is eased, it is difficult to envisage the sales meetings of old, or being welcomed into an office with a warm handshake. Instead, companies will need to continue to make their presence felt and provide alternative sales channels.

As companies begin to see the true value of a digital marketing strategy, one that is professionally implemented, it is plausible that this will quickly become the new norm and that marketing methods of old will fall by the way. Any business that fails to act during the current crisis runs the real risk of being left behind and being in a position that is simply unrecoverable.