What Students with an MBA in Marketing Can Learn from Post-COVID Marketing Strategies

May 01, 2021

What are businesses doing to adapt to the pandemic?

Two business men with an mba in marketing working on strategy
In times of change and adversity, companies need to adapt strategies to keep up.

The global pandemic may have been a disaster to the business and marketing world in 2020 - but out from the ashes, countless inspirational stories of reinvigorated marketing plans have risen. Businesses that had plans to implement eventual changes to their strategies to keep up the pace with a rapidly evolving digital environment were forced to spring into action much sooner than expected - and many reported being pleasantly surprised to see just how swiftly and efficiently that unanticipated transition took place. The key to adapting well to the “new normal” has been implementing and maintaining strategies that can be adjusted frequently and easily in response to the ongoing shifts to buyer behaviors that must be anticipated in the days ahead. So what are some examples of marketing strategies that have stood out post-COVID? We look at a few here in closer detail.

What Business School Students Should Know About the Definitive Shift to E-commerce

Remaining adaptable and agile is a key theme discussed in business school and marketing theory, and many businesses gain experience putting those theories into practice in dealing with the expected ebbs and flows of the economy. But no one could have expected the storm that would come with the pandemic - virtually decimating the in-person shopping experience that many brick and mortar businesses depended upon. Whether a business relied upon foot traffic alone or already had a strong online presence before the pandemic, many have since transitioned to either a full or hybrid E-commerce approach to adapt to continued lockdowns and social distancing measures.

Pic of an online shop and some parcels
Many businesses have focussed on E-commerce as a way of adapting to the pandemic.

According to a recent report from Accenture, this shift is likely to endure, with a predicted increase of 169% in E-commerce purchases from new or low-frequency users of online shopping platforms. The reason? Consumers have overwhelmingly reported enjoying and even preferring online shopping to in-person mall browsing. Marketers are adapting by funnelling a lot of time, energy, and budget into E-commerce initiatives.

Strategies to Reflect the Move Away from Brand Loyalty

As consumers have adapted to staying at home more often, and have now had the last year to learn the online shopping habits that work best for them, a distinct “want it now” mentality has been noted. Consumers have become less patient than ever, and enjoy the newfound convenience of being able to choose how and when they can get the product they want. Many have also adapted by favoring the shopping experience they prefer over brand preference. In other words, consumers that would once have only bought a certain brand name are increasingly trying new brands so they can get what they want sooner - with the added convenience of staying safe by having it delivered right to their mailbox or doorstep.

This new buyer behavior has upended the strategies of marketers, once tailored and fine-tuned to consumers they relied upon for having consistent brand fidelity. To adapt to this new reality, marketers need to be quick on their feet to learn where exactly in the buyer journey the consumer has decided to make the leap to another brand. From there, marketing strategists have been pushed to funnel a lot more spend on loyalty and retention marketing. According to Forrester Research, business-to-consumer marketers are expected to increase that spending by 15% in 2021. Students pursuing an MBA in Marketing may also be interested to hear that strategists are expected to adapt additionally by scaling back performance-based marketing initiatives.   

Pushing Exclusive Offers to Persist in Recovery Mode

It’s by no means a new marketing strategy to push promotions and exclusive offers, but the known effectiveness of the tactic has made it a go-to strategy of marketers post-COVID. In a continued recovery phase, many marketing professionals are using a consistent stream of exclusive offers and deals in their efforts to attract an entirely new audience in light of shattered brand loyalties and an overall dwindling customer base.

Pic of an business school student shopping online
Promotions are a great way to attract new customers and keep your current customers interested.

Not only can such strategies have the effect of drawing in new customers, but various promos and exclusive offers can also renew the interest of previous customers. Some examples of promotional incentives might include discounts, membership deals, or freebies - all of which can be promoted via email campaigns or through a business’s social media channels. The advantage of offering promotions is that it tends to work as a marketing strategy in all industries.

While businesses continue to adapt to the pandemic impact, implementing some of the marketing strategies described above has proven to be effective. Those that have used these tactics with successful results have had the added advantage of a much-needed boost of confidence - derived from realizing their business’s own unique potential for responding efficiently in the face of adversity.

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