Marketing in the 'New Normal' — 7 Post-Pandemic Shifts to Expect in Digital Marketing

July 2021
 minute read
sticky notes saying a business is closed due to COVID-19

The pandemic rocked everyone’s world and has changed a lot about the way we live. Unfortunately, it’s hard to say if we will ever go ‘back to normal,’ which means marketers have to adjust to new customer habits. We have seen a massive shift in consumer behavior during the pandemic, and that shift is far from over. With more companies switching to focusing on their online presence, it’s crucial to stay up-to-date, so your company can stand out from the crowd. As a Pittsburgh marketing agency, we took a deep dive into what marketing in the ‘new normal’ will look like in the future. 

Post-Pandemic Shifts to Expect in Marketing — According to an Expert Pittsburgh Marketing Agency

    1. Relationships Mean Everything

desk with laptop, books, papers, and pens on top
Marketing has changed immensely over the past year due to the pandemic. 

As a Pittsburgh marketing agency, we have always understood the importance of a customer relationship to a company — but the need for a relationship has highly grown. Advertisements and marketing promise a specific experience and promise to the customer. Your product or service must deliver on that promise for customers to trust you and return to your store. Digital marketing has become a massive technique for small and large companies to build customer relationships and a personality around their brand. 

When speaking about digital marketing, social media is the most common type. It’s crucial to keep in mind that consumers will not follow a brand that only promotes their brand and only posts about making a sale. In a SproutSocial study, over 57% of people found brands that post too many promotions annoying. Instead of sales-related posts, consider taking advantage of video. Below are a few examples of videos you can film to captivate your audience.

  • Question and answer
  • Live demonstrations 
  • Interviews with your industry leaders
  • New product launches

    2. Customers are Aware You’re Tracking Their Data

graphic depicting data tracking
Image courtesy of Adweek.

Companies rely heavily on consumer data, and with the evolution of technology, we are receiving more information about our audiences than ever before. Taking that data and using it to understand your customer’s interests and catering to them can be very beneficial. With that being said, customers are very aware that companies are tracking their data. Therefore, becoming transparent about the information you are collecting can build trust with your consumers. 

Major companies like Facebook and Apple have prioritized app tracking transparency during the pandemic, leading to a shift in how advertising data are reported and handled. The result of this is that there is less data visibility for advertisers, meaning they want to make sure they are using tools like Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, and other tools to get a comprehensive view of their performance. 

    3. Your Brand Needs to Stand Behind Its Values

HubSpot Linkedin Post
HubSpot has recently announced that it will launch a mental health initiative. 

Consumers have hundreds of brands to choose from at their fingertips while searching online, so why should they choose you? More than ever, customers are choosing brands that align with their values. Of course, price still matters, but much more now goes into a purchasing decision. The time we are in is very political, and we can expect this political polarization to continue. Additionally, brand values are significant to younger consumers — who, after a year of TikToking, are finally back in the real world. Below are a few examples of what people are searching for when purchasing from a new brand.

  • Sustainability
  • Trust
  • Ethical sourcing
  • Social responsibility
  • Quality 

    4. Customers are Watching Their Wallets

person holding a wallet
Saving money is something that is on the top of many consumers’ minds. 

Unfortunately, many businesses did not make it out of the pandemic. Just as the lack of spending impacted these businesses, consumers were affected by the lack of work. Many young adults and new families have large mortgages or student debts that have to be put on furlough. 

If you look back to the 2008 recession, consumers were holding on to the little money they had, which we see here in 2021. As a result, many people are on a tighter budget than before the pandemic, which means they are more conscious about purchasing. As a brand, you can combat this unwillingness to spend with a rewarding loyalty program. For example, a coffee shop can use a stamp card or offer a welcome discount to bring customers into the door. 

    5. A Great Brand Experience is Crucial

graphic depicting brand experience
Image courtesy of Noble Systems.

As mentioned above, most people are saving as much as they can. When consumers decide to spend their money somewhere, they want to be treated with a great brand experience — both online and in-person. In the post-pandemic, health and safety are huge differentiators when it comes to a fantastic in-person experience. For example, people are searching for hotel rooms that have been thoroughly sanitized, ways to book a time before they arrive, or even ways for them to experience your brand while at home.

With plenty of digital storefronts, consumers have hundreds of options to choose from at their fingertips. They can easily find a different store to shop at if your website gives a horrible customer experience. Building and designing a meaningful experience can not only gain your company more customers, but it can also make them returning customers. 

    6. Focus and Invest in Facebook Ads

graphic of facebook ads
Image courtesy of TechWyse.

It’s no doubt that more people are spending much more time online, and this is beneficial for those investing in social media advertising. In particular, Facebook ads are one of the most affordable ways to gain a successful ROI — even for small businesses. With Facebook’s ability to specifically target consumers, you can read consumers based on gender, interests, hobbies, profession, marital status, location, and more. It’s essential to keep in mind that the most successful ads are ones that the consumer repeatedly sees, making Facebook’s retargeting feature so valuable. 

    7. Understand Consumer Paradigm Shift

graphic of customers checking out at a store
Image courtesy of TADA.

Before the pandemic, marketers already knew how important it was to understand your customer. Creating a target audience and studying the audience was something all marketers did before developing their campaigns, so what’s different now? You must take a deeper look at your audience and what they value most in a brand, what language they connect with the most, and then your brand must build a human connection with them. Here are five different segments that you should consider when thinking about what your audience wants:

  • Health: These consumers are putting their health and their family’s health above everything. They will choose products and services that minimize risk.
  • Affordability: A lot of consumers are focusing on product functionality over quality and branding. 
  • Experience: These are the people who are open to new experiences and are ready to break out the ‘staying at home’ atmosphere. They are open to trying new products and brands.
  • Society: Consumers who put society above all are searching for brands that are honest and working towards the greater good. 
  • Planet: Consumers are focusing on the planet’s safety and what their impact has on the earth. These people are trying to minimize their footprint as much as they can with their purchases. 

The pandemic is not over, and it will change how we market to consumers for a lifetime. Responsival, a Pittsburgh-based marketing agency, has researched and experienced these changes in real-time. As a result, our team has been able to shift and offer our clients successful campaigns, even during these unprecedented times. At Responsival, we will work with you to give your customers a digital experience they will want to come back to in the future. Contact us to get started on successfully marketing your company in the new world.


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