COVID-19 has changed the world since it began in 2020. This has presented marketers with an unprecedented situation for which they need to strategize. They must determine what business marketing will be like after COVID-19. There are a few ways companies should adapt advertising and marketing plans to ensure their continued future.
Advertising agencies in Thailand find that the businesses that spend the most on digital media are usually in the automotive, personal care, telecoms, finance, and food and beverage sectors.
Many big businesses tend not to change their marketing budgets, but they will change the advertising channels they use. They must do this to respond to evolving consumer behaviors. For example, companies can track what people search for online to identify returning and new customers. Social media platforms can help track current customers, and data mining can reap potential new targets by revealing the best approach to interest a new audience. So, digital marketing has become the best way to reach consumers to convert to sales.
Changing marketing to match consumer behavior
Some personal care product companies in Thailand will advertise on YouTube, but that may not be necessary as most people need these products. But during COVID lockdowns, people had to rely on ecommerce sites as their access to brick-and-mortar stores closed. After the lockdowns ended, however, some customers may have come to prefer shopping online. This means that marketers need to reassess their strategies. They should analyze online sales information and retarget their digital marketing strategies accordingly. Another area that has seen a shift is with groceries and FMCG (fast moving consumer goods). Previously, most people would go to the grocery store, but with lockdowns, they learned how to buy their perishables online. This is another opportunity for digital marketers to realign their plans.
Adjust plans to be in front of consumers’ minds
Within the F&B sector, major markets include frozen products such as pre-cooked meals people would by at convenience stores and minimarts. These locations were usually available during lockdowns, so there would have been less necessity to buy them online. Another market that would have felt a greater impact would have been restaurants. During lockdowns in Thailand, many had to shift to delivery sales. The shops that already had this service in place did better than those that did not. Also, restaurants that offered a unique service that could not be converted to delivery would find themselves having to adapt further with special sales promotions or by creating new menus that suited delivery.
Nevertheless, restaurants that already did delivery still needed to adjust their operations as the volume of delivery orders increased. And since many people started to cook more at home, restaurant marketers had to change strategies such as marketing home cooking tips or offering vouchers to entice more orders. Fine dining outlets had to make even more changes as their selling points were chef-centered experiences inside the restaurant. To make up for this they offered box sets, special menus, or even having the chef cooking meals in customers’ homes. Through this all, marketers needed to constantly consider their customers in their strategies to make sure their brands were the first on their customers’ minds.
A similar situation occurred within fashion. Usually, people prefer going to the store so that they can try clothes on before making a purchase. COVID-19 changed that. Then stores with an ecommerce channel kept customers while those that did not, lost them. Other brands tried new product lines such as face mask, showing initiative in adjusting to consumer demands. This would include people choosing comfortable, casual clothes as they worked from home.
COVID-19 changed brand loyalty
Some marketers noticed less brand loyalty as a result of COVID-19. People delayed spending as they had to tighten their budgets due to less income, although some still had discretionary income. Previously, people were limited to the brands at shopping malls and at grocery stores. Then, as they moved online due to lockdowns, they had a whole new world of brands a click away. E-commerce sites also made it easier to explore different products and compare reviews, discounts, and promotions. This offered consumers the opportunity to try different brands.
Marketers need technology to survive
In the online world, how can marketers engage consumers when they cannot interact directly with the product before buying? Technology does offer solutions, such as video tours or real-time live chats, to provide interactive experience. These tools can help companies survive through functional engagement to assist customers make their buying decisions.
Telecom companies do advertise quite a lot and benefit from a growing demand for mobile devices and internet access, which is a preferred method of communications in Thailand. But how does a company encourage people to buy a new device when budgets are tight? Marketers can offer installment plans or delays in releasing new products, so they may not need much advertising.
More profits need effective marketing
Personal finances will affect consumer behavior in the future. People need money and access to credit, but they also need to invest, even though right now that has decreased. To determine what consumers require for finance and banking services, marketers can rely on digital tools to communicate with and elicit information from consumers. Then they must optimize their strategies accordingly so that they can stand out from their competition. With targeted advertising, they will achieve a higher sales volume and greater profits.
Aviation, tourism, hospitality need skill and marketing development
Aviation, hospitality, and tourism are still in flux in Thailand. Domestic flights have reduced demand, and international business travel is less necessary with the rise of video conferencing, such as through Zoom, and the need to cut business expenses. People have less money to spend on holidays, so only those with higher incomes may be the able to enjoy leisure travel.
COVID-19 hit hotels across Thailand extremely hard. Foreign tourism, a major revenue source for the entire country, almost completely dried up. Hotels had to close temporarily or reduce staff to survive the lockdowns or rely on their restaurant business. But digital marketing could continue as long as people, especially from the domestic Thai market, were looking for hotel rooms. Or they could reach out to customers in their existing databases by offering special promotions. At the same time, hotel marketers need to prepare for the return of foreign tourists by showing effective COVID management and improved experiences as they would have to compete with other countries as well.
Digital media must respond to market post-COVID
Digital media platforms must offer marketers statistics on sales. By providing accurate information on businesses and product demands on target audiences, marketers can use the flexibility of these platforms to tailor their communications.
Now is the best time to implement marketing automation technology. Companies that are doing well during COVID will have a tremendous advantage as this is adopted further. If there are budget restrictions or a slow response, businesses will miss out on this opportunity. They must assess their products and how to present them to the target audience they identify. These decisions must be made carefully and strategically.
Marketers need to understand their customers as best as they are able. They need to know their products, communications channels, and the technology available to them so they can maximize their marketing plans. Each sector will have its own way of reaching their target markets, so they need their own unique strategies. Furthermore, they must consider competition not only in Thailand, but also in other countries as well as foreign products enter the Thai market.
IBEX is a digital agency in Bangkok, Thailand. We help brands like yours thrive in a digital world via social media marketing, SEO, video production and Facebook Ads. Contact us today for a private consultation on how we can take your business to the next level.