Digital marketing trends or methods of digital marketing outreach and platforms were already changing long before the global COVID-19 pandemic. A new era in online advertising and marketing was dawning. The online world fast-forwarded from a new dawn to high noon in just months. Smart online marketers had to adapt their digital marketing and brand development even more quickly or risk getting burned.
Here are just a few ways that digital marketing trends (marketing and brand development) took hold in 2021 and earlier. And now, these are the steadfast new norms.
Online Shopping is Now and Forever
OK, we know… no big surprise. Even a few years ago, consumers were comparing mobs at the local shopping “maul” to the comfort of their living room sofa. The decision made itself: Stay home, stay sane, and don’t let the dog or cat try to drink your hot cocoa. Like malls replaced Main Street stores years ago, e-commerce has become the preferred consumer path.
Digital Marketing Experts Saw It Coming
Avi Dan, a digital marketing analyst with Forbes magazine, predicted a nearly 170% increase in e-commerce purchases, from new or low-frequency online shoppers. And he made that prediction at the end of 2020! Plus, most consumers use digital and omnichannel services much more now, including home delivery, curbside pickup, or shopping through social media sites. This digital marketing trend and consumer behavior will keep ramping up in the future.
Brand Loyalty is Dissolving
Remember back when your family only bought sweaters from L.L. Bean, and your best friend’s family only wore Lands’ End? Where televisions in your home RCA? Or did you prefer to have the latest and great picture quality from SONY? The days of brand loyalty are disappearing, if not gone already. Today, with so many choices and exclusive deals at their fingertips, the driving decision-maker for most consumers are price, availability, and peer consumer reviews, NOT brand name.
Not only are more and more consumers trying unique brands, but many are also choosing new, private-label and niche brands. For marketers, this highlights the need to quickly become aware of when consumers are shifting between brands and stay one step ahead of their next pivots. The evolving online economy will favor those brands that push promotional messages, short-term offers, and attention to customer service to build buyers’ trust. Brand development has entered fresh territory.
New brand loyalties won’t be based on pride of brand name, but programs centered around returning customer rewards and “members-only” exclusive deals. Online wine vendor NakedWines.com, for example, combines personalized customer service with market-leading prices from thousands of vineyards and generous free rewards based on how much of their wines you buy. Members of their “Angels Club earn quarterly or even monthly free wines or tally up their rewards for larger scale freebies. So, when your cousin comes to your next family gathering with a case of wine as gifts that’s from NakedWines.com, you can bet that all 12 bottles in that box were free to her.
Speaking of brand awareness, brand development and building consumer loyalty, today’s digital marketing economy also brings a new era for local artisan and niche brands. In the past, cottage-industry makers of specialty salsas, soy-based candles or handmade cookware were limited by geography. The creation of Etsy.com made localized, simple awareness, and need to have a booth at county fairs things of the past.
Etsy, along with entrepreneurs being able to create a simple e-commerce website, smart organic and paid placements on social media platforms, the whole world is their “new county fair!” Of course, it also helps that consumers’ interest in locally sourced products is booming. Consumers are more interested in helping budding entrepreneurs rather than filling the big business coffers.
The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t the sole reason we’ve seen changes in digital marketing that are reshaping daily life. That flame was already lit. The pandemic was the extra fuel thrown onto the fire. Quarantining caused digital marketing to flare up into an online economy full of hot new opportunities. So today, advertisers, marketers and entrepreneurs can bask in its glow if they are proactive in their brand development and digital marketing outreach.