Content Marketing Matters. Consumer Behavior Even More
A significant change in consumer behavior habits has led world-leading brands and chief marketing officers to recalibrate their content marketing through innovative models and strategies, making their customers reopen their hearts and wallets and stay loyal.
Content marketing is a long-term process of attracting and retaining customers by consistently creating content to change or enhance consumer behavior. It's all about keeping your customers interested and passionate about what you do so that they will support your business and buy your products and services.
However, in 2021, coronavirus has led to a revolution in the content world.
There is one thing Covid-19 made very clear is that change is happening everywhere, and this has led to a revolution in the content world as well.
When discussing content marketing, your business will need to take into account customer loyalty and brand loyalty. Customer loyalty is where you convince your consumers that you are the best company on the market, either through special offers or loyalty discounts. This will make your consumers not think of going elsewhere because if you're the best, why would they settle for less.
However, brand loyalty is when the quality of your products and level of service remains consistent that also adapts and matches new accelerated consumer behaviors affected by COVID-19, no matter how long a consumer has been a loyal customer. Businesses should aim to combine both these concepts in their marketing strategy if they want to remain successful.
Consumer Behavior-Stats and Facts
It is no shock that all changed: the pandemic has made consumer behavior more complex, and their purchasing habits varied dramatically.
As early as 2003, Gerald Zaltman, a Harvard Business School professor, said that 95% of consumer purchase decision-making occurs in the subconscious mind. It is through probing this unconscious mind that valuable advertising information can be found. For example, if a company is aware of a personal care product invoking deep thoughts and feelings about social bonding, their research and development experts can focus on the colors and scents used to create this essential consumer-company connection.
Professor Zaltman suggests that any insights offered using methods that probe the unconscious mind are suitable through all the product cycle states.
Suppose a company is branching out and trying to create something fundamentally different from what they are known for. In that case, it is essential to understand how consumers currently frame their experience and how this new product will solve their problems.
This can be carried out by using metaphor-elicitation techniques, as firms that provide farming supplies, home appliances, office systems, and beauty care have identified opportunities for new products and services to meet unmet needs. While this is important, businesses need to speak to their conscious minds to attract consumers.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing businesses to focus their efforts online, marketing content to the customer is more important than ever. The world has become increasingly more competitive, with customer expectations changing rapidly.
Today, consumers have new buying habits. They are stopping to think and buy much more logically, which has meant that companies have had to come up with ways to overcome this challenge.
With more and more people spending time at home, there has been more focus on the internet. Companies have focused on prioritizing online advertising and delivery, reinforcing this trend to shop online. Research from JP Morgan into COVID-19 spending habits has found that after months of lockdown and social distancing measures, consumers have changed how they shop, reprioritizing what they feel is essential, and turning to online shopping more than ever before. Furthermore, they found that online shopping now accounts for 16.1% of all US sales, which is a trend that is likely to stick, even when brick-and-mortar stores open again.
JP Morgan also reports that in the first half of 2020, most online companies saw a boom in online shopping, which has led them to rethink and reinvest in their e-commerce abilities. Reckitt Benckiser, a producer of health, hygiene, and home products, found e-commerce amounted to 12% of sales in the first six months of 2020 as their customers stocked up with essential products before the coronavirus lockdowns. Similarly, Nestlé also found that e-commerce grew by 49%. In contrast, the beauty market fell 13-14% in the first half of 2020, with beauty, fragrance, and make-up sales falling around 25%.
The data drives the creative
Obviously, no one has a magic machine or a crystal ball in hand. Still, these figures show that every organization has had to adapt, improvise, and innovate to keep customers coming back. They internalized that the customer journey is not just a buzzword, or only when they purchase an item, but starts long before and after. In the end, it's not about subjective creativity; it's about managing the customer journey through data combined with thinking out of the box to find the best approach and make the right decisions that bring results at every touchpoint.
The content marketing strategy is determined according to the customer dynamics change, from attracting the customer's attention to making sure they have a positive experience and return.
Recalibration of content marketing during COVID-19
By investing in a chief marketing officer (CMO), companies are coming up with new methods and business models representing their values while fostering creative energy from multiple perspectives.
It will be through accommodating the consumers' changed priorities and building a level of trust that will increase sales.
CMO leaders discuss their plans and strategies from a deeper business perspective; first and foremost, they think about their customers, their values, such as sustainability, how they can help the community, and, more importantly, their human resources.
Many brands strive to build strong loyalty by supporting overall economic health and helping local businesses and community-based organizations, as it has become a top value for consumers after the pandemic broke out.
Furthermore, in 2021, there will be an increase in CMOs who show leadership, recognizing that this is a new chapter for commerce and will thrive compared to those who focus on outdated sales methods. There will also be a strong emphasis on retention by blending marketing and customer experience teams to ensure a better customer delivery before and after a purchase. By driving this continued use of the firm's products and services, a business can create more traffic and build trust with its consumer.
The power of emotional storytelling
The Coronavirus has forced companies to speak with their customers using a new language to 'talk' with their customers' hearts in a more personal manner.
Companies from around the world and in different fields have made a change in their messages, content, and customer experience due to the pandemic.
They ask to know the customer more closely to adjust their products and services according to their needs.
They invest lots of effort, time, and money to personalize and connect with their target audience through new emotional storytelling with great value.
Thus, they create a magical customer experience (CX), according to the spirit of the period with a face to the future - retaining a firm brand name and loyal customers.
A customer-focused strategy -case studies
Businesses have had to cope with the pandemic, yet there have been successes in how content marketing has adapted and the different ways companies have adapted. One example of this is with Accor. Hotels have suffered the most with the pandemic, yet they have found a way to thrive. Accor offers hotel rooms for use during the day; whether you just need a quiet place to get some rest or somewhere to use as an office, Accor have you covered.
Another company that focuses on personalizing their content and messages they are projecting is Capsule, an online pharmacy, and delivery-based business model.
The CEO, Eric Kinariwala, created Capsule because it wasn't just patients who had issues picking up sinus medication from his local pharmacy. He had repeat conversations with consumers, physicians, executives, insurance companies, drug companies, and hospitals, who all echoed that the pharmacy system wasn't working.
"Digitizing that idea has always been the driving force of the consumer experience and the brand and what we set out to do in the early days." Kinariwala says.
Capsule is the largest leading company on the 2020 Forbes list, racking up $100 million in revenue in 2019, by helping New Yorkers order their prescriptions by text or via the app, with home delivery in a two-hour window, and is only growing due to the pandemic.
The field of fashion is also changing its language.
At the "Possible Feelings," the Prada Fall-Winter 2021 Menswear collection, by Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons, where the main emphasis was on the individual: the human body and its freedom.
Throughout the live-streamed event, a strong expression of the changing world with the iconic Prada triangular symbol was used as a connecting thread that symbolizes the body and what they are feeling right now: vulnerability, flexibility, resilience, and a hunger for intimacy.
Due to accelerated changes in consumer trends, this has meant that there is a significant emphasis on customer retention, intending to build trust over time with consumers. By showing that your company can adapt to a changing world, you are giving your customers the faith that you will be there when they need you the most. The social media landscape is continually changing, with brands needing to try new methods and ways to get people's attention.
What worked a year ago, or even six months ago, may not work today.
This is why it is so crucial that your business keeps innovating and coming up with new ideas, and trying new strategies.
Today, the phrase 'to be or not to be' is more appropriate than ever because what keeps the business alive and breathing is its uniqueness.
Every organization needs to think about its customers way beyond reaching the goal and achieving results; it needs to think outside the box for the customer, which builds trust and confidence for their brand.