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Friday, July 30, 2021

Digital Marketing during Lockdown

Mohammad Imran

With another stricter lockdown upon us from 14 April, there is no denying the fact that businesses are going to face the brunt. We have already seen numerous businessmen lamenting how it’s almost impossible to count out the return on the fresh investment they made keeping the holy Ramadan in mind. They are also worried that should this lockdown be extended further, that would be like the last nail on the coffin of their hopes. However, as the government suggested, this lockdown will curb the movement of the common mass and eventually help reduce the spread of coronavirus. Under such circumstances, what should businesses do? From our experiences from the last year, when we had no clue about the diseases and lockdown going on for sine die, we can say that 2021 is not that bad. We have a vaccination program going on and with more knowledge about the virus and its variants, we can now fight back in a better way. Just like the healthcare front, the preparedness should also be present in the business front. With empty malls, roads and restaurants, the only way businesses can reach up to their consumers is the digital media and this write up will shed lights on how to ace in that arena during a lockdown. 

One must understand the fact that just like businesses were severely affected due to the pandemic situation, the digital marketing field too had its share of ups and downs. A report by the World Economic Forum informs that across Europe, ad spending has faced a significant 9% reduction. More and more consumer brands are shrinking their paid advertisement scopes and that creates a void in various platforms. Indeed, we are forced to rethink how we do business and how we spend our ad money due to coronavirus. However, let’s not be all teary eyed. We have to look at the brighter side. Like, where is the void and how can we fill that up. Businesses must look carefully at platforms where they advertise and any gap left behind by their competitors can be filled up. Of course, one doesn’t need to keep draining money, but a meaningful, inspirational ad during such critical time will certainly help the growth of your brand. It shows that you have made a promise to your consumers and that positivity will bind them with your brand. Later when the situation becomes better that note of positivity will bring them towards your products and eventually you can translate those ads into sales. If we look at Bangladesh, we have seen how brands tried to spread information about health, safety and wellbeing throughout the entire lockdown last year. Those who did it efficiently definitely had an edge over the rest of the competitors in the market.

Even though paid ads for direct sales of products have reduced, we have seen a new breed of ad spending since last year. This is for search ad spending. Online searches have skyrocketed over the time and therefore, as marketer suggested, a 5.9% surge in search ad spending is expected, according to a report in the Influencer Marketing Hub. People are stuck at home and watching TV more these days. However, when it comes to looking for a product or service, TV cannot help at all. It’s the online media that comes handy. We must understand that such kinds of events also shape consumer behavior and we must take that into account. Advertisements which have a riveting message to deliver can engage with the consumers and trigger their purchasing intentions. This is why brands which are planning to spend cautiously on social media, should try to come up with direct response campaigns which will encourage quick response in buyers resulting in the purchasing of a product or service. Since digital-first markets are going to rule for the next couple of months, it’s important for a brand to understand if they have an e-commerce facility in place. Those who don’t have e-commerce facilities, can tie up with prominent e-commerce platforms to ensure the seamless supply of their products. We must not forget that just because people are stuck in home waiting for another set of sad news to be delivered via news, they have not stopped living.

Now something about the content and which platform to choose for delivering the message. The concept of content marketing has been growing slowly over the past couple of years. However, the pandemic has pushed us to finally embrace the trend. The right kind of content can help you not only reach the mass, but also make a position in their heart. As we all can guess, contents sounding like a sales pitch are not going to cut; rather you go for something that evokes empathy. There is no better time than storytelling through ads. Because all people are doing right now, staying at home is being nostalgic about the time before the ‘new normal’ and storytelling approach will help connect with them instantly. In line with that, this is also important for businesses to choose the right platform. Millions of people are on facebook just scrolling away their newsfeed and targeting them there can be a bit colossal. One must explore avenues  like Instagram and WhatsApp marketing. At the same time, having a sleep website which is easy and fast to navigate through is important. A beautiful and visceral UX can instantly hook the visitor with your website. Last but not least, imagine a world where suddenly Facebook and Twitter is shut down. How do you plan to reach out to your customers? This is why email marketing is important and acing that will help you have a better connection with your clients. 

This time is not easy on any of us. We are all in this together. However, with the right kind of strategy and adequate amount of budget, any brand can leverage the benefit of digital marketing during the days of lockdown. Sales or no sales, one thing their brands are going to make sure: remain connected with the consumers with the right kind of message flaunting the ‘do-good’ side of the company which is mostly needed during such crisis moments. 

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