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It’s been written countless times already, but the pandemic has changed virtually every industry, and has had a uniquely fierce impact on the marketing landscape. In today’s digital and 24/7 media world, as it adapts to a seemingly ever-changing “new normal,” marketers must be quicker than ever to pivot at a moment’s notice: Attention and time are currencies that have become priceless commodities. From working from home (while perhaps providing child or elder care) to the constantly growing number of screens, devices and other entertainment options millions have access to, consumers are busier, more fragmented and more distracted than ever before. From a marketing perspective, what might have worked or been considered best practices less than 24 months ago has been thrown out the window.
Here are some key disruptive shifts that will change the marketing world over the next decade-plus.
1. The fostering of real human connection
In marketing, messaging is and always will be king, and empathy, warmth and compassion are just a few emotions that consumers are expecting from favorite brands. Lacking authenticity is an instant turnoff for audiences, with no shortage of competitors for them to turn to. It is mission critical for marketers to strike the right balance in their messaging and approach to this though: If it comes off as too over-the-top, forced or tone deaf, it will backfire and leave a bad taste.
Also, with so many individuals having dealt with their own personal struggles and hardships throughout the pandemic, the last thing they want is for a brand to sell at them and push generic marketing messages. Consumers are looking for hope, answers, support, compassion, a laugh or anything that solves a problem or provides them with a much-needed distraction.
Related: What I Learned About Business and Human Connection From Live Streaming for 100 Straight Days
2. The metaverse
Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse is just getting started, and marketers paying attention appreciate that it will become a new frontier. Because, even though we in the U.S. are beginning to see light at the end of the pandemic tunnel (even if it’s in the form of a fast-evolving vaccine process), there are other countries now entering into more lockdowns. Countless millions are still or will be stuck at home, many accepting that they may be working remotely for quite some time. As a result, they are spending more time in the digital space than ever, both professionally and in leisure hours, which has presented marketers with the chance to create online campaigns that catch their attention.
3. Micro-influencers killing off the corporate spokesperson
“Who is delivering today’s message or experiences?” That’s usually the million-dollar question … until now. Every social-media platform has seen a rapid increase of users flock to their apps since the start of the pandemic. With so many consuming digital media at record numbers, influencers capable of building trust and credibility became the new darlings of brand messaging. These macro- and micro-influencers brought much needed authenticity and relatability to consumers looking to connect in a more genuine manner, as opposed to the traditional approach of a stuffy, corporate mascot or A-List celebrity spokesperson.
Related: How Influencer Marketing Took Power, and What the Future Holds
As marketers and PR professionals lay out plans for 2022, all eyes are on the upcoming media strategies that will be most prevalent in the year to follow. If the current pandemic has taught the industry anything, it’s that individuals must be vigilant when it comes to the ever-evolving media landscape if they want to best serve their clients and businesses. As you begin to plan for success, keep these media strategies top of mind to drive ROI and true impact.