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Smart Marketing in Difficult Times of Covid-19

Ladies and Gentlemen, I feel immensely grateful to have gotten through this tough year 2020. A lot has happened, All of us have been affected in some way or the other. So we all did find some or the other way to cope up with the changing scenarios in general and marketing as well. 

Upgrading ourselves

The same thing has been seen across businesses since lockdown was imposed and the world came to an almost standstill. Thus, it became the need of the hour to upgrade ourselves from the conventional modes of reaching out to the public if not done already. This is also important because people started to use their phones and laptops almost every hour of the day. Earlier we used our phones once in a while to socialise with our friends. But, now from studies to coping up with boredom and everything else that is necessary is on our mobile phones.

With that being said, a lot of uprising startups and businesses found the opportunity to reach out to the audience at almost no cost. Since most of us dwell a lot on social media these days be it a casual platform (specifically talking about social media but the thought can be extended to websites, YouTube channels etc.) like Instagram or a professional platform like LinkedIn when there are so many products and services out there the choices for the customers are increasing every single day. Now if you think something like a “Clickbait” or using other black hat tricks could help you get sales sorry to disappoint you.

Understanding Digital Marketing and Clickbait

Clickbait might get your target customer on your page or profile for a while but if his/her expectations are not met. They will leave and probably never come back because now for them you are topping their SPAM list. However, if you act smart and put out the value proposition about your product you might not have a chance of direct sales. But, they will keep coming back to see what’s in your store for them and then there is a good chance to convert sales and make them your regular customers.

Now, this has been done in multiple ways.

For eg, 

  1. Spread positivity: People have been facing more challenges than ever every day as a brand as and when you get to connect with your audience you must spread a word of positivity. Only if you post meaningful content which helps your audience to resonate better with your brand will help you grab all the meaningful attention you need. Maybe share with them some common incidents which they can relate to and possibly realise they’re not alone in this and most importantly you care for them.
  2. Memes: Well it’s 2020 we all are bored sitting indoors now who doesn’t like to have good laugh once in a while. If your content creation team could produce a couple of memes you can have a good number of leads generated and a great re-call.
  3. Giving back: 2020 by nature has only taken everything away from us, now the brands have pretty good opportunity to connect with their audience and give back to the community. There has been such a struggle going on since day one and if you can touch your customers with the right intent you’re the king.  You could give away any possible freebie that could also act as the sample of your quality and thus could propagate the word of mouth marketing.

The Game of Ads

If I were to extend this discussion beyond the scope of present digital marketing places like social media, websites, writing a blog to promote and grow your brand, or maybe have a YouTube channel where you directly interact with your audience and maybe talk about how your product or service can provide the solution to a certain problem they might be facing currently. 

But I see some businesses are taking it to the next level by running ‘ads’ in the video games. And this happens as if you watch an ad for 30 sec or so you will be given ‘game credits’. Now there are two sides of it, if you put out an ad for another game in some popular game application there is a chance that person will be interested to try out a new game, but the other one is recklessly running ads in-game which again doesn’t make any sense.

For eg. last night I came across an ‘insurance ad’ while I was playing a football video game. To me, this seems pretty pointless and less optimized. I’m here to play a game and blow off steam. Moreover, I’m still a student like most of the people playing the game and perhaps our family members are calling shots about which insurance company to trust, so what good will it do to your brand to constantly spam me with your ads. Perhaps, if the ad provided me with some insight about why insurance is essential. It is absolutely important for us to invest in an insurance plan and later told about how their company provides top-notch services. Maybe, they would still stand a chance to convert some young people to take their insurance plans. But, you see how one can be smart about putting the brand out there.

Building a Brand

Let’s talk about the importance of branding, and branding smartly and not in a forced, less organic or corny ways. We simply can’t ignore discussing one of the smartest strategy ever made by a leading sports goods manufacturing company called ‘Nike’. The marketing theory of Nike is to honour great athletes.

Let me elaborate, pick out any Nike ad. They always have the top class athlete using their product and the idea is ‘Nike is a brand that champions trust’. So, every time you walk into a Nike store or you make a purchase you feel the same way. You feel that you have invested in good sports equipment that will help you reach your peak performance. Now, that they have gained your trust for every commodity be it – sneakers, T-shirt, shorts or anything they put their ‘swoosh’ on, they get to charge you a premium price. Think about it!

The first poster shows sneakers inspired by Michael Jordan one of the greatest basketball players in the history of basketball. The second one is about Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the finest football player who happens to have a lifetime contract with Nike.

Summary

People have shifted from listening to the radio and watching television to being stuck on their mobile phones and laptops 24×7. Hence we need to make ourselves visible where our customers are. Thus it is super essential for us to build a digital presence. Running ads is an important component of digital marketing but it’s not the only part. Moreover, if done without setting specific goals and recklessly, ads can do more harm than good. Customers love to understand the value your business provides. So focusing on the value component instead of constantly spamming them with the ads is a much better idea. Lastly, people need to recognise your product in a pool of variety of products. Thus, it becomes necessary to build your own unique identity which your customers can easily identify and to relate with.


About the author:

Jatin Gupta is an MBA student from Thapar University.
He was a participant of Optimization – an article writing competition organised jointly by Mercur- IMarketing club of IIM Indore and Marketing Lake.

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