Over the past 2 months, humanity has gone through an unprecedented crisis of our lifetimes that has resulted in altering human behaviour, attitudes and way of life. The familiar customer pattern and know customer segment are now things of the past. People have become aware of the environment and the times they live in; they are more aware and matured. The importance of personal hygiene is of utmost importance. People have also realized that how much their wellbeing is dependent upon science, politics and business altogether.
“It takes 21 days to create a habit and 90 days to create a lifestyle”
As we have already spent more than two months in lockdown and a vaccine is yet to come. Hence it is the duty of the marketers to understand the new habits which are close to becoming a new lifestyle and formulate their marketing strategies accordingly. “Change” is the only constant we have now. Human interactions, digital platforms and the contributions to the society are the only three ways marketers have right now.
Human Interactions: Humans are social animals so they feel the desperate need to communication with each other. While communicating, they usually share their experiences with each other. Businesses or corporates can particularly take advantage of this behaviour to understand public needs and strategize public relations. Earlier most of the business did not reveal details about their operations to the general public. They only used to reveal to their stakeholders because it was mandatory to get the funds. But now the situation has changed as each business is facing fund crisis and clarity in business is required to further influence the investors who judge corporates by their value creations in the market. So many firms have taken PR as an active communications strategy to promote their business. So what is actually PR? PR is the image your companyhas amongst general public or to the customers. The main motive of PR is to generate trust among the consumers about the brand. So the PR strategies must be performed in a very delicate way so that it conveys only a positive image about the company which in turn helps to build trust and brand loyalty . In press releases or press conferences board members should talk about the challenges your company is facing to run the business and the major areas where the company has failed to serve their customers. Admitting the failures and difficulties only makes the firm move like a living entity and humans get sympathetic towards living things. With proper clarity in business corporates can become a trusted partner to even their customers. But if a company fails to admit their mistake or their difficulties in a sympathetic manner than PR strategies can back fire the firm as well. It has happened many times with various corporate leaders that they were not able to communicate properly about their business in media platforms which resulted in lost faith in both consumers and investors and the cost of a bad public image is very high as it involves redesigning the products, value statements and may even affect the mission and vision of the firm as well. At the same time PR communications should not feel like typical marketing promotions.
Digital Platforms: Digital in the order of the day.As people are stuck at home they are spending a lot of time on their mobile devises, laptops and televisions. As school, colleges and office everything is closed so consumers are mostly active on different digital platforms. These digital platforms are connected by internet and any marketing scheme by these digital platforms is known as digital marketing. During this pandemic, digital marketing is the most effective tool the marketers have to strong hold their brand’s presence with minimum cost. The most common digital marketing tools are web designing, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, online review based marketing and digital rural marketing. The most effective way to start digital marketing is by creating a company’s website (web designing). All the big companies have designed their websites in such a manner that it attracts most of the potential customers and able to retain them with enough relevant contents about their products. Similarly, SEO is a tool which helps your company website to appear in most relevant searches related to your service. With SEO, consumers are more likely to find out your business in the internet. The third digital marketing tool is social media marketing. Social media marketing is very useful for any start-up or small business as it rarely involves any cost. Different social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. are used for different purpose by the consumer so social media marketing strategy will be also different for each different platforms. If you want to expand your business and you are looking for new business partners then you should choose LinkedIn as a marketing platform where as to promote your products or services you may choose Facebook or Instagram. Now online review based marketing is gaining popularity day by day and best example of this tool can be seen in review section of different apps in google play store. Online review marketing is the advanced version of customer relationship management (CRM). The tone of reply to the reviews plays a vital role. If you want to expand your business in rural areas then the most effective tools available are telemarketing, SMS marketing and email marketing. The challenge in rural regions is poor internet connectivity, so effective digital rural marketing schemes can do wonders in those cases.
Contributions to the society: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a government rule where companies have to spend two percent of their annual revenue to social development. Big companies like ITC, HUL, Tata Group have taken millennium development goals. They have established schools, hospitals, women empowerment schemes and technical skill development programs to empower the whole rural population. But any contribution to the society is greater contribution to the whole mankind. Proper awareness about these contributions also needs to be created by communication with general public where PR and Digital marketing again plays a very vital role.
Wrapping Up: So the next generation marketing tools require next generation business smartness and proper guidance in order to survive in the business. Marketing will become less expensive in many forms but the effectiveness has to be measured and corrected in each and every steps.