Gone are the days when brands solely focus on sales and conversions. In this post-pandemic era, everything is going to be about conversations, social issues, engagement, and information. Connecting with your audience will be key for your team to increase sales and revenue. To do that, you’ll either have to look forwards or backwards.
However, it’s hard to look to the future and the past at the same time, so we recommend concentrating on one or the other. There are elements of both of these marketing strategies that you may want to consider, but you will increase sales if you focus your marketing strategy on one of these two strategies.
“The New Normal” and “Take Me Back”
There are two marketing strategies that will engage your audience and grow your brand in today’s climate:
- The “New Normal.” Talk to your market within the nuance of a modern customer’s experience. We’re all experiencing a dramatic shift toward a future reality following the pandemic.
- “Take Me Back.” We’re all nostalgic for what we’ve lost. Looking back to positive memories can elicit positive emotions.
People have everything online at their fingertips, Including oodles of misinformation. And since the pandemic hit us, consumers are turning to their favorite brands for support as well as information now more than ever. People are looking to consume content that adds the exact value they are looking for rather than mindlessly scrolling on platforms. Hence, brands are constantly on their toes to create value-adding, conversational, story-driven content to engage with their audience.
Let’s examine both of these marketing strategies further so you can decide which fits your business.
“New Normal” Marketing
Marketing has become a two-way street. No longer can brands just simply shout at their audience and expect them to engage with their content. Simply launching content into the void that is the internet is not going to get any results. You’ll need a more advanced approach and understanding of the customer’s experience. This article from Harvard Business Review gives many helpful examples of how to reframe your approach. One of our favorites is:
“Old truth: Courting customers is just like dating.
New truth: Courting customers is just like online dating.”
In both examples, your company is “dating” the customer; yet, there is far more nuance to online dating.
- There is heightened importance to include the most important information at the top of a dating profile. Attention spans no longer exist.
- You have to be completely truthful because anyone can look you up online.
- Cliches will get you fewer matches.
- If you aren’t saying something explicitly, then it’s assumed you are hiding it.
- You are deciding which way to swipe based on the limited information in just a few slides.
- Images are worth a thousand words and videos are worth a thousand images.
People are becoming woke in terms of content consumption. Much like with online dating profiles, customers engage better with brands that stand up for a purpose and clearly communicate their values and ethics. And much like you won’t get any dates without any matches, you won’t increase sales without increasing engagement.
But how do you make your communication more effective to increase engagement? By getting your brand game on and stepping up your social listening game. Make a habit of visiting platforms like Quora and Reddit, where a plethora of small and niche communities can be discovered that’ll help you understand your target audience better. Participate in the same spaces that your customers are. Then leverage your understanding of your customers to provide meaningful and informative content for your audience.
It’s a challenge of relevance. Brands that can demonstrate that “we’re here, we’re with you, we’re all in this together” have the advantage. “New Normal” means truly embracing what’s new and having conversations that matter with your audience in the places online where they are already having those conversations.
“Take Me Back” Marketing
Everyone feels that twinge of what has been lost in the past few years: weddings; concerts; restaurants; trips; going to the office; and so much more.
This marketing strategy requires you to help bring your market back to what they’ve lost.
“Take Me Back” marketing, or nostalgia marketing is a way in which you communicate with your targeted audience that attaches strong positive emotions to your brand. This type of marketing gives a sentimental boost and connects your brand with the customers’ positive memories from the past.
As Square puts it, “While the concept is not new, it’s become more popular in recent times and is used by companies of all sizes and across industries, from Netflix to McDonald’s. And that’s because it works.”
Why is this currently among the major social media trends? Well, because of the pandemic. People are looking to escape the harsh truths of the current reality and what better way to do so than by remembering the good old days before 2020? The pandemic lockdowns might fade away as we receive our vaccines and get back to work, but the effects are going to haunt our reality for years to come.
Therefore, if you make your consumers feel good when engaging with you, they’ll associate that feeling with your brand. And because our brains associate memories with emotions, bringing up those positive memories with your target audience could elicit positive emotions toward your brand.
Always Be Connecting
Regardless if your brand is forward-looking (New Normal) or anchoring on the past (Take Me Back), it’s all driven by a simple idea, “always be connecting.”
Since most people are working from home and living in relative isolation, they are looking to connect with new people now more than ever. Furthermore, they are now making those connections on multiple platforms. Instead of only checking out your Facebook page, they are now Googling you to see which platforms you have a presence on. Here are some of the current platforms that businesses are using to connect with their customers.
- Public Facebook Groups
- Private Facebook Groups
What brands need to do is create a safe space for their consumers to reach out, share their experiences, concerns, and opinions, or seek out any information they want by using different platforms. Much like a person on a dating app would want to chat with their match before going on a date, a modern customer will want to at least see these conversations happening before trusting you with a purchase. And trying to increase sales without increasing purchases is an impossible task, indeed.
Create content that drives conversation and engagement, stand up for what you and your brand believe in, and, most importantly, take part in conversations on different forums. Don’t stay silent where your audience and community members are expecting you to stand up, no matter which marketing strategy you choose.
Most brands have already created their community during the pandemic and will now be seeing the benefits of having a strong community in the coming years. But the internet is the great equalizer, so it’s never too late for you to do the same!
Start with an angle — the “New Normal” or “Take Me Back” — and connect with your customers every day.
Looking for help amplifying your brand with provocative campaigns? We’re here to help!