Shut behind doors, connected via devices – that’s the best way we can describe our lives for more than three months. We’re living the new ‘normal’ as we connect via social media and maintain physical distancing. The current COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of digital readiness for seamless business and personal lives.
From an industry perspective, this realisation has also fuelled spends and growth for digital marketing businesses. According to an industry report by Dentsu Aegis Network, digital marketing in India would be worth Rs. 17,000 crore by the end of 2020. The massive expansion in digital viewership over the lockdown period has also led to high hopes from this sector.
In this blog, I underline how every business can ride this wave of digital marketing and reach new heights.
1. Obvious digital gains:
The most obvious business opportunities for digital marketing are those with a direct online presence and retail connect. These include online education, telehealth, FMCG and digital payments. It’s no wonder then that edutech brands like BYJUS and Vedantu, as well as payment platforms like GPay, Amazon Pay, PayTM and Airtel Money, have increased their ad spends right now.
2. Grow to digital heights:
The most significant learning, I believe, for any business post-COVID-19 is to build and maintain the necessary infrastructure to have a digital footprint. When news apps see a 41% increase in time spend and consumption (BARC India’s findings), only print operations and non-digital companies are struggling to breathe.
To survive, these brands need to establish a digital presence right now, for which they’re connecting with other platforms. Treat this as a wakeup call and immediately invest in the necessary infrastructure – talent, data facilities, online marketplaces and online revenue models, or you may face the threat of a shutdown.
3. Serve for digital gains:
The large number of businesses who are still not online have created an immense opportunity for both local, national and international companies with tech know-how, AI and server abilities to serve this need.
Microsoft has reported a 775% increase in demand for cloud computing services, while better connectivity is fuelling the millions who’re now working from home. VPN networks, AI solutions, chatbots and online marketplaces are here and so are branding solutions that will continue to enable them.
4. Finding a ‘healthy’ brand line:
The locked-in period saw a lot of change in people’s shopping patterns, as they resumed cooking at home, stocking FMCG essentials and making health-conscious choices. That, from a digital marketing perspective, means the need to shift every brand’s position to a ‘health’ centred message.
Whether it is five-star hotels packing cook-in-a-box meals, clothing brands selling cloth masks, consumer appliance brands pushing air quality products or businesses advertising how they are working on environmentally conscious or labour-friendly lines, the idea is to find a space and consolidate it with the values of the times. And there’s no cost-effective and large-scale way to do this than going digital!
5. Vocal support for local
The Aatmanirbhar call was not a standalone statement by PM Narendra Modi. The pause on international trade and regional connectivity has forced many businesses to think local for raw materials, operational needs, marketing, supply chain and retail solutions. This means that nascent startups in digital marketing also have a fighting chance in supporting the newly emerging, local economy.
Proudly promoting yourself as local or Indian is a vital branding message and one that most brands can capitalise on. You can see this with newly emerging brands and Indian-lines in FMCG, health and wellness as well as apparel.
So, what are you waiting for? Join the digital bandwagon right now and capitalise on the gains from these turbulent times. Your move now can mean life or death for your brand, especially as we emerge on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis.