COVID-19 and the Return to Traditional Marketing

As the summer of 2020 passes, Americans are still dealing with the realities of living in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The year has been challenging for everyone, including businesses of every stripe. Innovative marketing is paramount for a company to prosper during such challenging times. 

Sometimes, however, tradition can be the most innovative idea of all.

Americans, besieged by a virus and often required to remain at home and isolated from others, have returned to more “traditional” activities for much of their entertainment. People are spending more time with immediate family or others they share their living spaces with, and have embraced activities that reflect that decision. Starting in April, Google Trends shows search queries for terms like “baking” and “gardening” skyrocketed to levels well above average, and various TV service providers have boasted increases in audience engagement. Finally, retail giant Amazon has seen a significant surge in consumer engagement, with customers interested in delivery services and online shopping as a means for minimizing potential contact with others. 

These two ideas – that Americans are re-familiarizing themselves with tradition and doing much of their purchasing from the comfort of their own homes – provides a great window of opportunity for the savvy marketing professional. Smart marketers will capitalize on these trends by combining a traditional marketing campaign with the convenience of digital shopping. 

Truly, there’s never been a better time to roll out a marketing campaign based on tangible, print marketing products like colorful catalogs or thoughtful postcards. There are plenty of examples to consider. 

For companies that offer a broad range of products, now is a great time to mail out a catalog full of colorful images and easy-to-follow ordering information. This will remind customers that you’re with them, even while they’re isolated at home, and you hope to offer a comfortable, easy-to-read catalog that will aid their at-home shopping. 

For a simpler approach, marketers can choose to utilize a well-designed postcard with a thoughtful message that fortifies your relationship with customers and keeps your brand visible during times of isolation. And for those who are starting a part-time job or side hustle during the pandemic, a quick and cost-effective direct mail marketing campaign can be a good way to bolster support amongst a local or regional customer base. 

And of course, print doesn’t have to be exclusively print. Everyone’s got a smartphone, and integrating interactive technology like QR codes in your print marketing designs can provide customers with a convenient way to jump from the piece they hold in their hand to the point-of-purchase. 

Finally, there’s always the option of just mailing coupons. Perhaps the most well-received of all direct mail, a few coupons to loyal customers can remind them of why they value their relationship with your business. Coupons should be formatted to encourage online purchases, helping increase the rate of purchases made and bolster your brand’s relationship to those customers.  

Still not convinced? Just remember the numbers provided by smallbizgenius in their 2019 article about the effectiveness of direct mail. 73 percent of Americans prefer receiving direct mail to email when it comes to marketing. That sounds like as good a reason as any to return to tradition.

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