By Stéphane Amarsy,
Chairman of the board of Splio + D-AIM
Covid-19 has profoundly changed our lives and will continue to do so in the months and years to come. While lockdown measures, restrictions and mass vaccinations will return us to some semblance of normalcy, many professions will no longer be the same. Marketing, in particular, will be forced to adapt to a new and unfamiliar era of brands and businesses. Stéphane Amarsy, CEO of D-AIM, shares his point of view with INfluencia.
What impact will this unprecedented moment in history have on consumer buying behaviors? How can marketers adapt to and predict future changes?
Things won’t go back to how they were
Will consumer habits stay unchanged after this crisis? The odds of this happening are low. The pandemic has impacted everyone in society and influenced individual behaviors specifically. From media and retail to banking and real estate, the list of sectors affected by Covid-19 just gets longer every day. There’s also been an increase in specific trends such as sustainability, buying local and even the drive-through. The idea that things will go back to how they were before, based on the pattern of previous consumption habits, just doesn’t make sense.
A new challenge for marketing
For marketing professionals, adapting to these new consumer behaviors must be made a priority. When a market undergoes rapid transformation, businesses and brands can only become or remain key players through their ability to adapt and predict change. Before the crisis, brands applied standardized marketing strategies based on the law of large numbers, such as massive email campaigns on a certain trend and targeted ads for specific segments. But all these techniques are based on theories established in the pre-Covid-19 world. They are outdated and, as such, will have an exceptionally high failure rate. We have entered a new era where relationships have evolved and will continue to evolve at the pace of consumers, who increasingly expect to be treated as individuals rather than as part of a group. The time has come for relationship marketing to make a strategic shift that respects individual needs.
Personalize the customer journey
Authentically personalized marketing has long seemed just out of reach. While sending tailor-made communication to each individual is the best way to build and ensure loyalty, the actual mechanics are humanly impossible. For this reason, many tasks are now delegated to algorithms. With AI, the customer journey can be individualized, from analyzing purchasing behaviors to personalizing communications in terms of content and timing. So, if the pandemic has left our old methods of analysis and decision-making behind, that means it’s time to create new ones—ones with greater accuracy and the ability to understand what makes each consumer unique.
Automation: new tools for a new set of challenges
In these uncertain times, the rules of the marketing game have changed. The line between buying for pleasure and buying for necessity has been blurred and the purchase rate of many products has been
dramatically altered. Marketing must continually adapt to these considerable and complex changes. When today’s post-pandemic consumers receive irrelevant or intrusive marketing messages, they are more likely than ever before to lose trust in the offending brands. There’s no excuse for these marketing blunders, however. In this age of AI and automated marketing tools, we can now provide each consumer with a “virtual marketer” of sorts who is in charge of analyzing and predicting his or her needs. While this amount of attention to the individual might have seemed excessive before Covid-19, it now feels vital.
The pandemic as an indicator of necessary change
Creating genuinely individualized customer relationships was a challenge long before Covid-19. But the current health crisis has pushed marketing professionals to radically change their strategies by incorporating AI into the customer relationship. In this way, the pandemic has been both an indicator of and catalyst for the transformation. Relationship marketing today involves viewing each consumer as an individual, something that can only be achieved by joining the forces of artificial and human intelligence.