How To Pivot Your Digital Marketing After COVID: 5 Ways To Win

Last updated on June 22nd, 2023

The COVID threat may not be gone yet, but the end is in sight. To win in the post-pandemic world, marketing has to pivot again. Start by understanding five key economic trends that are shaping consumer behavior. 

Here at APEX-CMO-Search we can help you understand the impact on your marketing leaders. Here are keys to understanding how to pivot after covid.

Understanding What’s Changed: Five Trends That Impact Marketing

Five trends are shaping the economy and customer preferences in the post COVID world.

1) Ecommerce Growth Has Accelerated

Ecommerce growth, including delivery and fulfillment services, has grown significantly in the past year. In May 2021, the United Nations reported on the growth of ecommerce for multiple countries:

  • USA. Online retail sales have grown from $519 billion in 2018 to $791 billion in 2020. The online share of retail sales has grown from 9.9% of total retail sales in 2018 to 14% in 2020.
  • UK. The UK’s adoption of ecommerce is outpacing the US. In 2020, 23% of UK retail sales were online compared to 14.9% in 2018.
  • Canada. While a smaller market, Canadian online spending has more than doubled from $13.9 billion in 2018 to $28.1 billion in 2020

The ecommerce is not just about volume. Consumers are also buying other groceries online in increasing numbers.

What The Ecommerce Boom Means For Chief Officer of Marketing

Investing marketing resources in ecommerce opportunities needs to be a top focus, especially for consumer-focused companies.

2) Remote Work Is Here To Stay

The pandemic forced millions of people to switch to long-term remote work. As vaccines roll out, it is clear that many companies and employees do not want to return to pre-pandemic working patterns. Fast Company reports that 52% of men and 60% of women would quit their jobs if they were not allowed to work remotely on a part-time basis. This will help you pivot after covid.

What The Remote Work Trend Means For Marketing Leaders

The rise of remote work and hybrid work (i.e., a combination of in-office and remote work) has two implications for marketing leaders. First, marketing leaders need to look for ways to offer flexibility and remote work to attract and retain marketing talent. Second, marketing leaders may want to revisit their spending on billboards and downtown areas.

3) The Pent Up Demand Boom

In April 2021, the household savings rate was 14.5%, nearly double pre-pandemic levels (i.e., 7.6% in January 2020), according to the St Louis Fed. Many households have paid down debt while others have saved funds. The boom in pandemic savings – Bloomberg estimates global consumers saved over $2 trillion during the pandemic – poses a significant opportunity for marketers.

In the short term, marketers can emphasize luxury experiences over price promotions. Not convinced? We checked Google Trends to compare how searches for “luxury” vs. “cheapest” have trended. In March 2020, searches for “luxury” fell to 53 out of 100 interest. By July 2021, searches for luxury had nearly doubled to 98. Searches for “cheapest” have increased in 2021, but they have consistently lagged behind luxury searches.

How marketing leaders can take Advantage Of Pent Up Demand

There are a few ways to respond to pent-up demand and help you pivot after covid.

  • Align To The Current Conversation. Start by testing new marketing copy to speak to themes like “revenge travel” and “reopening.” Connecting to these trends will show your brand is connected to top of mind consumer concerns.
  • Promote Renovations and Upgrades. Some companies have taken advantage of reduced customer demand during the pandemic to invest in technology and facilities. Talk to your business partners and clients to find out what they’ve been working on. You may find that there are new marketing angles to develop.
  • Address Lingering Health Concerns In Marketing. As of July 2021, millions of American adults have not been vaccinated against COVID-19. That means that consumers may still have fears about infection. Think about ways you can acknowledge this fear and address it. For example, emphasize a hotel’s outdoor facilities.

4) Develop Corporate Social Responsibility Campaigns

A growing number of brands are winning attention by embracing activism and social responsibility to a greater degree.

  • 15 Percent Pledge. Retailers such as J. Crew, Old Navy, the Gap, Macy’s, and Bloomingdale’s have signed the Pledge. The Pledge involves allocating a minimum of 15% of shelf space and contracts to Black-owned businesses and suppliers. If your company exceeds the 15% level, you may be able to distinguish yourself from competitors.
  • Climate Change. Responding to climate change is an essential priority for many companies. According to the World Wildlife Fund, 60% of Fortune 500 companies have goals to address climate change. However, 80% of companies lack a climate goal that covers the entire value chain. If your company has recently achieved a significant environmental milestone, consider creating a promotion around that achievement. It may help to attract consumers particularly concerned about climate change.
How To Take Respond To The Corporate Social Responsibility Trend

There are a few ways to pivot your marketing in response to these trends. Start by gathering data about your company’s performance on racial equality, climate change, and other challenges. You may find that your company has made significant progress over the past few years. In that case, consider running a campaign highlighting your company’s accomplishments.

5) Experiment With Emerging Marketing Opportunities

The final pivot opportunity is to put more resources into experimentation. For example, consider taking inspiration from companies like 3M and Google that have encouraged their staff to experiment with new ideas.

  • Explore Newer Social Platforms. Your brand may have a large following on well-known social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. However, you might not be active on newer platforms like TikTok or Clubhouse. Getting started now on those platforms may give you an early adopter advantage.
  • Restart Direct Mail. In the B2B world, direct mail marketing has been sharply reduced during the pandemic because few people were in offices. As more workers return to offices, consider restarting your direct mail program. By acting quickly, you may be able to stand out in the mostly empty mailbox.
  • Experiment With Marketing Technologies. According to the Chief Marketing Technologist blog, more than 8,000 marketing technology companies are in the market. Invite your staff to spend some time using free trials and researching innovation opportunities. After suffering cutbacks in 2020, marketing leaders should advocate for a budget to invest in technology to gain an edge.

The Final Piece Of Your Marketing Pivot

Without the right marketing talent to develop ideas and execute campaigns, it is tough to act on these trends. Talk to us today about innovative ways to find marketing talent to reinvigorate your business for pivoting after COVID. Apex-CMO-Search is here to help, contact APEX for further information.

Found this blog informative? Find out more on our Insights page.

Jamie McClelland


Ready to get started? Click here to take the next exciting step!

Dive deeper and discover all we have to offer