By Raghav Bagai
The devastating impact of the coronavirus has affected all sectors and changed the lives of many, causing companies and individuals to come to a complete halt. Well-established businesses also struggle to navigate through the pandemic, and digital marketing agencies are no exception. The impact of the pandemic has affected each business, company and digital agency differently.
For example, companies that had mapped their digital marketing strategies for two to three years got their marketing teams to think creatively and rethink goals based on the impact of the pandemic. Similarly, many agencies have redefined and refined their existing set of business goals and strategies to overcome the pandemic.
The year 2020 was the year of change for all companies. Home isolation and sudden closures accelerated the adoption of digital technologies. In addition, the unexpected start of the second wave of the pandemic forced all organizations, digital marketing agencies and clients to take the curve of digital adoption overnight. This has created a larger space for digital marketing agencies to test customer initiatives to understand and scale during the crisis.
To thrive in the world of the pandemic, many innovative digital marketing agencies have stepped up to change their work culture and lead to a massive upswing in digital adoption.
Switch to a digital / virtual work format
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the way businesses operate and the most efficient step is adopting a cloud-based working format. The virtual workplace infrastructure has given digital marketing agencies the edge they need to scale despite challenges. Given the pandemic-induced lockdown, agencies can identify different digital work functions and reinvent them without a physical workspace.
Digitally reimagining and rebuilding the minute to core functions can serve as the foundation for an improved and secure operating model. This also helps agencies develop a hybrid operating model leveraging the best of in-person and remote work functions.
Creative agencies are responsible for crafting creative communication strategies for existing brands. With people homebound, they spend more time online. Their expectations on the Internet are changing and brands also need to transform their communication strategies and how they present themselves online, evolve and boost their online presence. To successfully navigate through the pandemic, agencies must humanize brands while maintaining their core values.
To produce a healthy relationship with customers, brands must humanize their approach in a way that maximizes engagement and relationship with the brand. It means overcoming all cold corporate strategies like simply pushing brand offerings, being more empathetic to your audience to have a winning edge over the competition. For example, to be identifiable, if a brand caters to GenZ, it has to speak in the language of memes, as this target group is not fooled by hard selling techniques.
Transformative change in agency culture
The COVID-19 pandemic is a human health crisis, and similarly, employees need to be approached from a more understanding angle. Taking care of the team becomes one of the most crucial factors to overcome the pandemic and emerge stronger. To provide broad support to employees and their families, many agencies have devised initiatives to help them cope with the exacerbated impact of the pandemic. For example, some agencies provided financial support in the form of zero-pay deduction leave for their COVID-positive employees. Additionally, many agencies included ‘no layoffs’ and posted ‘advanced salaries’ specifically for team members who are battling the most pressing challenges during the crisis.
In addition to this, digital marketing agencies are organizing vaccination campaigns for their employees and their families. This practice helps employees return to the workplace stronger and makes them feel like the agency is behind them. Bringing these changes into the agency’s work culture increases the emotional well-being of employees and keeps them positive during these times.
Understand the growing dependence on digital for brands
As the digital landscape continues to transform the marketing landscape, brands also understand how they must adjust their business objectives and strategies accordingly. From being only visible on social media to using digital to build business, brands have become more performance-driven and their expectation for ROI from digital has increased over the last year. Agencies must understand changing needs and prepare strategies to address them.
The pandemic is not going to completely change the landscape of digital marketing. However, some necessary changes will alter the agencies. If these necessary changes are made, agencies that can creatively position themselves in the market will be at an advantage. By understanding customer goals, changing times, and employee needs, digital marketing agencies can build a strong brand and navigate the crisis smoothly.
The author is a co-founder of Sociowash. The opinions expressed are personal.
Also read: Covid-19 registers high spending by states and the central government; AdEx stood at Rs 165 crore between March 2020 and June 2021
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