• Joyce Yang

The Only Constant in Life is Change

COVID-19 in 2020 is a global pandemic which changed the way we work and live. Consumer preferences, consumer behaviors, new products and services, size of the market, and the use of technology and regulations are all changing under COVID-19. And marketing professionals around the world need to adapt quickly with the evolving global business environment.


At my current workplace, our original marketing plan which was approved late last year was completely abolished after COVID-19. We are not alone. Businesses around the world are experiencing the same thing. Jill Avery and Richard Edelman wrote on the Harvard Business School website that “Recognizing that their existing brand creative might strike the wrong tone with people fearful for their own and their community’s health, and anxious about their personal and the world’s rapidly deteriorating economic situation, the Walmart marketing team pivoted quickly to produce and air new advertising creative that tapped into the rapidly changing zeitgeist. The result, the Retail Heroes campaign, featured CEO McMillon Zooming in remotely from home to thank the one million Walmart front line employees for their dedication to their work, he calls them heroes, not just to the company, but also to people around the globe.[1]



During COVID-19


Very few governments around the world had make in-depth efforts to prepare for pandemics at the COVID-19 level. The US, so called ‘leader of the free world’ is not handling the COVID-19 situation well. In fact, COVID-19 is out of control in the US. Currently, there are over 5.88 million confirmed cases and 181K death[2]. This has a strong impact on the confidence of the general public and dramatically changing consumer behaviours.


Some less known places, such as Taiwan has been doing a great job fighting COVID-19. Taiwan suffered from SARS back in 2003 and it had forced the island to create better defense system and immediate response mechanism towards outbreak of viruses.


Taiwan has over 23 million people (similar to Australia. The population in Australia is about 24 million.) and it’s a very densely populated place. Geographically, it’s very close to mainland China and because of this, a lot of people, including top health professionals predicted that Taiwan would soon fall to COVID-19 and it would be very difficult to control it. But so far, the COVID-19 confirmed cases are 487 and 7 death in Taiwan[3]. Comparing to most European countries, America and Australia, COVID-19 is under control in Taiwan. Business are open as usual in Taiwan and consumer confidence remains. But its travel industry still took a fatal hit. And it might take years to recover.


Across the globe, many countries are facing one of the biggest public health crises in recent history. And the economic impact is too large to even start to comprehend. As a key feature during COVID19 is how consumers are struggling to make ends meet. Millions of people are out of jobs or close to lose their jobs. This changed the general public’s confidence in governments and altered consumer purchasing habits. Therefore, digital marketing strategies for businesses are evolving with the current situation.


More conservative approach is more suited to the current turbulent environment. Definitely seeing a massive decrease in confidence for businesses to try new marketing plan of actions. Due to the infectious nature of this pandemic, businesses have shifted their marketing efforts online. Although it is hard to see it, but the upside of turbulent markets is that opportunities and new resources are being created continuously, and that agile organisations should be actively seeking global turbulent markets and opportunities. For example, the online telecommunications providers are experiencing enormous growth. Online industries, across retail, health and education are all thriving and developing during COVD19 phase. A familiar brand name under COVID-19 is ZOOM. Zoom says it has “more than 300 million daily users” and that “more than 300 million people around the world are using Zoom during this challenging time.”[4]


The only constant in life is change


“The only constant in life is change” – Heraclitus. The ability to adapt according to the changing environment is key to success to businesses. And this is the same for digital marketing strategies.

To adapt the digital marketing strategy and planning


What worked before COVID-19 is history. A lot has changed. Examining and adjusting marketing mix across products or services, content, media channels and media placements are needed. It is crucial for businesses to re-evaluate their digital marketing mix. Marketing managers need to work with the team and management to see the right adaptation for the digital marketing strategy and planning.

With most of the world working from home, businesses are forced to do things differently. And this is a great time to launch innovative digital marketing campaigns. It has been said that black swan events like pandemics tend to change the trajectories of businesses, economies, governments, and people. New ways of doing marketing has to emerge to cope with the changing environment.

For example, across many countries, we have seen a big drop in advertising spend.


Image from: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/coronavirus-advertising-marketing-covid19-pandemic-business/


3 Key Digital Marketing Strategies to Survive and Thrive

No. 1 Move your business online


If you haven’t done it, do it right now! Move your business online. Or at least it has to have a strong online presence. With most of the world –

  • People are at home

  • People are online

  • People are at home and online at the same time

It’s no longer an option, it’s a must. You need to bring your products online and into customers’ homes.


Mayer are Kmart are both expanding on their online offerings. There are more platforms to help small to medium size businesses to make their online stores integrated with online payment methods. Companies like Affirm and PayBright can be easily integrated into your e-commerce checkout flow to allow your customers to pay back the cost with monthly payments[5].


No. 2 Focus on social media ads

Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, WeChat, Weibo and other social media platforms are reporting huge spikes in usage and traffic since the outbreak for COVID-19.

Increasing your social media ads is essential if you want to generate sales and customers right now. You need ads to quickly reach potential customers, show that you’re in business and promote your new offerings to the target audience.


No. 3 Increase your online communications through CRM and email list

It’s crucial to increase your online communications with your existing customer base during COVID-19. If you cannot afford much paid advertising, it’s even more important to reach out to your CRM for existing customers or leads to run email campaigns to further engagement with them.

For example, MailChimp, an email automation software, is offering a price relief in support of small businesses affected by the outbreak.


Image from: https://mailchimp.com/


To understand in the changing customer behaviour


Before COVID-19, consumers had more trust in both governments and large brands. People now align much more closely with family, friends and local businesses. It’s very important for businesses to build their brand reputation by understanding the changing customer behaviours. When forming marketing strategies, customer-centric actions are the focus.

Really try to listen to your customers and get to know their needs better. What they are feeling and behaving are key factors to consider. Talk to frontline sales staff and others who are out there facing the customers. Also manage social media channels and review. Data and insights analysis on social media channels provide a window to see more closely of the changes on customer behaviour.

To identify market opportunities (online, online, online, wait…did online being mentioned)



Consumers have changed their shopping habits. Most of them are not going to shopping centres anymore, even when they’re still open. But shopping online has become more of a norm for many people. As businesses, especially under COVID-19, being able to identify market opportunities and quickly kick into action is key to survival and success. Marketing strategies, in particular the digital marketing strategies need to be considered more and more focuses need to be put in this area.


Your consumers are online, much more than before, so it is important that you are too. Focus on digital marketing efforts like SEO, paid ads, email marketing, and keeping your website updated and mobile optimization. All of the mentioned above will assist in the increase of reach and conversion. Furthermore, there are new opportunities online for businesses, keeping in trend and on track with the development in this space is a must.


Post-COVID19


In 2010 The Economist announced that the good news was that the world was emerging from recession. Unfortunately, no one can really tell when the Post-COVID19 phase will arrive. There are too many parameters that are yet to become clear in the next months or even years.


When the post-COVID19 economic landscape becomes transparent and predictable, businesses around the world can start to focus on marketing strategies for future growth, rather than just for short-term survival. More businesses will have more planning in the risk management area. And for governments, an effective mechanism and sovereign funds needs to be put in place for dealing with future global crisis.


As for individuals, some purchasing behavioral changes can be anticipated, such as being more practical, caring more about sustainability and the environment, less interests in luxury goods. Going forward, people, even the younger generation might start to consider saving is an essential habit to have. Businesses need to continue their efforts on keeping up with the changes in their digital marketing strategies to make sure survival and growth going forward.


[1] https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/what-customers-need-to-hear-from-you-during-the-covid-crisis [2] https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html [3] https://theconversation.com/what-coronavirus-success-of-taiwan-and-iceland-has-in-common-140455 [4] https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/23/21232401/zoom-300-million-users-growth-coronavirus-pandemic-security-privacy-concerns-response [5] https://stablewp.com/13-strategies-to-tackle-covid-19/ 歡迎點讚、留言或是提問題,Joyce很期待與你的互動 ^^

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