Tech Marketing Giants’ Secrets Uncovered

So much has changed since the Coronavirus Pandemic struck. Most, if not all, businesses took a huge step back and began to evaluate how their business can move forward during this challenging time. In April 2020, 46.6% of employed people in the UK started to work from home. From this, 86% of them did so due to COVID-19.

In this episode of Tech Talks, Managing Director and Owner of Copy House Ltd, Kathryn Strachan, joins CEO of Immediate Future, Katy Howell, to discuss the publication of their recently launched 50+ page CMO Technology Outlook Report.

Following a challenging year in the marketing industry, Katy and Kathryn took matters into their own hands by conducting interviews with CMOs and Marketing Managers from leading technology brands. They were curious to get their thoughts and opinions on marketing trends, how they dealt with COVID-19 and other external issues, such as Brexit, and how they plan to move forward with the new knowledge they posses.

The co-authors join panellists Andy Lambert, Director at ContentCal, Dr Christine Bailey, Founder of Sophia Marketing Ltd and Anton Shulke, Head of Influencer Marketing at Semrush, to get their first-hand opinions on tech brands marketing trends, their responses to COVID and their future plans within tech.

Impact of COVID-19 on Marketing Activities

It can be universally agreed that the pandemic did alter everyone’s lifestyle to some degree. Marketing was no different. The panellists all agreed that they had their fair share of challenges during the beginning of the pandemic. Dr. Christine Bailey, for instance, discussed the company which she had worked for had several small business clients such as restaurant owners, hairdressers, and barbers. For them, this period of time was extremely uncertain. It was estimated that the cost of COVID-19 on SME’s was over £126.6 billion. Although 25% of small business owners said that they should return to ‘pre-pandemic levels by 2022, others have estimated much longer or not at all. At the start of the pandemic, SME’s had to transition to the digital market as quickly as possible with little knowledge of the outcomes. It was a sink or swim scenario and a true learning curve for most people.

Although there are challenges, there are also rewards. Christine discusses how some things such as PPC (Pay-Per-Click) worked in her favour. “A lot of big brands just stopped doing their PPC, which made the cost per click so much cheaper”. She explained how when going digital; every penny had to be scrutinised, so every advantage was a bonus.

There were other advantages experienced by business owners during the pandemic. For example;

  • 17% of self-employed small business owners learnt a new skill.
  • 32% have been able to take some time off and rest.
  • 29% have found more time to focus on themselves.
  • 11% have adopted new digital technologies into their business.

Understanding your Audience

Understanding your audience is always crucial, particularly during a pandemic. The reason being is, consumers’ habits have altered due to their change in lifestyle. For instance, one thing which shocked panellist Christine was how successful email marketing had become, with 78% of marketeers seeing an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months.

The panel were undoubtedly in agreement. Anton noticed a very similar trend. He explained how he had several different clients, and some struggled immensely whilst others prospered and took full advantage of the troubling time.

“Knowing your customer is everything.”

Anton Shulke, Head of Influencer Marketing at Semrush.

Anton had noticed that many new businesses struggled because they lacked knowledge of SEO and did not quite understand the importance of user experience. However, for those who had some knowledge or even advanced SEO knowledge, their business thrived during the pandemic.

Impact of Social Media during the Pandemic

Copy House

The growth of social media over the last 12 months is astronomical. There has been a 13% growth in social media, 521 million new people added to social channels and 4.3 billion people worldwide actively use social media and log in once a month. That’s 56% of the world’s population. From a macroeconomic perspective, the role of social media has shifted fundamentally! This requires businesses to take advantage of it and adapt their content marketing to that.

The other perk of social media is that it does not require a business to be on every new platform. There are instances where one platform goes quiet but a few months later or even later on in the year, it can pick up again. The key here is consistency. Businesses should have a consistent live feed. They should also not rely on their average impression and engagement statistics as this can be inaccurate. Engagements and impressions can fluctuate based on fake accounts or curious individuals invested in certain people in the company. These statistics should not dictate your business output. It’s always worth noting that when using social media.

Marketing Practices that will Continue Post-Pandemic

One thing seen throughout the pandemic and what should be continued in the future is the community approach to marketing. This is where the focus is on the core fan base of the customer base. This means it’s no longer about solely looking at followers. It’s much deeper than that. Businesses must connect with the individuals who truly support and care about the brand.

Another good marketing practice that should continue in the future is the need for empathy within a business’s message. The pandemic has impacted some more than others, so empathy is a factor that should be considered when reaching out to new and existing clients and consumers. This is applicable in both a B2B and B2C instance. Both have an individual at the end of the other line who could be in a difficult place. Similarly, businesses have struggled themselves, so it’s always wise to cater and adapt for each and everyone.

“It’s about understanding the stresses and the concerns and what’s keeping them awake at night. And then, tailoring your messaging so that it aligns with that.”

Kathryn Strachan, Managing Director and Owner of Copy House Ltd.

With this comes flexibility. Andy explains how flexibility and empathy go hand in hand. For example, what was once a strict three package marketing plan, may now have to expand to fifteen brand new plans to match the needs of consumers who have struggled or succeeded since 2020.

It’s also good to observe the change in brand personality and adapt marketing strategies based on that. Brands have changed their tone of voice, appearance, and general outlook since the pandemic, and it has become much more casual and relaxed. This is something to consider in the future or change if it also changes.


Building a Community from Scratch during COVID

Building a community from the ground up is not easy. The best way to do it is to own the sector you are in. It requires a lot of ‘graft’ to build your community once you know what you want to specialise in. Influencer marketing is slowly becoming the most important online marketing channel. 70% of businesses generate a profit from influencer marketing, 38% remain the same and 11% claim that they are in a worse position after it. This could be to do with the lack of authenticity. Often businesses realise that their audiences prefer feedback and promotion from those who are not sponsored. These reviews tend to be less fabricated and more authentic.

So although an influencer marketing strategy may help at the very beginning, it’s also good to note that an audience wants to trust the business and to do that, they look for authenticity.

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Copy House are passionate about bringing the latest tech news and insights to you. For more secrets on how marketing giants and experts have dealt with COVID-19 and how they plan to move forward, download our free Technology CMO Outlook Report today!

Want to hear more views directly from the tech giants? Tune in to this episode of Tech Talks and keep your eyes peeled for our monthly Tech Talks events.