Digital Transformation: How COVID-19 Has Changed Our Lives
Across the globe, the outbreak of the Coronavirus affected businesses of all nature in one way or another. We have seen the economic repercussions of this outbreak on businesses. Some businesses have already adapted to the online platform long before this global health and economic crisis. On the other hand, some are just realising they need to make a change. Businesses need to get on the bandwagon to not only sustain but to avoid another situation like this from happening.
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital Transformation, in simple terms, means adapting your current business model to an online platform to increase efficiency and provide the opportunity of a new revenue stream for your business. It can be as simple as having all your department processes digitized and moved away from manual processes and onto online cloud platforms, or it could be changing your brick-and-mortar ways to adapt to online eCommerce marketplaces.
Digital Transformation can apply to all parts of your business from HR, Finance, Sales and Marketing. Integrating your business processes into a modern connected system did more than just simplify your process. This action will give you an overall holistic view of your business. Furthermore, it also provides you with the opportunity to focus on improving different areas of your business. What this translates to is that businesses can save money, time and increase revenue.
How do Businesses Digitally Transform?
Well, there is no one cookie-cutter solution for digital transformation. It is not a formula that all businesses can just apply to solve all their business problems. Digital Transformation highly depends on each business model and the kind of industry that business is in.
For manufacturing businesses, there is a multitude of ways you could digitally transform your business. You would be able to access your processes and optimize them with ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planning). And with that, you will have a holistic view of your whole supply chain from stock order to delivery. For logistics companies, you could adapt to having solutions that could help you track, manage and respond to orders and deliveries made by customers.
Real estate companies used to use sales agents to find new prospects to rent/buy properties. However, due to digitalisation, they have realised the importance of building their own website to showcase all the properties they have in hand. Read more about this at our recent project, Dwayne and Real Estate Website Design Companies.
In short, there are hundreds of ways for businesses to digitally transform themselves. But today, we will focus on the sales and marketing digital transformation that businesses can adapt or practice to help them sustain or even survive the current economic crisis caused by the global pandemic.
Digital Transformation & Marketing in an Uncertain Market
Let us face it. With countries on lockdown in an effort to prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading, more businesses are forced to adapt to the market situation. With governments around the world giving mandatory requirements for a business to either close for weeks or even extend to months, many businesses are struggling to stay afloat amid these orders. However, some countries like Malaysia have allowed certain non-essential businesses to remain operating. For instance, eCommerce, logistics, restaurants, food chain supply and grocery markets are open for business.
Looking back on the early COVID-19 days, the first 2 weeks of the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) initiated on the 18th of March 2020 gave a lot of Malaysian business owners a glimpse into a nightmare situation. Numerous businesses are put on a halt and owners are struggling. The first two weeks can be seen as collective compliance to help reduce the spread of the virus.
However, with the second extension announced towards the end of March, businesses have started to take matters into their own hands. The business team comes together and think of creative ways to sell their services or products in advance. This ensures they have enough cash flow when the MCO is lifted.
How to Market Your Business Right Now?
In most developed countries, businesses have digitally adapted themselves from the start or for big multinational corporations. They have long ago undergone digital transformation. However, it is another story here in Malaysia. Businesses have been generally hesitant to make this move due to the complacency in the market for how they have been running their businesses for so long without a hitch.
Well, in 2020, let’s just say the hitch has finally come calling. This was a huge eye-opener for businesses as they were forced to rethink how they run their businesses.
According to The Edge Markets, the retail industry has seen a contraction of 18.8% in the first quarter of 2020. To put that in perspective, the Malaysian retail market has not seen a drop like this since 1998. The second quarter of this year, which is April till June, will see an even jaw-dropping number as the business has been on halt since the 18th of March till this day of writing. With low – zero sales, retailers are looking at more digital ways to maintain their business.
For some F&B businesses, they have turned to delivery as an alternative means of revenue. However, there are businesses that have purely relied on foot traffic. And now, they have been tossed into a situation where they need to learn how to market themselves online. If not, they are unable to generate some amount of sales to maintain their business. Businesses are now in the deep end of the pool and they either will sink or have to learn to swim and stay afloat.
Moving forward despite the pandemic
In Malaysia, the government has tried numerous ways to ease the burden that MCO has on businesses. However, government handouts can only last so long. Let’s be real, Coronavirus is going to be with us for a few years. We urge businesses to come up with inventive and creative online marketing strategies to generate brand awareness amid trying times.
That implies for us as well at Kode Digital. COVID-19 has affected our team of marketing experts. From the way we work as a team to brainstorming creative online marketing strategies, levelling up our digital marketing game to fully support the shift of our client’s digital marketing game and assisting new clients that came to us for effective marketing strategies – all is affected. Thus, our marketing experts at Kode Digital came up with the most effective ways to digitally help you market yourself during the pandemic. We strongly believe this to be the most effective way today.
Effective Marketing Strategies To Execute During The Pandemic
1. Social Media Presence
Without a doubt, you will need to have your business and brand on social media platforms. Yes, they are used to connecting friends and families but they have also been turned into a tool to tap into a wide network of audience. If you have already branded yourself digitally, then be certain about which platform is best for your business. You can start by learning how to get better insights on how you can strategize and achieve greater results for your social media.
This article helps you discover your Business Goals, Social Media Marketing Objectives, Who Your Customers And Competitors Are, Which Social Media Platform you should be utilizing; Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or LinkedIn to leverage your business, Understand Different Goals And Metrics, define your Unique Voice and deliver the Right Heartfelt Messages to your potential customers and during the pandemic.
Digital marketing strategies go a long way
Many people would argue that “I’ve been active on social media, but I do not see any difference in my sales.”
First of all, you can be active on social media but if you do not have a strategy or goal in place, you would not be able to generate the results you want. For instance, if you have a business account already but you have been inactive because everyone is working from home or you are busy and worried about what you could do to make sales instead of spending some time brainstorming for a strategy to keep your social media active.
However, marketing in its most basic form essentially is a funnelling effect. What you are doing now will not always directly translate to sales right this moment. Keeping your social media active can keep your brand on top of audiences’ minds so that when MCO is lifted, the first thing that they want to do is patronize your business.
For businesses who neglected their social media presence and are not taking advantage of the fact that social media is Free of Charge when MCO is lifted, they will eventually have to fight harder for customers’ attention against businesses that have been keeping their social media active.
2. Influencer Marketing or User Generated Content
What is Influencer Marketing? Businesses these days need to adapt to their target audience. The majority of the spending market is within the age of 25-55. The Generation Y and Z audiences are unfortunately glued to their phone; following celebrities and influential KOL (Key Opinion Leaders) on Instagram and aspire to have the lifestyle as the influencers do. This is a strategy adopted by most major brands.
Is it effective?
You asked, “If they are doing it, does it mean that it is effective towards them?”
The simple answer is YES! It is effective because marketing through influencers provides you with a higher organic reach compared to social media advertising now. I’m sure you have seen multiple advertisements when you were stuck at home on Facebook or Instagram. And you have probably just scrolled through it because you know they were desperate for your attention. However, when someone you look up to on social media has bought a certain product from a certain brand, you tend to notice it and think
“Hey, maybe I’ll buy that too!” or “Hmm, that looks delicious, maybe I should order some to try!”
This is the power of organic marketing. And sometimes, most people are not even aware that they have been marketed to because influencers have been posting organic content that they have crafted themselves. Hence, when you read their content or check out their images, this content feels so genuine and different compared to content created by brands themselves.
Yes, I understand that you may be on a tight budget to implement influencer marketing during pandemic days. However, if you have some budget, go ahead and start exploring! According to Business Insider, influencer marketing is now on the shift to taking overpaid advertising messages and is expected to hit $15billion by 2022. Thus, having a deeper understanding of how to execute a successful influencer marketing campaign for your brand is truly important!
Alternative for small businesses – User-generated content
If you are on a tight budget for Influencer Marketing, do not worry. Proceed with User-Generated Content instead! Make sure you take advantage of your social media post by genuinely asking your customers to share a picture of the products or simply leave a good review for you. People tend to trust people when it comes to making a decision to buy a product. Thus, this all would certainly help your business during the pandemic. Get some great insights on how you can leverage your business with User-Generated Content.
3. Creative and Innovative Marketing Ideas
Okay, so you have gone with what you know works. Social Media advertising, but let us face it, everyone is doing this right now. How can you stand out or be any different? What can you do now to generate more money and use it for later?
Two creative examples that we would like to share are from The Kazan Dessert and Jobbie Nut Butter. With the struggles that they have, both businesses have come up with a unique idea to tap into the emotional hearts of their long time customers and/or even get the attention of new customers across Malaysia by sharing their truthful experiences.
In their copywriting, they have humanized themselves by sharing their real stories. Like everyday workers, both businesses have been working hard every day but unfortunately due to the pandemic, they were on the edge of bankruptcy. This has provided them with a good opportunity to share their journey and business struggles during the pandemic. In return, these businesses were gladly hoping for new and loyal customers to provide them with some support.
And guess what, Malaysia did! They showed their support and helped these local businesses, allowing them to generate some cash flow to sustain themselves through the MCO. For some, there may be controversy to these posts but let us acknowledge that their message was touching and a little sympathy from every Malaysian has helped these businesses generate the results they need to stay afloat and keep their business going.
In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity
What you do today can improve all of your tomorrows
What you do today can improve all of your tomorrows
If you need some advice on leveraging your business, our team of marketing experts are always ready to assist you. Get in touch with us for a free consultation and we shall help you out!