The Covid Effect: Driving Digital
It's undeniable that the world has changed a lot over the past year; this time 12 months ago our current situation would have been unthinkable, yet here we are.It's easy to focus on the negatives, and let's face it there are plenty of awful things that have happened, but there are some positives to come out of it all, and they're shaping the way we work for the foreseeable future.
One overarching theme is digital development. Cloud communications company Twilio polled 2,500 businesses and found that 97% reported that their digital transformation projects had gained pace this year, with the average company now 6 years ahead on their digital plans. Our hands have been forced by the pandemic and the subsequent limitations on normal life, but this has been turned into a huge positive by virtue of this increase in digital projects and a move towards a more streamlined way of working, which allows for flexible home working and online commerce.
It's not just for-profit businesses who have had to adapt; healthcare providers have had to develop and initiate changes in the ways that patients receive care, with video or telephone calls becoming the norm for consultations, therapy and even courses that teach people with long term health conditions how to self-manage. Many of these projects have been in the pipeline for years, but without that urgent need for remote working practices and online offerings progress has been slow. The balance was tipped by the pandemic, so while our healthcare services are stretched at the moment, it is hoped that some of these new ways of working can make a difference when life returns to something approaching normality.
Small businesses who had been planning an online offering have had to make this a priority, so marketing agencies like ours who work with businesses of all sizes, with a focus on local marketing, have been inundated with requests for digital marketing, website building and help getting the word out there. Big businesses that had plans for more online services have also had to get busy making these plans a reality.
Some business sectors have experienced a marked decline in activity, but this hasn't stopped companies from focusing their marketing efforts on the future. This kind of long-term branding project is a luxury for many companies who tend to focus on the short-term and the here and now, reacting to events rather than having the space to plan for them.If your business is suffering at the moment, but you're confident that you can weather the storm, then spend this time positioning your business, building your brand and engaging in philanthropic acts that can be used as marketing leverage in the future.
A few short years ago marketers were urging small and medium sized businesses to embrace digital as a sales channel, marketing channel and general brand building exercise. Many heeded this call to action, and now the rest have to follow suit in order to survive.We don't know what the future will hold, but we do know that digital will play a pivotal role in the survival of businesses and perhaps even entire industries as the world adapts to the new normal.
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