Shifting the Rules of Marketing and Sales in a New Evolving Normal


COVID-19 dramatically changed the world and forced everyone to embrace a new “Evolving Normal.” In this article, Charles Orlando, head of global communications and brand at CleverTap, will discuss factors impacting this new Evolving Normal and provide insight on surviving this pandemic.

The impact of COVID-19 has dramatically changed the world in a very short period of time. In essence, the world is like a giant snow globe, and COVID-19 has violently shaken it up and is still shaking it, as everyone embraces a new “Evolving Normal.” This pandemic continues to affect everyone, everywhere, as people around the globe take unprecedented steps of prevention and safety to help protect themselves and those around them. Only time will tell how long this will last, but even after COVID-19 is under any type of control, going back to business-as-usual, is highly improbable.

There are many factors impacting both individuals and companies as the world embraces our new Evolving Normal: consumer habits and behaviors, opportunities rising due to shifting consumer lifestyles, and how the current state of the economy is drastically changing consumer and professional needs. In the end, the companies that are able to adapt their sales and marketing rules and tactics to actively meet the needs of consumers, during this time, will be the companies that weather the storm.

Social Interaction Goes Digital

Shelter-in-place and nationwide lockdowns have forced people to change how they socially interact with one another, resulting in the dramatic rise of digital communications, engagements, and experiences. Consumer attitudes and purchasing behaviors are changing. Thus, sales and marketing tactics have significantly shifted with the economy. Moreover, both the short and long-term psychological implications of COVID-19 are expected to be far-reaching and long-lasting.

Despite unparalleled growth in some industries—including mobile app downloads, online grocery shopping, and teleconferencing tools—this is not a reflection of market-wide growth and success. In the past three weeks, 16.8 million Americans have filed for unemployment aid [and] more than 20 million people may lose jobs this month [April]. The unemployment rate could hit 15% when the April employment report is released in early May (Associated Press, 9 April 2020Opens a new window ). Without consumer shopping and social routines, the global economy is shrinking and businesses are closing, resulting in a downward spiral. Experts agree a recession is looming that is incomparable to anything ever seen in the modern world. To survive, companies – specifically marketers – need to significantly adjust strategy to keep their brands alive.

Opportunity Arises for Some Amidst Global Challenges

Sequestered in their homes, most people have nothing but technology to comfort them. Apps across various verticals – streaming, healthcare, communications, gaming, food delivery, and other digital-first enterprises – are seeing off-the-chart usage spikes. In Q1 of 2020, consumers spent over $23.4 billion on apps, the largest quarter ever in terms of consumer spend (Forbes, 2 April 2020Opens a new window ).

With the increase in app downloads, mobile is at the forefront of tremendous opportunity for one simple reason: life has changed. People are alone and using mobile technology to connect with friends and family, as well as entertain and distract themselves. There is no denying that mobile apps and services are being used more than ever before. However, amidst this spike, challenges arise with issues of distraction and confusion. It is imperative that mobile marketers choose words and promotions wisely to avoid alienating the key consumers they need to reach and engage with at this time.

Up to this point, a solid value proposition with clear differentiation versus competition was the starting point of prospect education or the sales qualification process. But many of today’s largest competitors for marketers are psychologically and directly connected to the Evolving Normal: kids in the home full-time, crowded households, and interpersonal relations challenges.

Personal and Professional Needs Changed

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization – is often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. Typically the needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfied before attending to needs higher up. Essential elements needed to achieve each section have changed or been made unavailable by the Evolving Normal of COVID-19.

A significant amount of current messaging and campaigns are being marketed to business professionals and those who are working or educating from home. To engage with consumers at this time, companies need to think about critical human psychological needs. From there, they can create personalized messaging and campaigns to reach them on an individual level and provide the specific guidance needed for them to navigate the current Evolving Normal.

Professional needs have also changed. The business side of the world is living in a constant state of uneasiness and looking to connect with others to help solve current problems. Being a trusted source and providing insight and actionable solutions can be invaluable to business owners and professionals. Keep in mind, it is important not to push unnecessary purchasing decisions in an uncertain environment. Meeting the needs of professionals, at this time, can go a long way for future success and long-term customer value.

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

While it may seem very dim at this time, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. When adapting to the new Evolving Normal, empathy is a key tool and trait that will help everyone get through this pandemic together. As peoples’ daily lives, habits, and needs change and continue to change beyond this pandemic, business plans require some shifting and marketing, and sales initiatives must change alongside them.

To succeed during these times, it not only requires careful planning, but also critical sales and marketing skills. With a full stacked and strategic marketing tool belt and the integration of empathy and personalization, brands can position themselves as a trusted source and provide the hope that everyone is looking for at the end of this dark tunnel.