It is without a doubt that the coronavirus pandemic is having an immense impact on how we conduct our businesses today. Some (if not most) companies will seize to exist post the pandemic. The companies that cannot digitise are unfortunately dying (unless they have billions of rands in reserves to sustain them).

The implementation of the nationwide lockdown means that customers’ mobility is extremely limited. Only the “essential” movement of customers is allowed, whether they are going to buy food or medication, visiting a doctor and/or they are going to work because their work is critical to keep the country going.

If your company has spent millions of rands on Out-Of-Home advertising, unfortunately, that money is as good as being flushed down the drain because the billboard on the M1 is not getting any attention. Or, if your company relies on high foot traffic to generate revenue, it is doomed. So what should companies be doing at this moment?

Now more than ever, digital marketing has become more important for businesses. It cannot be treated as an after-thought anymore. Companies and organisations need to have a digital-first approach when introducing new campaigns or products and services. Digital marketing allows brands to reach customers wherever they are and whenever they want to.

Streaming is the new norm

As more and more people stay at home, they are more glued to their screens searching and watching content. The #OnlineQuarantineParty is a great example of reaching customers where ever they are. Artists are not getting booked and bookings got cancelled due to the pandemic. So, it was fitting to host online parties to keep their fans entertained and remain top of mind. The #OnlineQuarantineParty got thousands of fans glued to their mobile screens and jamming to their favourite DJs. Channel O is now broadcasting it live on TV and Hunter’s Dry is sponsoring therefore the artists will be able to earn some money.

Webinars are also becoming popular. Platforms such as Zoom have seen an increase in the number of users since the lockdown began. Teams can have meetings and collaborate irrespective of where they are in the world. Other people are also using the platform for social purposes.

VR and AR will soon become a reality

The sporting fraternity is also dabbling with the idea of using Virtual Reality(VR) and Augmented Reality(AR) as a way keeping their fans engaged in the next year. However, the challenge VR and AR at this point is 5G. According to Liverpool FC’s Vice President of Digital Media and Marketing – Drew Crisp the maturity of 5G is going to bring about the technical possibility of VR and AR properly. Fans will not be going to the stadiums for quite some time therefore, online content is also key for social media.

Adidas a sports apparel brand is also taking advantage of the growing e-sport phenomenon by teaming up with Google’s Jacquard. The Adidas GMR (short for gamer) implants soccer boots with microchips that reward players’ activity with Fifa Mobile rewards. GMR allows football fans to connect their real-life training to that of their digital football teams on their mobiles. The insole smart tag gathers data from real-life play and translates it into digital rewards.

Adidas GMR

To conclude, now more than ever before digital has become important. Companies that do not embrace it are unfortunately going to suffer the consequences. It is those companies that will make the necessary investments in improving their digital capabilities that will thrive while the rest die.

Should you wish to up your digital game email pat@patonbrands.com for digital marketing solutions suitable for your business.

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Thokozani Patrick Mahlangu

Thokozani Mahlangu is an internationally certified digital marketing professional and an Mcom Business Management graduate from the University of Johannesburg. He is the Chief Brand Creator of Pat onBrands and Pat onFitness- a fitness movement through which organizes weekly runs under the banner #RunWithPat.

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