There’s been a lot of talks around how the marketing landscape has changed and how it will change forever because of the coronavirus pandemic. The truth is nothing has changed and for the longest time, things will remain the same. The marketing landscape is still made up of above-the-line, through-the-line, and below-the-line or traditional (offline) and digital (online). TV viewership and radio listenership spiked since the lockdown began as well as the use of the various social media platforms. I find myself watching more DSTV today than I have in the past 10 years, for example, and TV is not new.

When something changes it becomes fundamentally different. This is not the case with regard to the marketing landscape. The robots are not doing marketing (yet) for us to start making pronouncements that the marketing landscape has changed. The perception that marketers had of certain platforms has changed. For example, digital marketing was not valued by many companies because they were not familiar with it or they simply did not understand it. Therefore, they did not pay attention to it.

As more people spend more time in their homes, marketers need to reach them where they are. It does not make sense to have an Out-Of-Home (OOH) campaign when the whole country is on lockdown. Events and activations are not allowed. The budget for these types of campaigns needs to be repurposed to platforms that will deliver high impact such as radio, television, and digital platforms.

Marketers like “new things”, it as if they have an obsession with change and they embrace it. They tend to ask about what is the next big thing, whilst they have not mastered the existing platforms. Here’s the thing digital marketing has been long talked about and the adoption has been very slow in many companies. The Covid-19 outbreak forced marketers to adopt the various digital marketing platforms that are out there.

It is only now that many marketers are waking up to realise the true potential of digital to engage with consumers. Zoom, Houseparty, Instagram Live, TikTok, Fortnite, and many other platforms were there long before the Covid-19. Marketers with foresight used these platforms before coronavirus(BC). Travis Scott was not the first artist to have a virtual concert on Fortnite.

Once the lockdown is over, and a vaccine for coronavirus has been discovered. People will be free to do whatever they want they want i.e going out to parties, running marathons, watching sports at the stadiums, and traveling OOH, event sponsorships, and activations will be a thing again. Are marketers going to say the marketing landscape has changed yet again? I hope not.

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Pat Mahlangu

Thokozani Pat Mahlangu is the editor of Pat on Brands and the founder and CEO of Lerato Agency. He is internationally certified digital marketing professional and an Mcom Business Management graduate from the University of Johannesburg.

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