COVID-19 has opened a lot of new ideas for the future. We are beginning to see what that may mean for marketers. Working from home may well be the new norm and marketers need to be prepared for that. Additionally, the integration of the internet into practically every aspect of life–– work, home life, passions, and hobbies means new opportunities for marketers if they can seize the challenge. Internet Integration means integrating the internet into almost every aspect of your business–– from the product, to marketing and advertising, to customer service and feedback.
This is part of pandemic marketing, but it is more future focused because these adjustments will continue on once COVID-19 is no longer the threat that it currently is. Marketing online learning is an example of internet integration to the most intense degree because of how drastically the product changed. But ultimately, marketers found a way to use creativity and focus on the positives of this change. Internet integration should be viewed as a positive and necessary change, not just because of COVID-19, but because technology is constantly shifting and these changes will be required anyways. By staying ahead of the pack in this sense, marketers and business owners will be keeping their business healthy.
Although COVID-19 is turning a corner, experts are saying not to expect a complete “return to normal.” As I’ve said in other blog posts, focusing on the future will mean putting things into context and understanding that the world will not soon forget this pandemic. As the world becomes increasingly digitized, it is important to integrate the internet as part of your business model. Think beyond just offering some services online. Customers should be able to get a full and authentic experience from online.
The internet has been the go to alternative for most industries. For instance, the movie industry has had to turn to streaming during the pandemic, that won’t just go away in a few months. It points to the fact that COVID-19 has already permanently changed some industries. Streaming has already become the new norm for the industry and will likely stay that way until new technology comes out.
Marketers need to adjust their focus to the internet for this reason. They also need to potentially adjust their products for this reason as well. While this may seem like a set back, it can actually rejuvenate your product and industry for years to come.
Some Strategies for Internet Integration
Internet integration will require some new strategies and techniques, look to industries that had to change the most due to the pandemic–– movies, clothing retail, live entertainment etc. Think about what they have done, and it mostly involves the use of the internet. Now, usually these industries already used the internet as part of the product and marketing but they have elevated their use in order to create an experience that is at least somewhat close to what it was before.
However, it is important to think outside of the box as well so that you do not get caught up in the herd of ideas. Experimenting with new ideas may be beneficial. For instance, think about the restaurant industry. In the height of the pandemic many restaurants enhanced their delivery and take out services. By either updating their websites or partnering with a delivery service company like GrubHub, Seamless, and Postmates.
Movie companies went online, Disney, one of the largest and most well known producers of films said that they are going to put all of their focus into their streaming platform Disney+. By enhancing their internet integration, they are preserving their core service, entertainment. By integrating the internet to your business, especially during a pandemic, it will make owners and marketers think about what their core is–– this should be viewed as a positive thing even in less than ideal circumstances. Marketers and business owners can see with a new and full perspective what is important.
When to know there is an opportunity for internet integration
There are many parts of your business that could use internet integration: online shopping, live customer support, live streaming events etc. But, you should have an idea of what you want to put online and what should be saved for reopening. There are several indicators that you should use in order to know what to put online.
One should be probably your biggest priority, cost vs benefit. Although online is usually less involved and more down to the bone, internet integration services may be costly. Such as, live customer support. This would require having someone monitor the site and wait for customers to ask questions. If not many people are asking questions, this may not be all that beneficial even though you want to offer support to your customers like in the real world.
So focus on common sense and empathize with your customer. Fit into their shoes when first navigating your site, what are they therefore and how can you service them in the most efficient way possible.
Internet integration will not be easy–– do your research, and see what the others in your industry are doing. Instead of copying, take their techniques and elevate them so you can create a unique customer experience.