COVID-19 has seen a remarkable change in the way we live our lives. Many of us don’t commute any more but work at home. There are more risks associated with socialising in person, so we socialise online. This change not only affects us but also the businesses that try to sell their goods to us.

In recent years, the consumer experience has become increasingly personalised for many brands due to the internet. An increase in the amount of consumer data available to companies, as well as improvements in analysis tools and presentation software, has allowed companies to not just get a clearer picture of their target markets, but also to deep dive down to the individual consumer. For example, using cookies, companies can now track your movements on the internet, to build a clear profile of who purchases goods off their websites, what other websites they visit, and thus what their interests are.

They then can target people who have similar interests to their current customers. Additionally, companies are able to track how people navigate to their websites, and ultimately where purchases come from, whether it is from an email campaign, social media advertising, or just an organic web search.

As the digital world continues to grow, it is very important that future marketing managers have a grasp on analytics and the more technical side of advertising. While they won’t be expected to be experts in data analytics, it will be a useful skill to be able to sort through data, have the ability to find information that matters, and present it in a way that everyone understands it. Covid-19 will potentially accelerate this shift from marketing in the real world to marketing in the digital world. Many people work or study from home now, they don’t pass billboards or posters on the way to work, nor do they see ads on public transport such as at bus stops.

The way these people largely interact with marketing campaigns (television aside) is on the internet, whilst being stuck at home. Similarly, shopping online now is often easier than having to travel to a physical store, where there is always the risk of infection.

These lifestyle changes will likely force businesses to change marketing strategy and to focus more on digital, rather than physical campaigns, which will naturally mean that for students graduating in the near-future that want to pursue a career in marketing that a sizeable part of their job may be focused on interpreting data and drawing conclusions from it.

Cormac Daly – Business Writer