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What is the online customer attraction strategy required in the new normal era?

In the new normal era, where there are many situations where we refrain from contacting people and moving, we cannot think of marketing strategies from a conventional perspective. In reviewing the strategy, it is necessary to consider methods of attracting and appealing to customers and cultivating customers using online that can respond to the new normal.

This time, after confirming the changes in marketing and how they should be in the future, let’s think about the effectiveness and utilization of Internet advertising, which is increasing in users in the new normal era, and the points of online customer acquisition strategies.

Table of contents

  • What is the new normal era?
  • Attracting customers and digital marketing in the new normal era
  • Utilization of Internet advertising
  • Points to note when introducing digital marketing
  • Marketing in the new normal era requires a customer development perspective

What is the new normal era?

The “new normal” is the concept that a major event causes inevitable changes in society and the economy, giving rise to new common sense and situations. After the global economic crisis triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, there was a widespread view that even if the economy recovered to some extent, especially in the United States, the world economy would never return to normal. The term “new normal” has come to be used to describe such an unknown situation. Since then, it has been used in various situations, not limited to the global economy after the Lehman Shock.

The COVID-19 epidemic that began at the end of 2019 and continues today has triggered a global economic crisis. As the spread of infection continues, we are being forced to adapt and transform not only our lives, but also education, business, and everything else to the new normal. Due to this social situation, recently, the new normal era is generally starting to refer to the period after the outbreak of the new coronavirus infection.

For now, the spread of infection and the country’s efforts to prevent it are expected to continue in the long term. Infection control is essential, but if people stop almost all activities and the economy stagnates, the risk of business bankruptcies and social turmoil due to economic deterioration will increase. Each of us living in the new normal era is required to continue social and economic activities while coexisting with the new coronavirus. The existence of the Internet and IT technology is essential for this.

Changes in consumption trends and required responses

As social conditions change rapidly, how is corporate marketing changing? Let’s take a look at consumer trends in the new normal era and the responses required of companies.

In April 2020, when the Japanese government declared a state of emergency to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus infection, many stores were forced to close or shorten their business hours, prompting the public to refrain from going out.

With this opportunity, many consumers who previously purchased products only at physical stores have shifted to purchasing on EC sites. Although the state of emergency was lifted in May 2020, the use of e-commerce is expected to continue to grow, given that efforts to prevent the spread of infection will continue for the time being.

Along with the use of EC sites, the use of the Internet centered on SNS is increasing. In recent years, there has been a growing tendency to focus on experiences and value in consumption, but in the coming new normal era, we will collect information on the Internet, carefully examine it, and choose products and services that we feel are more valuable. More and more consumers will choose.

In addition, attention should be paid to the impact of the epidemic on consumer values ​​and psychology. First of all, people are thrifty because they are worried about the future of the economy, and there is a growing tendency not to spend money on unnecessary things as possible. At the same time, people are more conscious of their health and comfort than ever before, and more people are investing in enhancing their time at home and their lifestyles. It cannot be overlooked that the desire for communication and experiences that stimulate the senses is increasing due to the decrease in contact with people and opportunities to go out.

Companies need to provide products and services that meet the needs of consumers, as well as search for a way of marketing that matches the new normal era. Branding is one of the most effective strategies for B to C businesses, especially retail businesses such as restaurants and apparel. In the coming era, to stand out from competitors and continue to be chosen by demanding consumers, it is necessary to raise the value of the company and nurture fans who will support the products and services over the long term.

Branding starts with clarifying your company’s position and the demographics you want to appeal to. If you succeed in building a brand that matches new consumption trends, you will be able to proceed with marketing advantageously even in the new normal era. In B2B business, it is becoming difficult to visit business partners directly for business negotiations from the perspective of preventing the spread of infection. Instead, online sales using web conferencing tools are becoming more popular. Of course, not only B to B and B to C but also online marketing such as Internet advertising and webinar distribution is expected to increase significantly.

On the other hand, when conducting online business negotiations, you must be careful with the handling of information. Since there is a possibility that confidential information may be handled by each other during business negotiations, it is essential to take measures to prevent information leakage, such as choosing a paid web conferencing tool for businesses with strong security functions.

Attracting customers and digital marketing in the new normal era

In the previous section, we touched on consumer trends in the new normal era and changes in corporate marketing.

Digitization of marketing

In recent years, online touchpoints (points of contact with customers) such as websites, emails, SNS, and apps have increased significantly. Along with this, the importance of digital marketing in particular has increased among corporate marketing strategies.

Digital marketing is a method of promoting your company’s products and services using digital media and digital tools. It is sometimes used almost synonymously with online marketing mentioned above, but when we say digital marketing, it does not necessarily involve the Internet, and it includes a wide range of methods that use IT technology.

Typical digital marketing methods include websites, blogs, internet advertising, SEO (search engine optimization), and targeted emails. In addition, digital marketing also includes methods of using data such as point cards and the usage history of IoT products for marketing.

Originally, digital marketing was becoming a trend as companies in all fields moved toward digitalization, but with the arrival of the new normal era, the trend is accelerating at a stretch. In the future, digital marketing will become the mainstream of Japanese companies’ measures to attract customers.

E-commerce to a new form

The epidemic of the new coronavirus infection has led to an increase in remote work, and a new lifestyle that maintains social distance and reduces contact and movement has spread among people. Many consumers who used to purchase products at physical stores are shifting to e-commerce sites, and demand and supply for online shopping are expanding. However, it should be noted that the movement to convert physical stores to e-commerce is not just progressing, but that new forms of e-commerce that are different from the past are beginning to emerge.

For example, one of them is “BOPIS”. BOPIS is an abbreviation for “Buy Online Pick-up In Store”, and it is a mechanism for picking up products purchased on EC sites at a later date at the store. It is a form that has become a hot topic overseas and is rapidly expanding. For consumers, there are advantages such as reducing the time spent in stores and not incurring shipping costs. The advantage is that you can create opportunities to appeal to your products, and you can also expect additional purchases. Although there are still a few examples of BOPIS in Japan, it is expected that it will be introduced in the future.

Digital customer service, which has become popular mainly in apparel since the corona crisis, can be said to be a new form of e-commerce. While shopping on e-commerce sites is convenient, it has the disadvantage of not being able to directly ask questions to sales staff or receive advice on how to coordinate and dress. This is where digital customer service emerges, in which sales staff interact with consumers online using chat tools and web conferencing tools. By incorporating digital customer service, it is expected that it will be possible to retain existing customers and acquire new customers while taking advantage of both physical stores and EC sites.

Simply shifting to sales on EC sites just because demand is increasing is not enough as a countermeasure to the new normal. Rather, if you switch to business development focused on e-commerce while lacking know-how and experience, there is a risk that sales will not grow as much as you expected and you will be stuck. For companies to survive in the new normal era, it is necessary to promote “Omni-channelization” that links real communication places represented by physical stores and online points of contact such as EC sites.

Utilization of Internet advertising

In the future, there is no doubt that measures for attracting and appealing to customers will be centered online for companies in any industry. Internet advertising occupies the mainstream among the measures to attract customers online.

Types of internet advertising and their effects

When it comes to Internet advertising, there are many different types. Before exploring how to use it, let’s first check the main types of Internet advertising and the effects each.

Listing advertisement

This is an advertisement that displays advertisements related to the keyword searched by the viewer on the search results screen of the search engine. Also called search advertising. Since advertisements related to keywords that viewers are interested in are displayed, it is suitable for appealing to the layer (visible layer) who is aware of their own needs and has a certain image of the products and services they want.

Display advertising

Advertisements are displayed on advertising spaces such as websites, blogs, and smartphone apps. When a viewer clicks on an ad, they are guided to a special site (landing page) set by the advertiser. It is characterized by a high affinity with the products and services being promoted, as it will reach out to the viewers of the content they are interested in. Therefore, it has the effect of attracting more interest from the actual layer, and the possibility of becoming a new customer can be expected. In addition, since it is widely displayed in advertisement spaces such as websites and blogs, it is also an opportunity for viewers who visit the site by searching to find out about the product or service. In other words, you can expect the effect of appealing to the layer (latent layer) who did not know about the product or service until now.

Retargeting ads

Advertisements from other websites are displayed to visitors who have visited a particular website. For example, it is possible to advertise a product or service that was added to the cart on another site to a viewer who did not purchase the item in the cart on one EC site. The major advantage is that it is possible to target and approach potential customers who have once become interested in your company’s products and services or are considering purchasing them, and it is said that it is easier to achieve results than other Internet advertisements.

Ad network

It is a mechanism to deliver advertisements collectively to multiple advertising media such as websites, blogs, and SNS. In addition to being able to efficiently expect a large amount of traffic with a single publication, the advantage is that it is easy to analyze and utilize data. The system in which the advertiser (advertiser) collectively manages the distribution of advertisements to multiple ad networks is called “DSP (Demand Side Platform).”

Social media advertising

Ads are displayed on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LINE, and the so-called SNS. Also called social media advertising. These social media are used by a huge number of users and are easy to target (narrow down the users targeted for advertisements). You can take a wide range of approaches such as cultivating the fan base of the game with a low budget.

Email advertisement

Advertisements are sent by email. In addition to the type that advertises products and services in the body of the email, some types include short sentences and links in the header or footer of the email newsletter. In general, when you register as a member, it will be distributed with the user’s permission. The advantage is that you can directly approach the user after understanding their interests and needs, and you can include a large amount of information.

Video ads

In addition to advertising videos displayed on YouTube, some are posted on websites. By developing a story with videos, you can easily convey the content and appeal of products and services that cannot be conveyed with images or text. It is highly appealing to those who have had little interest in the product or service in the past, and it is easy to arouse latent needs, so we can expect more opportunities to acquire new customers.

Article advertisement

Advertisements are displayed on web media in the same format as other articles. It is common to have notation such as “PR” and “AD” in the frame, but since the appearance and composition are similar to ordinary editorial articles, it is characterized by being suppressed as an advertisement. Since it is easy for viewers to accept it without resistance and it is easy to convey the content of the advertisement, it can be expected to have the effect of raising the latent layer to the fan base at once. Also, if you choose the media that matches the demographics you want to appeal your products and services to, you can appeal to the most suitable target. It can be said that it is also an advantage that you can increase the reliability of products and services by using the name recognition and brand power of the web media you post. However, it also has the disadvantage of requiring a considerable amount of time and money to produce high-quality article advertisements.

Influencer marketing

Influencers, such as celebrities, models, YouTubers, and famous athletes, who have many followers on SNS and have an influence on society, promote their products and services. method. It is common for influencers to upload images and videos of themselves using the product or service on SNS such as Instagram and Twitter or YouTube. Since it is posted in the same tone and style as the influencer’s usual posts, it is easy for viewers to accept it, and a high viewing rate can be expected. As with article ads, it must be marked so that viewers know that the post is an advertisement.

How to use Internet advertising and marketing points by industry

Internet advertising is an effective means of attracting customers in any industry, but the types of advertisements are suitable for each industry and how they are used differently. Let’s take a closer look at how to use Internet advertising and points for future marketing strategies, especially for three industries that have been greatly affected by the arrival of the new normal era.

Retail business

Since the outbreak of the new coronavirus infection, retailers have been forced to drastically review sales and payment methods from the perspective of preventing the spread of infection. To give specific examples, many retail stores are expanding mail order and home delivery services, efforts to reduce the amount of time spent at stores such as BOPIS, and cashless payments such as QR code payments that do not involve contact at the time of payment and electronic money. Efforts have been made to implement it.

An increasing number of restaurants are adopting a self-ordering system in which customers themselves use tablet terminals instead of verbally ordering from staff. To attract customers and increase sales, it is also effective to use social media advertisements to inform consumers of these infection control measures and changes, and to give consumers who are refraining from shopping at physical stores a sense of security.

At the same time, regardless of the medium or method, it is necessary to develop advertisements that are conscious of branding that enhances the value of the company and its products. Considering the consumer psychology that refrains from buying unnecessary things due to anxiety about the future, it is also important how you can appeal to the necessity of your company’s products and services.

Video ads and article ads, which can deliver highly appealing content with stories, are suitable for drawing out latent consumer needs. Nonetheless, in the new normal era, where consumers are generally thrifty, it is difficult to sell new products, and the development of new customers is likely to be difficult.

Retaining existing customers is, therefore, more important than ever. If it is possible to utilize data such as visit histories of existing customers, it will be necessary to take measures to encourage continuation, such as preparing benefits that match the attributes and behavior patterns of those customers and sending emails at the optitimeming.

Manufacturing industry

Many companies in the manufacturing industry are lagging in digital marketing. In the future, it will be necessary to conduct marketing that is conscious of increasing touch points with prospective and existing customers online. For example, some manufacturers are taking initiatives such as online exhibitions of products and technologies, and online witness inspections of equipment before shipment.

Creating video advertisements that appeal to the general public for the usage and strengths of your company’s products in an easy-to-understand manner, and deploying them on multiple media such as SNS, will be effective in acquiring new orders and branding your company. Revising the content of existing websites to convey the appeal of your company’s technology and products in an easy-to-understand manner may lead to an increase in inquiries. In addition, the distribution of e-mail magazines is also a measure that we would like to consider as a method of nurturing prospective customers.

Delivery business

Speaking of the industry that has entered the limelight in the new normal era, it is the delivery industry. As consumers refrain from using restaurants, delivery food services are growing steadily. There are cases where retailers deliver their meals, such as major chains such as fast food and pizza, but food delivery services (food delivery) are also becoming popular, and new companies are increasing.

Such a delivery agency service can be said to be an epoch-making service that enables small and medium-sized restaurants that cannot deliver by themselves to continue their business and develop new customers. In addition, as the demand for e-commerce increases, there is a delivery crowdsourcing service that allows consumers to use an app to request delivery from an e-commerce site to a nearby driver.

New types of delivery services are appearing one after another, such as a shopping agency service that purchases from and delivers to you. Demand for delivery services that connect retailers and consumers is expected to continue to grow in the future. However, since competition is also expected to intensify, it will be necessary to create new services and formats that will determine differentiation from other companies and to come up with appropriate marketing measures to attract customers.

One way to do this is to use easy-to-target channels like social media advertising to appeal to consumers who need delivery services, such as remote workers, families with children, and seniors who want to stay home.

Points to note when introducing digital marketing

BtoB sales and marketing, which require meticulous support tailored to customer companies, are areas that tend to rely on talented employees and concentrate work, but especially in digital marketing, both digital and marketing Since it requires highly specialized personnel with know-how, it is easy for individualization to occur. In addition, in the process of promoting digital marketing, companies tend to operate multiple websites and handle various digital tools, which tends to complicate their operations. This is also one of the factors that lead to personalization.

If individualization progresses to the extreme, information and know-how will not be handed over to other employees, which may reduce the competitiveness and productivity of the company in the long run. Furthermore, if an employee who has been intensively engaged in work leaves the company, the work cannot be continued, and the company’s operation itself may be hindered.

When incorporating digital marketing, it is necessary to prepare a system that makes it difficult for personalization to occur. Specifically, efforts are required to visualize business processes, share information and know-how among multiple employees or groups, and formulate manuals and guidelines. One of the measures is to introduce a marketing automation tool to automate marketing operations such as managing prospects, sending emails, and spreading to SNS.

Marketing in the new normal era requires a customer development perspective

Marketing in the new normal era is very different from conventional marketing, such as polite customer service at stores and frequent visits to business partners to build relationships of trust and conclude contracts and purchases. After the declaration of the state of emergency, B2C companies, which had focused on sales at physical stores, saw a sharp drop in customer visits, and sales decreased. Even BtoB companies that had not introduced online communication tools have significantly reduced opportunities for business negotiations with business partners.

Responding to the new normal of maintaining economic activity and business performance while taking maximum measures against infection is a major issue for companies. However, if you introduce an online marketing channel that suits your company, it is possible to appeal to customers who need your products and services in more detail without direct communication. Furthermore, by analyzing data such as website access data and cardholder purchase histories, the possibility of realizing one-to-one marketing that optimizes communication according to customer attributes, needs, and preferences will expand. increase. This time of many changes can be said to be an opportunity to capture new consumer needs and turn a predicament into an opportunity. Because it is difficult to have contact with customers in the new normal era, we have a perspective of increasing contact points with consumers and nurturing customers by implementing measures to attract customers online, including Internet advertising, and marketing tailored to each individual. is important.

At SoftBank, we recognize the need for marketing with a deeper understanding of customer psychology and behavior by managing all data in an integrated manner, in light of the current situation where the emphasis is placed on linking the Internet and the real world. For this reason, SoftBank realizes the utilization of data owned by companies through data management and provides solutions that meet diverse needs such as O2O marketing (Online to Offline marketing), inbound promotions, and Internet advertising.


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