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Return to Normal vs. The New Normal: SMBs Embracing Change

Return to Normal vs. The New Normal: SMBs Embracing Change

Though 2020 was a brutal year for all of us, it was also incredibly eye-opening. It forced us to slow down, to reassess, and to reposition our goals, values, and priorities towards what mattered most. Small businesses owners were no exception to this internal overhaul— or the external changes that came with it. While people are going to be looking to “return to normal,” brands should not necessarily just revert to pre-covid practices. Instead, use this time of change to embrace change and try something new!

Then vs. Now: Pre- and Post-Pandemic Strategies

Business owners had to make big changes last year just to stay afloat amidst the troubled waters of the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditional brick-and-mortar companies learned to navigate eCommerce, millions of businesses found creative ways to implement virtual services and events, and brands across every industry focused on generating more online connections with consumers. Now, as the world begins to open back up and people grow more and more comfortable interacting in-person, business owners in every sector will continue to bring their recently acquired digital skills into a post-pandemic reality. The pandemic and the changes that came with it gave brands a taste of what the digital sphere has to offer. For those who tasted its success, there’s no going back. And for business owners currently finding themselves in a marketing rut, there’s no time like the present to break out and try new things.

Now, as the world begins to open back up and people grow more and more comfortable interacting in-person, business owners in every sector will continue to bring their recently acquired digital skills into a post-pandemic reality. The pandemic and the changes that came with it gave brands a taste of what the digital sphere has to offer. For those who tasted its success, there’s no going back. And for business owners currently finding themselves in a marketing rut, there’s no time like the present to break out and try new things.

“Marketing in 2021 will be more empathetic than ever.”

Christina Mautz for Hubspot

Here are a few trends and predictions for brands in a post-pandemic world:

1. Interactive virtual events are here to stay.
Brands will continue to focus on cultivating online communities with unique and engaging opportunities that allow consumers to network with one another as they proceed through the sales funnel. Similarly, consumers will be looking for discussions and panels where they can interact with speakers and share their own knowledge. Also expect to see new and exciting ways for brands to stand out against the competition in a crowded digital space.

2. Brand values are putting people at the center.
Expect to see consumer-based teams collaborating together more frequently in order to align on a singular focus for communicating with customers. Moreover, a progressively polarized political and social climate means consumers are paying more and more attention to who brands are and what they stand for.

3. Artificial intelligence (AI) and content marketing are on the rise.
Artificial intelligence will trump A/B testing, and content marketing will become more about providing value to consumers and less about pleasing Google search.

Don’t Go Backwards

For brands eager to return to their pre-pandemic comfort zones in a post-pandemic landscape, reverting to old strategies may be a step backward in customer experience. Here’s how:

  1. Customers rely on pickups & deliveries.
    Once a necessity to maintain social distancing during the pandemic, things like curbside pickup and contactless delivery have now become convenient expectations for consumers. Brands that can offer these conveniences, yet choose not to, risk losing their consumers to competing businesses that offer these types of amenities.
  2. Online shopping has become a buying habit.
    Convenience, convenience, convenience! Shopping online has quickly become an easy habit for millions of consumers since the start of the pandemic. Not only does it save consumers time and energy—it gives them access to a wider range of products, often at more competitive prices.
  3. Appointment setting helps people avoid crowds and enjoy the convenience.
    Having the ability to set an appointment was a major plus for consumers looking to avoid crowds at their favorite stores, but online appointment scheduling continues to offer a slew of benefits beyond the pandemic, benefits like increased organization, greater time management, and 24/7 access for consumers looking to purchase services from your brand.

“Normal” is just a setting on the dryer!

Forget about getting back to normal. Work with a TTG Mentor to find creative ways to pivot to a new normal for your business!


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Creative Director/Senior Designer

Tom DiGrazia

With over a decade and a half of professional design experience, Tom brings his knowledge of design principles and focus on user experience to every aspect of his contribution to TTG. Paying special attention to each client’s brand, personalized needs and individual interests, he strives to create compelling concepts utilizing intuitive and highly-refined design solutions. In addition to traditional and digital design work and oversight at TTG, Tom also boasts a wide portfolio of web development projects with the company, allowing him to stretch his CSS and HTML skills across multiple platforms and disciplines. He feels that being a designer in the digital landscape of websites, eCommerce solutions, email marketing platforms and social media, it is important to understand the code that goes into these areas as it assists his ability to tailor designs specifically targeted to achieve the best end result and further builds understanding and communication with backend development teams.

In his off hours, Tom is an avid pop culture enthusiast, staying up to date on the latest shows, films, comics and games. He can also typically be found taking part in a whole host of artistic activities that help him further stretch his creative legs. Regardless of the activity, Tom is always accompanied by his dog, Eli, and his cat, Tib.

Specialties:
Design, Photography, Illustration, Digital Imagery Manipulation, Wesbite Development

Platforms/Tools:
Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, HTML/CSS, Wordpress

Analyst/Strategist

Courtney Dumont

As Senior Marketing Strategist & Analyst at Technology Therapy Group, Courtney is energized by the ability to flex both her left and right brain daily. Courtney discovered her passion for Marketing at Bryant University, where she spearheaded research on students’ perceptions of Social Media Marketing for her Honors Capstone Project. After graduating Bryant in 2012, she joined the Technology Therapy team, where she’s honed her skills in social media, search and social advertising, email marketing, SEO, and more.

Since joining the team, Courtney has created digital marketing strategies and managed campaigns for clients across the country, ranging from plastic surgery centers, to jewelry stores, to construction companies. With a cohesive, cross-channel approach and a focus on data-driven decision making, she has increased their leads by up to 217%. But Courtney doesn’t leave her zeal for social media at the office; she also runs a local foodie Instagram account with her husband to document their meals across Rhode Island and beyond. Check them out: @hoppilyfed.

Specialties:
Marketing Strategy, Data Analysis, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Social Media

Platforms/Tools:
Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Facebook Creator Studio, Instagram, Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Emma Mail, Google Data Studio, WordPress, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft Office