By Julia Kotaev
In March, I thought the need for marketing was dead. Yes, this was a very dramatic viewpoint, but I thought marketing jobs would undoubtedly be halted by the pandemic.
What was there left to market while the world was panicking? There was confusion and utter chaos in trying to understand COVID-19 and how individuals should protect themselves.
At first, there was a toilet paper shortage and people were stocking up on anything and everything they could find. I couldn’t predict anyone wanting to spend money or partake in any kind of activities.
However, my viewpoint surprisingly changed.
Companies have strategically narrowed down what categories have become popular after the worldwide panic calmed down. In the beginning of quarantine, I began to splurge and buy things because I wanted to feel like I was going to be able to go somewhere after the chaos.
For some reason, I bought an abundance of hoop earrings because I was convinced I’d be able to go out to dinners and get some Instagram-worthy pictures. When I realized that wasn’t going to happen, I bought a Hulu Plus subscription.
In my opinion, Zoom — which eased everyone’s transition into remote work — was the first to revive marketing. Alcohol brands emphasized virtual happy hours, universities did their best to celebrate virtual graduations and so forth.
Out of boredom, everyone began to cook and bake more. Banana bread became the norm so influencers and regular people alike — including myself — began to document their baking journeys. After everyone baked and ate so much bread that they started tweeting about the “quarantine” weight they were gaining, companies began to market at-home workouts.
Virtual yoga was now an option and virtual training classes were livelier than ever. So, Pelotons and Soulcycle bikes were advertised in new ways. Though the gyms were closed, you could bring it right into your home by way of the internet.
People started shopping online more often and retailers responded with promotional emails advertising several discounts. Even Zara enacted a policy enabling all clothes purchased between January and July to be returned without a fee.
As stores have now started opening up again, anything purchased — even sale items — can be returned because shoppers can’t try anything on in the fitting rooms.
Magazines such as Vogue began virtual photoshoots over FaceTime and clothing brands responded with quarantine-focused clothing, highlighting aspects of the “new normal” on shirts and masks.
My favorites included Krost New York, which made caps stating “Support Each Other,” and Redbubble, where creativity boomed with masks featuring various designs. I purchased one that stated “Anti Social Social Distancing Club,” a pun on the streetwear brand Anti Social Social Club. I definitely promote social distancing though, so stay six feet away from me.
When it became clear that working from home would be a monumental part of this new normal, food delivery apps realized that more people would be ordering delivery than picking up their food.
Restaurants promoted curbside delivery and UberEats created UberEats Pass, where you can get unlimited access to free delivery from local restaurants — yes, I’m a member and no, I’m not proud because I don’t even want to tell you how much money I spent on stress-eating cheeseburgers.
These companies have excelled at adapting as the pandemic taught them how to target and market to a more niche audience. Marketing is now based on safety and accessibility.
How can people enjoy the things they love while being safe? How can companies still utilize social media apps — which people have gone to as a source of information and entertainment during the pandemic — to their fullest potential?
Think about all the things you love doing, because there is definitely an alternative for it now. Quarantine has taught everyone how to be more creative, open-minded and innovative.
If anything, now is the time to go into marketing.