Impact of Covid on marketing and business development

This leader article – the impact of Covid on marketing and business development – appeared in Professional Marketing magazine Winter 2020 edition
Rather than wallow in the awful cost of Covid19, I wanted to reflect on its positive impact on professional services marketing and business development.
The pandemic has bridged gaps by binding us together in the struggle for survival. It has ushered in more authentic  voices on social media. It has shown real people struggling with video technology while kids and pets interfere. It has forced firms to get back to basics and pay full attention to clients. And we are picking up the phone more often.
The pandemic has thrust professional services marketing into the limelight – to lead the way on strategy and engagement. I’m proud that so many have risen to the challenge to rethink and reinvent. Our firms have tested their brand values and strategies against new ways of communicating and contributing. Covid has led to bold campaigns and the creation of some astonishingly innovative solutions.
We have all spent more time learning – obviously online. Some of us were furloughed and had time to re-connect with those around them and reflect on their goals. Others were made redundant but were supported by our community and found more fulfilling careers. The dramatic changes to M&BD teams thrust junior professionals into more responsible positions. And they flourished.
Firms (finally) accelerated their investment in and deployment of technology and we saw more targeted and personalised content being shared. Fast. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)  are being used to produce magnificent online events. And the expedited digital transformation delivered incredible leaps in the client experience and service excellence.
I saw a comment on LinkedIn from Tom Goodwin – author of “Digital Darwinism: Survival of the Fittest in the Age of Business Disruption” on 24th October: “I’ve realised this year that the more people know about modelling and complex interactions in data, the less people understand about human nature and behaviour”.
As a psychologist I could argue that the latest research in neuroscience  gives us fantastic insight into human behaviour. But – faced with the enormous and novel impact of Covid in every aspect of our lives – I wonder whether that research tells the whole story. We have never faced this level of disruption and change before.
As the global pandemic rolls on I wonder just how much more will change on a professional and personal level. How our clients and their clients will change. And I reflect on the fundamentals of marketing – to anticipate what our clients will need and find ways to meet those needs profitably.
Marketing is best-placed to learn about the impact on our clients. We need the data of course. But it is human interaction – relationships – that will remain critical. And we are so very good at relationship marketing in professional services.
Covid related articles:
Change management: The change process – Emotions when reacting to change (Video) (April 2020)
Marketing in a time of Coronavirus – Pragmatic ideas (May 2020)
Be more strategic – Strategy in a post-Covid19 world  (July 2020)
Improve your resilience (article in The Law Society Law Management Section) (November 2020) and Change management: Building Resilience – Regulation, Reframing, Relationships and Reflection (Video)  (May 2020)