In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I began to think of what I was thankful about. Certainly, I’m thankful for my family, my friends, and our continued health in these uncertain times. From a business aspect, I also have much to be thankful for.
I visited my office last week, the first time back in 8 months. Okay, so I only went back for 10 minutes to pick up a small heater I left under my desk. When our office was closed in March, I took the things I thought I would need for the next few weeks or maybe a few months. I never imagined we’d still be working remote through the winter.
But, going back to the office was a bit surreal.
Walking through the building, I felt like an actor on a sci-fi movie. Everything was just frozen in time. Notes we scrawled on white boards. Families smiled from framed pictures. Children’s drawings were tacked to workspaces. Coffee mugs sat waiting for a refill. My footsteps echoed in the empty building.
COVID protocols were in evidence. New hand sanitizers existed where none had been before. Signs warned of social distancing. Meeting spaces were closed or reconfigured.
I miss my office.
Even before COVID, I worked at home part-time and in the office part-time. It was a great balance. I commuted with a colleague and we shared business strategies, work assignments and family gossip on the 45-minute ride. I worked in-person with a few people in the office, but mostly enjoyed being part of a community where we all had the same business goals. I also used the gym at the office and looked forward to relieving the day-to-day pressure of a fast-paced job with exercise and social contact.
I’m optimistic. I believe COVID seclusion will soon end and we will once again be able to socialize with others in person. But, I don’t believe work will ever be the same.
Analysis are calling the post-COVID business world the new normal. In this brave new world, extensive digital marketing tactics are the next normal. According to McKinsey,
“It’s already a cliché: the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the shift to digital. But the best companies are going further, by enhancing and expanding their digital channels.”
I’m a digital marketer. I’ve seen web statistics soar, even in the industrial space. The SEO principles I apply have become even more vital as search continues to expand how companies research their next purchase. This year I participated in our first-ever virtual user event and watched hundreds of customers tune in from their home offices and workplaces. As a consumer, I’ve seen my own email become inundated with new marketing messages. Display advertising follows me throughout all my web journeys. Though new privacy regulations are now pervasive throughout the WWW, I know I’m tracked whether as an anonymous data point as part of an aggregate statistic or as an individual because I’ve agreed to website cookies.
Part of me is quite excited. I love digital marketing and thrive on the new technologies and advances in areas such as AI and machine learning.
But with anything new comes uncertainty.
Business will reinvent itself again; I have no doubt. Who knows what is around the corner? I live in the Boston area. Nine months ago, would you have thought the hot item for December in the northeast United States would be propane-fueled outdoor heaters? Or that delivery services would be the new norm?
I’m lucky. My area of marketing will continue to boom, though change may be fast and furious. I’m thankful that I can ride the wave, continuing to advance our website and digital experiences with even more automation and personalization. In 2021, our chat bot will help simplify the buying experience and connect those further along the buying cycle with sales team members who can assist. Our web pages will dynamically change depending on your industry or product need. And we will further connect our social, search, and virtual event programs to provide a better overall experience.
I truly enjoy my work and those I work with. I do have much to be thankful for.