indicatorMarkets and Economy

Strategies to re-engage your audience post-pandemic

By ATB Financial 12 August 2021 2 min read


1. Audience engagement is improving between consumers and organizations but some people are still feeling hesitant in relation to the pandemic.

As more people take the vaccine and provincial restrictions change, comfort levels are improving and risk tolerances are shifting.

Stone-Olafson's research shows that 38% of Albertans are comfortable interacting with large groups of people as of June 2021 compared to 28% in May 2020. But, six-in-ten Albertans are still in “wait and see” mode when it comes to public activities.

Safety remains a big concern for consumers and people will return at their own pace. Continued assurance of safety measures, giving consumers time, and being patient are still required of organizations.

2. Converting pent-up interest to actual engagement will require a balance of messaging.

Albertans have new expectations from local businesses and organizations. Organizations need to talk about the benefits of their product or service experience and include safety, flexibility in participation/payment, and even availability.

When asked, "thinking about the activities that you normally enjoy, assuming restrictions are coming off as planned and some health measures or safety measures will be in place, when will you consider doing those activities again?" participants in the Stone-Olafson research responded with the following:

Consideration for activities As soon as it's open, I'm going I'll consider it, but I'm going to wait I'm waiting until
this is all over
Travel within Alberta 57% 29% 7%
Travel outside of Alberta 48% 26% 18%
Outdoor attractions 44% 37% 13%
Gym, fitness, or rec centres 44% 22% 24%
Live sporting events 37% 24% 29%
Indoor attractions 35% 31% 24%
Festivals 34% 26% 33%
Live performances 33% 28% 30%

3. Half of Albertans say their spending habits are different from before the pandemic.

While savings may have increased during the pandemic, this does not translate into readiness to spend. 63% of Alberta consumers have spent less on activities over the past year and a half, but they have redirected their spend elsewhere. Changes in income also need to be considered. Lower per-cap spending will likely be the norm for the short term, flexibility in payment options may be necessary, and value offers may be helpful to induce spending.

Here are the spending habits of Albertans:

  • 63% spent less on activities but have redirected their spending elsewhere
  • 50% have different spending habits after the pandemic
  • 46% shared the pandemic helped them save more
  • 42% consider spending more knowing they are supporting organizations dealing with the impacts of the pandemic

4. The experience economy is completely integrated, the pandemic hasn’t changed that.

For both consumers and organizations, there will be a phase of recovery followed by building new habits before everything settles. But individual organizations or sectors did not exist in silos before and that remains true.

Albertans are pursuers of experiences more than anything. And exploring partnerships and collaboration might present greater opportunities for organizations and sectors that didn’t consider this before. This might be one of the most important elements for collective recovery from the pandemic.

Here are helpful tips to consider:

  • Understand your 'why', what's your purpose? Why were your customers there in the first place?
  • The need to adapt and innovate has accelerated with the pandemic. Your audience is not standing still; organizations will have to be prepared to shorten cycles of program development and offer alternatives more frequently.

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