Interviews

Kieran O’Brien on how digital marketing was essential to keeping businesses going during the pandemic

Kieran O’Brien on how the role of digital marketing has changed throughout the pandemic

2020 was the year that the world as we knew it changed. The pandemic swept the world up in lockdowns and restrictions, and almost every aspect of our lives moved online. E-commerce experienced a boom like never before, as housebound shoppers flocked online to buy essentials, impulse items, and everything in between. Digital marketing was suddenly thrown into the spotlight as it became a crucial lifeline for the economy. Digital marketer Kieran O’Brien is the cofounder and chief executive officer of MediaKits.com, a platform for creating custom media kits online. Here, O’Brien shares his insights on the role that digital marketing has played amidst the pandemic.

Firstly, O’Brien shares, the pandemic completely transformed the role that digital marketing had played up until that point. He says that before the events of the pandemic, digital marketing was surprisingly still considered to be a supplementary service that coexisted with traditional advertising such as transport advertising and billboard and in-store poster campaigns. But, O’Brien continues, once foot traffic within the places where advertising had physically existed disappeared, print media became instantly irrelevant. This was when digital media suddenly became an essential service that businesses large and small pinned their hopes to, to keep their livelihoods alive. And it was experienced digital marketers who accepted the call to action and kept digital marketing thriving throughout the unprecedented demand that it suddenly faced. Companies that had once overlooked advertising on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram suddenly wanted a crash course in it. The skills of a digital marketer were suddenly invaluable, and they helped digital marketing play a crucial role amidst the pandemic that saved companies and supported parts of the economy. The other essential role that digital marketing played during the crisis was a largely unexpected one; it brought people together. The pandemic left family and friends alike separated with no idea of when they might be close to each other again. It was then, that digital marketing took on a comforting role for its frightened and isolated customers. O’Brien expands on this, saying, “Suddenly, phrases like ‘hold firm’ and ‘stay safe’ were being shared by big-name brands online as they used their digital platform to offer support.”

Kieran O’Brien gained prominence as the cofounder of MediaKits.com, the first pre-existing, off-the-shelf application that creates custom media kits. The entrepreneur also founded automotive marketing company GearedSocial, a support system for automotive businesses to build their brands through the channels of social media and digital advertising. Kieran O’Brien believes in the power of digital marketing, the power that it has to shape our future and define our past. He shares that, overall, we may not know the exact role that digital marketing has played throughout the pandemic until we can view recent events through the clearer lens of hindsight.

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