As a marketer, you're no doubt familiar with the concept of "tribe" marketing — the practice of identifying consumer groups in certain interest bubbles that you can spread word of your products and services to.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, a fresh, excellent way to expand your business now and for the future is to take the "tribe" concept a step further. Think of your customer base as a series of "ecosystems" — self-contained groups that thrive and respond best within a certain communication climate.

The concept of ecosystem marketing is useful in many ways to a marketer. According to The Marketing Journal, ecosystem marketing is defined as a way of positioning your idea, message or product in the right groupings for visibility, engaging prospects, and gaining attention and customers. Interlinked ecosystems can include companies, competitors, categories and customers.

Right now, let's look at how you can use simple ecosystems to build your customer base. By identifying the delivery route by which members of your demographic respond most favorably to your messaging, you can place them in their own ecosystem, and tailor your content to them in the way they're most comfortable. The result? They'll be much more likely to pull the trigger on a purchase and come to trust your brand more overall.

How do you start? The simplest way is to break down your base into five specific ecosystem groups you can model your messaging plan around, and customize the experience you offer each group so you're meeting their needs and answering their concerns most effectively and efficiently.

Think in terms of the following ecosystem groups, with a view toward filling your consumers' needs as the pandemic continues:

The Multitaskers.

These are consumers who like to use your product in conjunction with products from another brand — say, they buy your sneakers to do a specific branded workout at home. Knowing the popular ways your audience likes to link your brand to another allows you to connect better with your consumers, plus forge new brand alliances.

For example, McKinsey finds that a food brand marketer could link with an e-health platform or online fitness companies in terms of cross-promotional opportunities, therefore broadening the appeal of both companies. Think of partnerships that can speak to the needs of consumers spending their time at home.

The Truth Tellers.

A study from earlier this year from the University of Pennsylvania found that consumers tend to be more honest in terms of expressing personal preferences when using their smartphones compared to their desktop computers.

There are two reasons why: first, people have been shown to focus intently on a task on their phones and tend to block out concerns about revealing too much. Second, people feel very comfortable on their phones because they are using them constantly. That familiarity makes them feel more open about discussing what they like or dislike.

You can customize your outreach in a uniquely personal way, taking this info into account for customers who prefer to give you feedback via their phones. In that mobile technology is more important than ever during the pandemic, this is a highly relevant approach.

The Podcast Lovers.

According to data from St. Joseph Communications, the fact that people are socially isolated during the pandemic has made their interest for connecting through a favorite podcast even more relevant. A wise marketer can direct editorial and promotional content into their base's favorite podcast formats easily and effectively.

The Browsers.

A vivid, eye-popping screen image and/or message can stop casual web-surfers in their tracks and make them take a second look at what you've got to offer. Browsing is more popular now than ever — pour all your creativity into finding new ways to capture attention.

The Loyal Base.

You want to reward this baked-in ecosystem — long-term fans of your brand who consistently buy your products and services — with freebies, special offers, first looks at new products, and discounts aplenty.

Breaking down your demographic into the right ecosystems means you can consistently hit the spot with each group you target. Start with these groupings and expand out to more ecosystems depending on your brand's specifics — it's a great way to boost your profits fast!