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COVID-19 Marketer Reactions

by Andy Jacobson
April 08, 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has re-shaped the way businesses everywhere are operating for the foreseeable future. For the advertising ecosystem, that means re-calibrating every decision to account for new business conditions, audience behavior, and consumer spending patterns. Based on what we’ve seen so far, here are four strategic shifts taking hold throughout the pandemic:

1.Operating near the extremes of the Marketing Funnel

Some companies are seeing an increase in sales – household goods providers or technology/telco firms are placing emphasis in coming months on the lower end of the marketing funnel as they seek to capture available clientele and establish themselves as the brands of record in their respective verticals. One obvious example: Delivery and e-commerce brands have an opportunity to capture more market share among demographics that, until now, had been more inclined to shop in person. Entirely new populations have been forced to the bottom of their marketing funnel, and outreach emphasis focuses on reeling them in for good.

For those that are struggling – such as the hospitality and travel industries – sales and lead cultivation are out of the question for now. Yet, they can ill-afford to stay out of the public consciousness. Operations will return to normal,  and the months immediately following that return will be critical to maintaining, or even gaining, market share. So, for the time being, competition within these industries is transitioning from customer acquisition to brand cultivation and awareness.

2.Cause marketing will play a major role for the foreseeable future.

One trend, on the rise even before the pandemic, is the growth of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in marketing strategies – a trend that came about as more socially conscious consumers entered the marketplace.

No single event has captured public awareness in recent years more completely than the Coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, the public is acutely aware of how companies respond – not to mention the age of social media. No corporate action – good or bad – will remain a secret for long, nor soon forgotten.

We’ve already seen a variety of industries take steps to support those impacted by the pandemic. Knowing the positive impact these actions have on the public, they continue to shape a central part of campaigns in coming weeks and months.

3.The importance of performance-based strategies

The advent of precise, small-segment digital marketing was a popular and growing tool for companies looking to reach a specific audience before Coronavirus. As marketing budgets face new constraints, companies are even harder pressed to cast the wide net that comes with advertising on traditional media. Marketers should better target and plan their campaigns by  adding an action-based aspect to the payment and measurement of their digital ads. This precision will provide a new layer of certainty where it is hard to find elsewhere.

4.More campaigns will emphasize collaboration tools

One “thriving” market during the pandemic has been remote collaboration tools, like Zoom, that enable the workforce to communicate while operating from home. As workflow solutions compete to become the system of record in their respective verticals, expect marketing campaigns to emphasize their remote capabilities more than ever - from messaging tools, to file-sharing, to multi-point access. Even if this need diminishes as people return to their offices, it’s unlikely to fade from executives’ minds; marketers will respond accordingly.

We don’t yet know the full extent of coming changes to the advertising ecosystem. Marketers able to recognize these shifts and adjust quickly to their new reality will be extremely valuable to businesses as they navigate the uncertainty that is and is to come.