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Stay-at-home orders may be in the process of being lifted, but unfortunately, the reality is the effects of this pandemic look to be long-lasting. In fact, ask advertisers and publishers and the general consensus is that the coronavirus is expected to have more of a negative impact on the economy and advertising than the financial crisis of 2008/2009.
Eek! So how will the coronavirus impact the marketing world specifically?
“We’ve never been through this type of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) slowdown or crisis environment in this type of e-commerce market, with so much direct-to-consumer and so much focus on ordering and shipping,” says Bruce Biegel, Winterberry Group‘s senior managing partner. “What happens if, all of a sudden, your commercial audience is going to be at home more? It doesn’t mean they don’t want to buy those things…they’re just going to turn online.”
A survey from Gartner, Inc. echoes the impact the coronavirus will have on the marketing world, with marketers reporting that budget cuts have already resulted in campaign launches being delayed (45%), altering of creative ad content (34%), and media buys being canceled (26%).
Previous research shows that customer loyalty is often determined by how a company deals with a crisis. Case in point, Growth from Knowledge reports that more than 8 in 10 (83%) consumers say that the way companies conduct themselves during this crisis will impact whether they do business with them in the future. Currently, more than three-quarters (78%) agree that companies are being a “force for good,” yet about two-thirds (67%) say they have noticed companies trying to take advantage during the crisis.
According to Forbes Magazine, some examples of the types of shifts we’re seeing and expect to see in the coronavirus marketing world and investments include:
- Directing investments toward marketing tactics that drive online sales.
- Reducing marketing investments on campaigns to drive short-term sales or business outcomes, while keeping brand-building campaigns live – essentially saving dry powder.
- Shifting budgets to promote at-home and delivery-based options (i.e., at-home fitness solutions/equipment/apps, grocery delivery, restaurant delivery, etc.)
- Shifting focus from promoting premium products to entry-point or everyday items.
- With sporting events being canceled or played without fans, many advertisers are formulating new plans for those budgets – often holding the investments for later use – or scenario planning for how to redeploy their dollars if a large advertising event such as the Olympics is canceled or postponed.
- Fine-tuning media allocations by tactic as we experience demand-driven price fluctuations in various media channels. Changes in media supply and demand will impact costs, so we anticipate marketers will need to closely manage certain spending areas, such as digital, with refreshed ROIs on new cost levels.
- Tracking data in local geographies that experienced varying levels of impacts.
- Using trends social sentiment and Google query volume on relevant keywords as indicators to inform marketing actions.
- Building in quick response learnings to optimize marketing budgets and transfer learnings across markets.
- Measurement of custom content addressing the viruses.
Where is the Coronavirus impacting the marketing world most?
Consumer mobility; shifts in media consumption habits; supply chains, such as shortages of and concerns over goods manufactured in China; and economic volatility.
“With this dynamic situation, companies need to plan their next marketing moves wisely to either mitigate downside risk or capture all the upside that’s possible,” says Kathy Bachmann, GM of Americas with the consultancy Analytic Partners.
In a crisis such as what we are facing in the coronavirus marketing world, it is necessary to ask: What type of advertising messaging is appropriate and how do you most effectively engage with customers during the outbreak? How can you leverage analytics to understand and meet their needs?