As Covid-19 gripped the world in March this year, we saw multiple brands pausing their marketing activity. During this time of uncertainty, it became more imperative than ever for marketers to prove the outcome and value of their investment in consumer and performance marketing.
As industries and businesses enter “the new normal”, there is optimism for economic stability despite a potential looming recession. At the ever changing pace, advertising budgets across direct response and brand awareness are following suit. Every marketer will face challenges along their way, each one shares a common goal, to be able to reach both new and existing target consumers. It is now more important than ever for marketers to reflect and adapt to the environment around them.
The new norm
With Covid-19 changing the “normal way of life”, marketers with countless others had to adapt their approach. Media plans have shifted significantly and as marketers begin planning for 2021, strategies will differ vastly from the 2020 plan in order to prepare for a second wave.
Marketers will have to look at which trends are driving growth and ensure they focus on this strategy to get the best possible return in 2021 and bounce back from the pandemic. Marketers are calling into question whether digital OOH is still a viable option, video is booming and should be at the forefront of any advertising plan.
Consumers diversity for brands is driving channel diversification
Diversification has been substantial within the digital advertising space over the past couple of years, and video is determinedly increasing its market share over traditional display.
Consumers are spending more time online, but across numerous channels, there is high rivalry for marketers to secure the best consumer reach. Consumers do expect you to give them unique and creative advertising experience online, as a result, brands investing more money into their creative sections each year. As video gives a lot more creativity than other formats, it is not unexpected that this year, digital video will account for more than half of the display spend total for the first time. And the more pertinent the creative message can be, the more impactful it will be, which means stronger brands whether that is increasing product sales or simply building brand awareness.
Video is a clear choice of focus for brands as 2021 approaches given digital is less likely to be affected by a resurgence of the pandemic. A creative technology platform that partners with social sites, social media advertising is already rebounding as consumers have turned to categories such as gaming that has offset declining sectors such as travel.
Media is a significant channel for marketers planning, messaging during this time should be top of any brand’s mind. A brand’s best asset is its loyal consumers. Throughout Covid-19, better communication they have been able to have with their customers, the better retention and future plans they’ll be able to have for re-engaging once these consumers are back in a spending mindset.
It was important for brands to consider the right message to consumers. In the Covid-19 Barometer created by Kantar in March what consumers really wanted to hear from brands during this crisis was how they can help them. 77% of the 25,00 people surveyed said that the top comms strategy during this time was for the brand to highlight how it can be helped in the new normal. What consumers didn’t want to see were brands exploiting the pandemics situation of referencing the situation with nothing different to say.
The ability of creativeness comes to the fore again here, creativity with your message to read the context of the situation you are advertising in and the person you are advertising to. We are seeing more from marketers is that they return to the essential values of our industry, reaching the right person, with engaging content to increase brand awareness and establish brand loyalty.
Attribution and measuring is the key to marketer’s next steps
Brands decisions-making currently comes down to whether or not the CFO sees marketing as an investment or a cost. This will be particularly interesting to see throughout Q4. Another crucial factor would be the brand’s approach to these times is the type of consumer reaction they seek- direct response or brand awareness – and the channels they employ.
Digital-first brands are more than likely to increase marketing activity faster than those that are not. Through the power of technology, brands are able to achieve ‘moment marketing’, maintaining relevance to their customer as well as allowing for better measurement and flexibility around KPIs, allowing CMOs to track ROI more easily.
To understand how to implement and optimise cross-channel campaigns will be key for online marketers. Placement and understanding of the impact of one channel over another is critical and it will be through the expertise and experience of the right technology partners , machine learning capabilities and data access that will enable marketers to understand the impact and value of a diversified approach to channels. In actual fact, shrewd marketers will have already studied their econometrics to comprehend the channel impact of the pandemic and resulting downstream effects on marketing activity and sales.
Covid-19 has been a major shock to the world and whilst brands have overcome many challenges, it will be key for them to continue acclimatising as the world moves forward.