Swimming with the Black Swan: How Marketers are Adjusting to the New Normal of Global Pandemic

Both the scale and scope of COVID-19 are beyond anything we’ve seen in near history. It’s uniting, in that the entire globe was tasked to navigate this challenge together, but more than anything it’s been devastating. It has had a profound effect on the way we do business, interact and live our daily lives – the outcome being that the global economy has taken a bit of a nosedive. Unfortunately for marketers, there is no playbook they can turn to for answers. I was in the industry during 9/11 and the 2009 economic collapse, but neither of these events prepared us for the challenge we are currently facing. Nevertheless, there are steps that pragmatic businesses are taking to carry them through the uncertainty.

Helping Clients Focus on Branding and Supportive Messaging

More than 14% of Americans have lost their jobs and families are investigating cost-saving measures to ensure they can make it through with the few resources available to them. Brands can rest assured that no one wants to be sold to right now.

The tried-and-true ways of convincing someone to make a purchase are not nearly as effective in this new normal. The winning brands are the ones adjusting strategies and acknowledging the current realities in their advertising. These ads from Walmart and Emirates are great examples of what acknowledging a crisis, understanding the national mood, and developing a meaningful, compassionate relationship with your customers can look like.

Brands are partnering with ad tech and martech companies to make these kinds of campaigns a reality. Identifying the right audiences, channels and creative formats allows brands to communicate their messages thoughtfully and appropriately during these times.

When this is done effectively, it can have a huge impact not only on the brand lift but on media efficiency, regardless of the vertical that a brand plays in.

Using Data to Make Smarter Decisions.

The media landscape is shifting rapidly, so the best marketers must leverage accurate insights to make sure they are getting the best value from their (sometimes limited) budget.

Adtech and martech companies are scaling their capabilities to provide clients with the data they need to make smarter decisions. Specifically, it’s important that brands have understood what consumers are choosing to spend money on, what’s most helpful to them in this current landscape and where they are choosing to spend their time.

For instance, according to InMobi data, 77% of consumers in the U.S. have changed their eating habits as a result of COVID-19 and 30 percent are cooking at home more frequently. As a result, there’s been a major uptick in downloads of certain QSR and Grocery Delivery apps.

Additionally, streaming services are seeing great traction as 25% of Americans increase their watching habits by looking for in-home entertainment. As for what consumers are purchasing, that has shifted dramatically as well. Consumers are prioritizing comfort, whether that’s related to clothing or their surroundings; they have fully embraced hygiene.

Preparing for the Post-Coronavirus Future

Even during downturns, the best companies are using the time to ensure their business is in order and prepared for the future. The adtech industry is specifically navigating a period of change with cookies being phased out, privacy legislation being introduced and keyword blocking becoming increasingly aggressive. There is plenty to work out as the world begins to heal.

At some point, we will emerge from this pandemic and have the opportunity to return to some sense of normalcy – and it pays to prepare now for what the future might hold. Now is an ideal time to ensure that when everything passes, we’re all in the best possible position to get the economy churning again.

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