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How the Pandemic Impacts Marketing


Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "How the Pandemic Impacts Marketing," comports with a bevy of consumer behavioral changes now evident as a result of the 2020 pandemic. Successful marketing strategies typically include a sharp focus on consumer behavior data and how that behavior changes and/or adapts to evolving socioeconomic conditions on the ground. Make no mistake; the pandemic has altered life.  As a result, new consumer behavior is afoot, with marketers scrambling to understand the way forward. 

We already know that e-commerce is delivering an impact across all sectors, including marketing, supply chains, and resourcing. In addition, the pandemic is also responsible for more items per basket for offline retailers as households look to stock up.  As offline retailers signal supply shortages, many consumers are switching to online purchases instead of waiting for stock replenishments. It's as if marketers and brands were discovering a new America, similar to the earlier shores when settlers from afar were faced with everyday challenges. Alas, it is a brave new world…again.

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Real-Time Insight

It would make good sense to employ a marketing tool that provides real-time insight into consumer behavior data. Having actionable data on hand mitigates the downside risk of launching a marketing campaign that misses the mark, and more importantly, the targeted consumer sentiment. The one trait that brands and marketers need to survive is to plan, and then plan again, as the consumer groundswell evolves. Continuous shifts in behavior will dictate evolving marketing strategies and execution.

Notable Shifts Underway

The following list is but a snapshot of some of the shifts currently in play, which will also evolve and change as we move forward:

  • Measuring the effect of custom creative that addresses the state of the virus.
  • Local data tracking for local geographies that are experiencing various impact levels.
  • Adjusting tactical media allocations over time due to demand-driven price variances across media channels. Shifts in media supply and demand are altering cost structures. Therefore, brands and marketers will need to micro-manage particular spending for media channels, particularly for digital, and also ensure that ROI is updated as new cost levels enter the fray.
  • Reduce marketing investments for short-term sales campaigns designed to focus on short-term goals or business outcomes, while simultaneously promoting long-term brand-building campaigns, thus keeping the short term barrel loaded.
  • Change the focus from promoting luxury, high-end products to entry-point level, or items created for everyday usage.
  • Marketers are creating new tactics for sports advertising as the reinstatement of sports venues will be without fans, or in the event that some events will remain canceled. Some marketing pundits are suggesting that holding back the investments for later use is also on the table. This also includes planning for repurposing those sports investment dollars set aside for large sports events, in the event, they remain canceled or postponed, such as the Olympics.
  • Direct mail marketing better cuts through the overbearing usage of internet traffic, and helps increase all digital marketing initiatives. This marketing tool can be a game-changer during the outbreak, as it guarantees target market delivery that can direct recipients to digital channels. Since marketers are withholding some of their big-ticket event ad spends, that revenue could go towards direct mail marketing.

Necessary Marketing Questions

There are always questions when it comes to marketing and branding. However, in a crisis or pandemic, some questions should rise to the top of the list. Therefore, in a crisis, marketing questions that arise to the level of necessity are those that include, "What advertising messaging is appropriate?", "How does the brand interact and engage effectively with consumers during the course of this outbreak?"; and "How can a brand leverage data analytics for better insight that solves problems and meets consumer needs?"

Another key question that comes to mind is, "What method should a brand or marketer utilize to understand the difference between short-term sales spikes and long-term sales trends?" Depending on your sector, there are a number of other key questions more specific to your industry that will undoubtedly arise as marketing strategies and tactics evolve with rapidly changing behaviors.

Will New Habits Become the New Normal

Some economic and marketing experts predict that there is a good chance consumers will never return to prepandemic behavior. For some, the changes made during the outbreak, their ability to veer away from the traditional workplace while working, will never be the same. Meanwhile, people who make a living forecasting warn that there will be stints of disruption and uncertainty, which points to the need to leverage advanced real-time analytics. Advanced analytics will offer better support for decisions and will help to mitigate risk. Further, advanced analytics can be applied to cover a number of possible scenarios.

The Net-Net

Marketing strategies are undergoing change across a variety of disrupted sectors and brands. We can't change that. So we must focus on short-term strategies that will get us through the 2H2020. The number one goal will be to generate short-term sales. For many organizations, this will be of primary importance in order to survive. Conversely, long-term brand building strategies should be under review, if not underway, while short-term marketing messages should be responsive and flexible. Remember, your brand building strategies may evolve; however, your brand should remain on track. Thanks for reading the "How the Pandemic Impacts Marketing."  

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