May 5, 2020

Media Buying

Adapting Marketing Strategies During A Global Pandemic

Here in Canada, Coronavirus is without a doubt one of the most serious events to strike society in over 60 years. Publicly traded companies and small businesses alike are pulling all cards at their disposal to make it through this crisis in the most responsible and efficient way possible. Covid-19 has shifted the way many brands are doing business, and this pivot includes their marketing and advertising approach. Although many industries are essentially on pause for the time being, most brands are still finding new and creative ways to communicate with their customers in the digital space. 

Here is a list of areas we are seeing being tackled across many companies and different industries, to ensure brand safety, maintain efficiency, and produce effective marketing throughout this pandemic. We also take a look at what is being planned for the post-virus resurgence of business and economic resumption. Keep in mind that these approaches are highly dependent on industry and company specifics. Always consult with a professional or your agency team before making an important decision that will influence media strategy. 

Marketing During the Pandemic

Contextual Messaging Considerations

As many of us are well aware, we are currently seeing a huge proportion of web traffic flowing toward news articles and publication websites. Though this is a unique situation for marketers, it’s not necessarily bad for brand safety, it simply requires increased foresight and planning. With this reality in mind, it has become more important to plan appropriate messaging based on where we know that ads will be displayed. Utilizing copy and messaging that speaks to users appropriately based on where they are browsing can make a huge difference. Planning digital campaigns with a more contextual approach is a method we have seen many brands and marketers embracing during the pandemic so far.This approach, coupled with trusted verification partners, ensures advertisers are speaking to potential customers in a relevant way and in a safe environment. This is particularly important with programmatic display, video, and native programs.

Shifting To Awareness

Though many industries are seeing higher consumer activity than usual, many other industries are mostly halted for the time being. Depending on the cash flow available for marketing initiatives, many brands in industries that have been forced to pause their supply chains are shifting their strategy away from fulfilling orders or generating sales, to generating opportunities for future business/customers. Although consumers may not be actively shopping for services and products in person, the situation at hand presents a very real opportunity to grow awareness for brands, products and services on the internet. With more Canadians than ever stuck at home with little to occupy themselves aside from books, TV & online media, this is an opportune time to reach users online at a discounted cost. Before cutting budgets altogether, take some time to assess whether added brand awareness could help your company during recovery.

Adapting To Virtual Communication

Online tools are becoming our go-to sources for human connection, information sharing, workplace conferencing, and more. A great opportunity to connect with your clients, customers and fans during self-isolation is to connect with them virtually. Webinars and live conversations have found their way into content creation and engagement activities for many companies. Humans will always crave connection with other people, and if zoom, skype and facetime are the closest we can get to this, you can rest assured we are certainly going to dig in. Catalyst has already held several marketing and media webinars for both new and existing clients and these have been a great success!  

Marketing After the Pandemic

Develop Your Strategy In Advance

Although many of us may not see the light at the end of the tunnel quite yet, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t somewhere on the horizon. Many agencies and brands are emphasizing important discussions around what an exit strategy looks like, once restrictions begin to ease. It is likely many regions will take a phased approach to re-opening. What are going to be the primary and secondary business goals as this phased approach is rolled out? As supply chains catch up to demand, certain lines of business will need to be prioritized and messaging will need to be both regionally contextual and sensitive to changing requirements for health and safety. Having a roadmap that aligns with government phases can help smooth this transition into reactivation.

Shifts In Marketing Budgets, Spending, And Competition

As the economy reopens some businesses will be better poised for growth than others. Companies with strong positive cash flow and adaptive supply chains are going to be strategically increasing their investment in marketing and advertising to capitalize on gaps within their markets. Brands that have maintained a consistent advertising spend through the heavy quarantine period will need to do less work in order to recuperate market share. As consumer spending begins to rebound and grow, it’s very likely that demand could outstrip supply in many sectors.

Changes In Consumer Behaviour

As one may assume, following such a globally significant event, a change in consumer behaviour patterns is an almost inevitable reality. Some of these behaviour changes will diminish (eg. time spent online) however some sectors are likely to experience significant permanent growth as new innovations and technology emerge. Every industry will experience this differently and it’s important to consider how your customers are likely to react. Taking the time to more deeply understand where your organization lies on this spectrum of change can guide media decisions and strategic actions alike.