How COVID-19 is Affecting Marketing Campaigns
Marketing is no easy task at the best of times, and marketing during a pandemic is truly challenging. This past spring we explored how following three simple corporate communications principles helped our company adjust to the new normal. Today we’re going to examine how COVID-19 is affecting marketing campaigns and what businesses are doing to engage their target audiences successfully, even in these difficult and uncertain times.
Marketing During a Pandemic - The Problems
In order to find solutions to the marketing issues caused by this pandemic, we must first look closely at how has COVID affected marketing. The ramifications of the upheaval we’re experiencing are numerous and far-reaching for businesses trying to reach and convert consumers.
Many marketing departments are facing budget freezes or have had their budgets cut since the beginning of the pandemic. Both B2C and B2B companies have encountered changes in customer/client spending with many people throughout the country scared to expend money on anything beyond basic necessities due to a lack of job security and/or reduced income. In addition to budgetary issues, traditional advertising methods became less effective in some cases as many schools transitioned to virtual learning and employees were forced to work from home.
This brief look at how COVID-19 is affecting marketing campaigns paints a pretty grim picture, but there are many reasons for hope and a variety of remedies available for the challenges marketers face in these trying times.
Marketing During a Pandemic - The Solutions
Flexibility and creativity are of primary importance when it comes to facing unprecedented difficulties successfully. Businesses must rework both their marketing strategies and spending plans to fit the new constraints that have been placed upon them.
“He knows not his own strength who hath not met adversity.”
- WILLIAM SAMUEL JOHNSON
Digital marketing delivers access to home-bound consumers.
With the increased percentage of consumers spending the majority of their workdays and free time at home, many advertisers are now wisely prioritizing digital marketing efforts. To reach the plethora of individuals engaged in Zoom meetings, Google Hangouts, and Facebook video chats (as well as those scrolling Instagram, Snapchat, and Reddit), smart businesses have amped up their online presence, transferring funds to social media ads, sponsored posts, and Google Search and Display ads, and adding eCommerce capabilities where necessary.
See our Marketing Toolkit for the complete Important Online Advertising Facts infographic and other helpful campaign planning resources.
Companies that are pursuing real success in an increasingly virtual world are creating websites that are content rich, with videos, active blogs, and landing pages that are both informative and actionable. Many are hosting webinars and other virtual events as consumers search for new ways to interact in a time of COVID-related shut-downs, quarantines, and stay-at-home orders.
Although digital marketing is still relatively new, this is a fast moving arena. Companies who truly value consumer engagement need to make sure their virtual marketing campaigns aren’t stale or cookie cutter. Cutting edge marketing departments are implementing creative new marketing tactics like text marketing, emerging media use (TikTok etc.), and virtual happy hours.
The resurgence of TV advertising (and the associated advent of OTT ads) provides hope.
Television advertising is encountering a potential resurgence as more families re-prioritize spending time together and turn to on-air programming for entertainment. Expanding the definition of TV ads to include over-the-top (OTT) advertising is likely to fuel this revival. This emerging advertising venue allows marketers to present commercials directly to viewers through streaming video services, smart TVs etc., bypassing network and cable TV providers.
Not only can OTT advertising be more affordable than traditional paid television advertising, it also gives marketers the ability to speak directly to consumers in a personalized and interactive way. Customized OTT content is made possible by the vast amount of data OTT customer interaction provides, which far exceeds the simple information on viewing habits and basic demographics available to traditional TV advertisers.
Social sensitivity speaks to audiences in trying times.
In addition to reworking budgets, reprioritizing their marketing mix, and searching out new advertising venues, each business needs a deep understanding not only of how COVID-19 is affecting marketing campaigns, but also of the ways the pandemic is affecting its target audience.
By being sensitive to people’s changed circumstances and mindful of the way COVID (and pandemic-related revelations about issues of racial equity) has affected those they’re trying to reach, marketers stand a better chance of engaging their target market.
An increased emphasis on corporate and social responsibility speaks volumes to the public as we each face individual challenges and unexpected changes to our normal lives. Examples of effective ways to demonstrate this type of care and concern are:
- Campaigns that feature people wearing face masks and practicing social distancing
- A strong emphasis on increased sanitization procedures
- Public corporate support of black-owned businesses
Marketing During a Pandemic - Samples of Success
Our Higher Education Marketing Campaign case study demonstrates how Farmingdale State College (FSC) was able to quickly pivot an annual on-campus event to a virtual marketing opportunity.
To optimize results with a limited window of time, we created a robust digital campaign across various virtual platforms: Google Search, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Using multiple digital touchpoints layered with demographic profile targeting, we were able to successfully deliver the reach and engagement metrics the client desired, even in the midst of a global pandemic.
Here at MSSmedia, we’ve been providing Education, Government, Real Estate & Lifestyle clients with succinct, optimized, and successful marketing solutions for more than 15 years. Consider MSSmedia a full-service, one-stop shop for all your Media and Public Relations needs. Your goals are our motivation. And our mission is to propel your message, further and faster, to achieve the outcomes you’re looking for. If you found this blog post helpful, please share!750
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