The US is bracing — state by state — for the reintegration and reopening of the economy. Now is the time for brands, after spending most of the first half of the year being reactive to the shutdowns and changes in their business, to be proactive in planning their marketing communications efforts for the rest of the year.
THE LANDSCAPE HAS SHIFTED…
To begin the strategic planning process, marketers must recognize that the business and marketing landscapes have certainly changed. Red flags are up in many areas, from unprecedented purchasing behaviors and low consumer confidence levels to media utilization and declining advertising dollars. USB Financial Services research says that three-quarters of ad executives plan to cut the remainder of their 2020 ad spending by five percent or more directly as a result of the pandemic.1 That means needing to be even smarter with marketing budgets. You can look at one silver lining here: with media outlets ‘starved’ for advertisers, now may be a good time to get great deals and lock in programming and rates.
Consumption of media is dramatically different in our ‘new normal’ as well. For example, streaming is nearly double what it was a year ago, and TV viewership in many metropolitan areas has risen almost 20 percent since under quarantine;2 outdoor consumption, on the other hand — as viewed through the lens of media spending — is down by double digits.3 Radio is the only near constant; according to Neilsen, 83 percent of consumers say they’re tuning in to radio as much or more than before.4
…SO HOW DO YOU REPOSITION?
Your new marketing has to begin with the new you. What’s different about the way your product or service is relevant and utilized in these evolving conditions? Maybe your brand will stay the same, but you’ll need a new way to engage and motivate a spending-shy consumer and business marketplace to choose you. Customers of all kinds are going to be scrutinizing their opportunities for the best value proposition. Perhaps your business has leapfrogged into newer territories with all that has emerged from this pandemic. In the healthcare industry, for example, tele-medicine and video visits, once a nice add-on, have become the norm. Groceries, delivery services, and other e-commerce organizations are some of the few sectors that actually gained during the pandemic.5 Schools from kindergarten to university jumped online. Innovative salons have packaged personalized hair color with video instructions for client pickup. More people are working from home, and will remain so — assisted by both technology and those groups that deliver telecommunication platforms.
Educating your customer
For consumer brands, marketing may involve connecting the dots for your audience: the same quality products and services are still available, just now through a different experience or with more options. This can give rise to a consumer-education-through-marketing approach. By acknowledging the changes in your customers’ needs and closely examining the ways they have been affected — bringing your services to them in new ways and highlighting those assets with innovative messaging — you can turn the demand into an opportunity.
Anticipating need, providing support
With business-to-business organizations, how can you leverage your people, processes, and technologies to close the gap for your customers? Several accounting, legal, banking, and other professional service providers stepped up in support for the Paycheck Protection Program and other grant and loan programs that came into play. MindShare reports that there is an uptick in brand awareness and loyalty for those brands that have helped people through this tough time.6 Clients recognize and appreciate this support, so how can you assist and support your clients as we all reopen to a slightly tilted landscape? Know that just the fact that you came through the pandemic allows you to claim being better, smarter, and stronger, and proves your agility. You can truly market your brand as being a survivor.
For marketing strategy and creative firepower during this time of change and new beginnings, look to an agency like DavidHenry Marketing & Media. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.