Why You Should Continue to Market Through Economic Changes
Sep 22 2020
As businesses of all sizes continue to navigate the economic challenges posed this year, many advertisers seek a blueprint to inform their decisions in a turbulent marketing environment. With data and insights from industry experts as a guide, here’s what you need to know about marketing through continued economic uncertainty.
How Consumer Attitudes Have Changed
While content remains king even now, the priorities of the average consumer have changed drastically. The overwhelming majority of customers now expect more from their unspoken social contract with brands and business, including 90% who say they prefer buying from “businesses that prioritize customer and employee safety.” Nearly 80% of respondents expect even greater detail, favoring brands that can explain “how they are being helpful” in these trying times.
The “Why?” behind these figures is simple: customers want to see brands take a step away from exploitative self-promotion and toward more humanized messaging. Their activity since the initial outbreak of COVID-19 has reflected just how serious these priorities have become, as 45% of Americans have reportedly changed brand preferences since the onset of the pandemic.
This so-called “Brand Reckoning” stems from a number of factors, from more shopping for new products online to a more basic re-evaluation of values.
Unsurprisingly, limiting in-person social interaction for several months straight means social media’s active population is way up, giving businesses a shot at connecting with entirely new audiences. Reaching them takes creativity, and an eye toward what we’ve already learned about new, strongly-held beliefs by consumers that brands and organizations need to be making a real effort to do good.
More empathetic messaging and campaigns that “walk the walk” have proven wildly successful at both sparking engagement and cultivating a positive brand image. Businesses choosing to face COVID-19 and other social challenges head-on with fresh campaign strategies are winning over customers that now act fundamentally different than they ever have before. Compound this new messaging with a revitalized effort in paid search, as PPC search campaigns have seen a healthy rebound since April.
Why You Should Continue to Market
Successful marketing requires a thorough understanding of ROI and how it’s being tracked — easier said than done of course, even in ideal circumstances. According to LinkedIn’s recently published guide, 63% of marketers “don’t feel very confident” in their ROI measurements today based on the obstacles they are currently facing.
Properly measuring campaign performance is critical, since brands that find a way to effectively measure the impact of their media during recessions tend to see improvements in several areas, including ROI and incremental sales growth. In fact, studying former economic downturns revealed sobering data on brands that stifle their media efforts — an estimated 66% of the incremental sales losses during the last recession weren’t driven by declines in ROI, but in media investment.
Clarifying ROI measurement and nailing down specific campaign goals will help establish the need for continued media campaigns, even in a recession.
While the times may still be uncertain, businesses able to evolve alongside these new customer habits and commit to their changing values will make a significant step toward greater long-term success.