The sheer volume of information we have all been asked to comprehend over the past few weeks has been overwhelming. What does the coronavirus mean for brands, organisations of all shapes and sizes, our families, our schools, our hospitality sector? How can we flatten the curve, how can we avoid economic collapse, when will toilet paper be fully restocked?
As the world goes into overdrive to save economies and to protect the lives of so many, marketing teams too, continue to cover new ground and confront unprecedented challenges triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
In this blog, I intend to share my perspective on some of the strategic issues marketers are suddenly finding themselves addressing.
The assumptions that online sales are spiking while offline sales are sagging well, let me say this, the shift to e-commerce has impacts across the organisation, from supply chain to resourcing to marketing.
The health crisis seems to be driving larger basket sizes for offline retailers as households stock up and would further push the trend that many of our clients are already seeing with consumers switching to online purchases.
So how does it impact the marketing mix modelling? It’s reasonable to expect that the current mix will be under review and potentially, significantly change.
The Coronavirus is impacting consumer mobility, shifts in media consumption habits, supply chains, such as shortages of and concerns over goods manufactured in China and economic volatility.
With this unprecedented situation, brands and businesses need to plan their next marketing move wisely to either mitigate the downside risk or capture all the upside and seize opportunities.
It’s crucial for brand marketers to pay attention to how this situation is altering the landscape and plan scenarios accordingly, rather than wait and hope that no changes are necessary.
Here are some examples of the types of shifts we’re seeing and expect to see in marketing approaches and investment focus:
- Directing investments toward marketing tactics that drive online sales
- Reducing marketing investments on campaigns to drive short-term sales or business outcomes, while keeping brand-building campaigns live
- Shifting budgets to promoting at-home and delivery-based options (i.e., restaurant delivery, grocery delivery, at-home fitness, etc.)
- Shifting focus from promoting premium products to entry-point or everyday items.
- With sporting events being cancelled or played without fans, many brand marketers are formulating new plans for those budgets – often holding the investments for later use – or scenario planning for how to redeploy their dollars if a large advertising event such as the Olympics is cancelled or postponed.
- Changes in media supply and demand will impact costs, so we anticipate marketers will need to closely manage certain spending areas, such as digital, with refreshed ROIs on new cost levels.
- Tracking data in local geographies that experienced varying levels of impacts.
- Using trends social sentiment for relevant key words as indicators to inform marketing action
- Building in quick response learnings to optimize marketing budgets
- Measurement of custom creative addressing the viruses.
In a crisis, it’s not unreasonable for the majority of us to overact. For marketers however, it’s important to make adjustments to respond to shifts in consumer behavior driven by the coronavirus outbreak.
In such a situation, it is necessary for the message to be on-point and find ways to effectively engage with customers during the outbreak.
Data surrounding consumer behavior, spending trends and channel effectiveness should all be considered, as well as crisis-specific information.
While brands and organisations are working to adjust their output against short-term consumer demand, many marketers are working to adjust their plans for longer-term projections.
Some expect that consumers may not return exactly to their prior habits when the outbreak has passed.
When faced with disruption like COVID-19 and with such uncertainty, we recommend leveraging advanced analytics to support decision making that can be run against a number of possible scenarios, long and short term – given the range of outcomes. —