Leaning into Uncertainty: Marketers Respond to the Coronavirus Crisis

After analyzing recent studies from IAB, Advertiser Perceptions and Singular, we’ve found that although 3 out of 4 marketers are expecting the coronavirus to have a bigger impact on advertising than the 2008 recession, they are leaning into the uncertainty with a sense of resilience and grace. Here is a look at how top marketers are staying connected and relevant to their consumers during the coronavirus crisis.

Focused on short-term

According to IAB’s report, 50% of marketers have already adjusted their advertising spend for the first half of 2020, but two out of three marketers are still unsure of budget adjustments for the second half of the year.

In Singular’s CMO survey, 78% of respondents suggest now is a good time for brands to boost marketing efforts, and 28% have maintained their growth mindset by doubling-down on advertising tactics.

Perceptive to the situation

Rather than combing the economy for cues, most marketers are making ad spend decisions based on coronavirus regulations and signs of containment.

With a focus on agility, 63% of IAB’s marketers have responded to the uncertainties of the outbreak by amending their messaging. More than a third of marketers have adjusted their in-market tactics or increased audience targeting to engage with consumers who are actively researching their products or services. Advertiser Perceptions reports 49% of marketers have modified their media type or shifted budgets between channels in response to an increase in consumer digital media consumption and online activity, and 24% have launched a campaign that wasn’t previously scheduled.

Staying flexible with brand strategy and messaging allows marketers to diversify their mix, focus on channels that are producing a measurable ROI, reduce spend in channels with flat or declining performance, and explore direct marketing opportunities to stay connected to their housebound customers in meaningful and valuable ways.

Commitment to consumers

With a strong commitment to battling the virus together, brands across the U.S. have stepped up to help communities and support organizations in need. Over 40% of IAB marketers have increased their mission-based and cause-related marketing. Other brands have launched campaigns to donate a portion of their proceeds to non-profits, or are using their supply chain and production equipment to provide PPE for those on the front-line.

Marketers focused on enhancing the homelife of consumers have increased in-home media spend or tailored offers, products or services. The Advertising Perceptions survey reports 68% have increased ad spend in lifestyle content, and 53% have increased spend in entertainment content. 54% of Singular’s CMOs indicated strengthening current customer relationships and bolstering retention efforts as their current priority. More than 60% of those surveyed are offering free trials, limited time offers, or enhanced products or services in response to today’s economic burdens.

Marketers agree now is not the time to retreat. Rather, it is time stay agile, meet your audience where they are, and practice empathy by providing valuable products or services. If you need assistance refocusing your acquisition strategy, tightening up your direct marketing channels, or preparing your post-coronavirus strategy, we are here to help.


Posted 5.1.2020