6 ways to approach advertising now that Covid is here

It’s no secret that the pandemic has had an adverse effect on advertising. As companies were forced to cut costs and scale back, their advertising spend was one of the first sacrifices to be made. Planned campaigns were either postponed or cancelled and companies turned towards internal marketing departments, rather than creative agencies, for the bare minimum. This was a mistake.

While it’s understandable that companies came to view advertising as a luxury, this perception nonetheless compromised them even more. Even though confinement measures meant that out-of-home and event advertising would no longer have an audience, social media, digital advertising, and streaming services experienced a massive increase in viewership, so these forms of advertising had the potential to significantly boost sales.

Digital adoption and e-commerce have become the order of the day and it requires an energetic pivot in the direction of online marketing.

The pandemic also had an impact on the kind of messaging that resonates with people. As the world was collectively facing immense suffering, it became evident that customers were unmoved by messages that simply promoted getting more stuff and were disconnected from people’s everyday concerns. Real transformation became the focal point, and campaigns that were able to speak to these realities in authentic and meaningful ways, were more successful in customer attainment and retainment. People now want their brands to stand for something.

As consumer behaviour has changed and continues to change during the upheavals of this world-wide crisis, it will be the companies that are technologically equipped that will gain a competitive edge. The more data that can be captured, the faster an advertising strategy can adjust in terms of the chosen channels and message. Technology has become the key to agility during such an uncertain time, and tracking customer activity to assess analytics can no longer be viewed as an option – it’s a must.

What companies also sacrificed by dropping their advertising efforts were the benefits of seeing long-term strategies through. A campaign is like a long race rather than a short sprint, and by withdrawing from one leg of the race, companies lost the momentum they had to be able to cross the finish line. Even in the middle of a crisis there could be incredible opportunities, so it doesn’t pay to curl up into a ball and wait it out, especially since we have no idea how long limbo will last. Companies will have to adjust and create a long-term strategy that is also responsive to change.

In conclusion, what can we take away from all this?

  1. If your company can cater to the “sofa-surfers” you’re likely to experience an increase in sales, and if your company is offline you will need to create new online products to cater to this market.
  2. Focus your efforts on digital advertising and cut spend on outdoor and event advertising. Move to cheaper more flexible advertising channels, such as programmatic advertising, where consumer presence and available impressions are increasing.
  3. Develop a long-term strategy that can be adjusted as new feedback comes in.
  4. Make sure you have Google analytics and other tracking software set up on all campaigns to capture consumer behaviour.
  5. Create messages that connect with people’s concerns.
  6. Take risks during uncertainty because there are still opportunities and always playing it safe won’t help you move forward.

Advertising is still alive and well – you just need to know how to use it!