What's on the other side of COVID for marketers?
Can you catch the novel coronavirus from your mail? After you recover, how long are you immune? When can we go back to work and school?
While there’s lots we don’t know about the pandemic, we do know this: It will end. We don’t know when, but we know there is another side, and we will get to it.
But what will the other side look like? How can we prepare our businesses? Plan our marketing? Again, there’s lots we don’t know, but we do know it will be different.
For example, a quick look at the stock market shows that a handful of mega-companies are seeing their value skyrocket: Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet, Facebook and Amazon. In part because of their size and financial stability, and also because of the surge in demand for their products and services, all designed to help people to work, learn, play, stay healthy, shop and connect online—from home. Research from our latest white paper reveals:
41% of consumers are streaming video more than usual since the beginning of the pandemic and 25% have increased their online shopping. Internet use and video calls are through the roof.
Interestingly, though, while Amazon and big-business sales are up, our data shows that “on the other side,” more than two-thirds of consumers plan to do more to support small and local businesses, and 43% say they will support the brands they trust even more—but only if those businesses and brands do certain things now.
To earn their long-term loyalty, consumers expect companies to prioritize public service, treat their employees well, support the community, and offer affordable delivery and financial help by lowering prices, offsetting fees and extending payment deadlines. In other words: To be part of the solution by caring for their people, customers and community.
If you do these things authentically, it’s a great time to share your story: Increased internet use has created a surplus of media inventory, so it’s a buyer’s market. With media prices at all-time lows, your marketing budget—and your message— will go further.
Just keep in mind: People are spending more time on news sites, so think about whether it makes sense for your placement to appear beside news content. Maybe create a negative keyword list or contextually exclude certain subjects. Review your ads to make sure they’re sensitive to and appropriate for the new reality (avoid images of crowds, for example). Monitor Google Trends to stay current with hot topics. And then measure, measure, measure the performance of your communications.
Fortunately, there are plenty of readily available tools to help you gather and use real-time data, like Tableau, which visualizes all of your data in one place, and Google Analytics, which helps you turn your data into insights that inform and shape your marketing decisions.
So use data-driven insights to determine how to adapt your strategies and tactics during the pandemic and beyond. And remember that beneath all the data, consumers are people. They will remember how you treated them, your people and community in this crisis. And that’s what will stick with them on the other side.
2020 Community Sentiment Research Report: What's on the other side?
See the results of our research on consumer attitudes and behavior, with actionable insights on how to adapt your marketing plans moving forward.
Diana Osgood is DS+CO’s vice president of strategy and customer insights, helping our clients understand their audiences and the right positioning to drive action.