If dealing with a Global Pandemic has taught all of anything, it has clearly shown us that we have to expect change that we could have never forecasted when we planned out our marketing strategies for the year.
Plans were set, budgets were spent and time was allocated. It all seemed like a brilliant plan that was going to highlight the 2020 vision we all had (the irony is not lost on 2020).
We all started the year after with an outline, but as we soon found out, the best plans can change, and need to.
By March we knew that something may change every plan that was set in place, all budgets set, contracts signed and design completed may need to drastically change. Those that were nimble were able to adjust or revamp their messaging to try to accommodate. We went from dining-in to delivery, storefronts to online shopping, and the rush for toilet paper and sanitizer was the only thing consumers wanted to get information on.
Our audiences engaged and came together. There were important movements, causes and social activism that erupted to the forefront of our minds. Companies took stances, audiences rallied and marketers were cautious to communicate with sensitivity.
As marketers, we needed to review our content, our messaging, and our platforms, we needed to be sensitive, start conversations rather than talking to the consumer, we needed to be a part of their lives as a friend, not a brand.
Some adapted quickly, some missed the opportunities that were in front of them.
Suddenly people stopped driving to work, they were at home, so the billboards remained unseen, the radio was not consumed on the commute, for advertisers on these mediums, the impressions were down, and because contracts were signed, there was very little recovery on the loss. The best thing advertisers on these platforms could do was change the message for those that would experience the ad.
Social media skyrocketed, for those brave enough to put up a message, they were getting viewed by the consumers hunting for news, comfort, and answers. Consumers used platforms to connect, so inadvertently ads on social media were getting more impressions, but the messaging had to be right. For advertisers remaining on social media, the content needed to be careful, deliberate, and respectful.
Newspapers were read as consumers searched for reasoning and had time to relax in the mornings, skipping their commute time for time to read the paper. Ads in newspapers may have been scanned, but with the right messaging they were able to resonate with readers.
If we learn from the past, we have learned that smart marketing during moments like an economic depression can produce stronger brands for the future.
The world is changing fast, awareness to our consumers has been at an all-time high with multiple platforms to engage and create conversations, we just need to be having the right ones.
We need to stop blankly pushing out ads and start pushing why it matters, what it means to the consumer, and where it will sit in their minds. We need to adapt quickly, harness an ability to adapt to where our audience will be and what the message needs to be, where our brands need to stand.
Having built a strong brand, we cannot afford missteps or missed opportunities. It's on all of us to find ways where our businesses belong for the consumer not where the consumer belongs for our business.