Want to make your media efforts work for your brand during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond? Here’s what you need to do to get the most bang for your buck.
Covid-19 has brought with it a lot of restrictions and changes. From learning to evolve and automate as a brand to adapting to new spending patterns and buying behaviours, it is crucial to continue your advertising efforts and look for ways to innovate and be creative as a brand.
According to Mark Lives, an independent industry news website, “Marketers should be very busy innovating and strategising, starting new verticals, adjusting product lines and pricing where you must, powering expansion into new categories, launching new integrated campaigns around value and why your brand matters, improving employee morale, building trust and support in your omni-channels and with all your stakeholders. Keeping listening, learning, crafting, optimising and adapting to drive that disproportionate share of voice from your ongoing investment.”
We know it’s difficult, but you need to get your ad spend up and running as soon as possible. Below are some questions to ask yourself to help you realign your media strategy in order to continue getting a great ROI from your media spend.
1. Are you aligning your traditional media efforts with digital?
People are spending more time at home consuming content via traditional media platforms like television and radio - which means that these mediums are an effective place to be advertising right now. However, brands need to give their digital footprint more attention as people are also spending more time online during the day - especially on social media platforms.
IOL, a news and information website, says, “A study conducted by media consultancy firm Nfluential found that 71 percent of respondents were spending much more time on social media since the lockdown started. A total of 85 Eighty-five percent of people were also considering and using online shopping options, pushing the retail space to online.” It is now time to start advertising online!
Digital media makes people more receptive to traditional media through effective brand awareness. A great example is a favourite take-out restaurant, KFC.
KFC case study
A disastrous PR dilemma saw KFC closing over 600 restaurants across the UK and many disgruntled customers travelling out of their way to buy KFC. They ran a print ad, apologising for running out of chicken, in the UK in 2018 and amplified it using social media. The full-page newspaper ad showed its traditional chicken bucket with the KFC label changed to “FCK”. A brief apology followed the headline.
Glean Info, a PR and marketing website believes, “KFC’s strategy illustrates the power of integrating traditional and social media. Most people saw the ad on Twitter or Facebook, but the campaign could not have achieved strong organic reach without old-fashioned newspaper ads, Witson says. Considering only digital media or only print media is a massive mistake. Instead, employ a combination of the most appropriate strategies available.”
You always need to keep your buyer personas in mind and select a media mix based on the buyer journey phase, so you have the right media channels advertising to the right people, at the right time.
2. Should you continue all advertising?
We know 2020 has been a crazy and scary year for everyone so far, but it doesn’t mean you need to stop all advertising. It could end up damaging your brand even more.
Why you should continue advertising even during a recession
Firstly, “going dark” is the worst thing you can do for your business. You might have to slow down your outdoor advertising, but don’t shut everything down. More people are at home watching television or have access to multiple screens all the time. You have their attention, but you have to embrace it. Those that advertise have a fantastic opportunity to grow their share of voice.
Media Update, an online publication, believes, “Social media has always been the place where people talk, but with people being isolated, it has become the only place people talk. Because of this, it is undoubtedly the most important channel for brands to focus on right now. With people spending more time online, social platforms are the perfect place for brands to connect with their audiences. There has never been a better time to capitalise on building relationships with your audiences.”
Although nobody can predict what will happen post-coronavirus, social media platforms are great for advertising and grossly undervalued for the amount of reach you’ll get. Ad prices will increase in future, and it’s good to capture your audience now while the prices are still low and quite affordable.
As mentioned by Social Media Today, “The Interactive Advertising Bureau says that one in four media buyers and brands have paused all advertising for the first half of 2020, while Facebook has reported that 89% of advertisers have taken action with their budgets in response to COVID-19 - ‘with 45% saying they have adjusted media type usage or shifted budget among media types’.”
Secondly, marketing that’s emotionally resonant and speaks to a person’s needs is more effective. We recommend starting your marketing planning process for Covid-19 by thinking about your customers’ new needs, perhaps mapped against a hierarchy. Brands that can address the bottom and middle of the pyramid should go in first and boldly, brands towards the top should enter more carefully.
Image source: Very Well Mind (Joshua Seong)
Brands should then organise their marketing efforts around the new consumer needs.
Thirdly, shift your media efforts to protect your brand and be ready to adjust to new consumer habits. There should be less focus on outdoor advertising and more emphasis on personal, at-home media. Think online, mobile and streaming. Brands focusing on increasing relative share of voice, the perceived share of voice and product quality perceptions, are usually much more successful.
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3. Do you have a proper marketing strategy in place?
A proper marketing strategy helps clients see where they’re losing value. If you know where and how you should be spending on media, you can benchmark against your goals. You may need guidance to spend more efficiently and put your money and time where they’ll earn some ‘bang’!
According to Martech Advisor, a media brand, “During a time of economic crisis, the role of the marketer may now seem obsolete. However, it is quite the opposite, as this is an opportunity to pick up on consumer behavior changes and virtually engage with consumers in new ways. These changing times make it crucial for marketers to see consumers as individuals and not group customers into segments.”
Having a marketing strategy in place further provides you with guidelines, tasks and objectives to ensure sustainable marketing.
4. Is your brand being innovative?
During uncertain times, it’s essential to be innovative and creative. Instead of being everywhere all at once, look at using only specific, relevant media. Narrow down your media selection to the platforms offering the most impact for the least amount of money. Once you refine your media selection, you need to go full force on the media types you have selected, with the budget you have.
Think of strategic sponsorships
Looking at one of our clients, Suzuki South Africa, we opted to sponsor key TV shows (such as Survivor, The Amazing Race and Truck) which aligned with and positioned the Suzuki brand well. These sponsorships put us in front of the right audience and gave us great exposure in the form of:
- Tops and tails;
- Commercial breaks;
- Full branding on episodes;
- Instead of using billboards all around South Africa, we opted to use metro busses as billboards on the move. Being on the road, 24/7 worked brilliantly.
...and negotiate hard!
Be prepared to negotiate bulk deals with media houses and monthly features at a discounted rate. Most channels like TV or radio give amazing discounts if you’re willing to commit to your annual spend upfront. Most media owners also offer early booking discounts and first-time advertiser discounts if you’ve never used their platform before.
Marketing will definitely change post-coronavirus, but it’s up to businesses to have a customer-centric approach and put the “new needs” of their consumers first.
After all, “The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations, is to know those expectations.” - Roy H Williams
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