Have you noticed car manufacturers and airline companies running advertisements recently that are completely unrelated to their products and services? It is because the pandemic has forced marketers to step back and rethink their forms of engagement as well as relationship with consumers.
Despite their products current irrelevancy, they are still promoting their brand but in an entirely new light. The messages they convey focus on showing support for their consumers and how they are aided in the crisis rather than their products and services. This gives viewers a sense of peace and increases their trust, which means they will be more likely to interact with these companies in the future. CMO’s have proven to be resilient and savvy by using this uncertain time to realign their brands, and some even say the relationship between consumers and has strengthened; however, key aspects of marketing have become a moving target that could persist beyond the crisis.
While some CMO’s have seen improvements, many fear that marketers will have trouble preserving momentum if resources dwindle. Companies are doing everything they can to prevent this from happening and those who are not concerned have actually increased their assets. 36% of CMO’s have increased their technology investments while 12.5% have increased their media budget, and despite the smaller numbers the ANA expects these numbers will grow if conditions improve. CFO’s are questioning the accuracy of the usual economic health indicators, which has left businesses on edge because they are not sure how wide the scale may be. This uncertainty has forced marketers to become very adept and flexible because they must
plan various options for each situation that could arise.
“The behaviors of understanding that this is a longer-term financial and budgetary challenge haven’t hit home” – Ewan McIntyre Gartner, VP analyst
Businesses models are not the only thing being impacted by the pandemic; there is an expected shift in the way we work too. Remote work clearly gained popularity during the crisis and whether it was embraced or not, it is here to stay. Previously, CMO’s feared that a remote setup would be a barrier to collaboration, but it has been made clear that is not the case and in some instances it has sped up production and profitability because it eliminates commuting and travel expenses.
“There’s an acknowledgement that there is a great degree of efficiency in the way we are operating as businesses and as brands, a good chunk of this is going to remain. The way we do business will be fundamentally altered.” – Bob Liodice CEO of ANA
However, the implementation of remote learning does not ensure job security. It became clear that internal marketing teams have been successful despite the distance, which leaves the already struggling external agencies at a disadvantage. A recent Forrester forecast predicts agencies could eliminate up to 52,000 jobs within the next two years. However, this does not mean that the industry as a whole is in trouble; it simply means marketers must find an alternative way to engage with consumers. Companies like Coca Cola have already achieved this by launching more direct-to-consumer campaigns, and many others are following suit.
The pandemic has disrupted how the marketing industry operates, but Bob Liodice, the CEO of the ANA, explains that these changes are not all negative. It has accelerated consumer behavior; which marketers can use to their advantage. Projects that used to take several months are now only taking a few weeks to complete and while there is still uncertainty surrounding the future of Marketing, Liodice predicts 50-60% of new efficiencies will stick around long after COVID-19.