3 Ways Marketers Can Work Smarter During COVID-19

Marketers need to adjust their tactics to thrive in what is one of the most challenging — and competitive — business environments in recent memory.
Headshot of David Finkelstein.
David Finkelstein
Expert Columnist
November 18, 2020
Updated: November 19, 2020
Headshot of David Finkelstein.
David Finkelstein
Expert Columnist
November 18, 2020
Updated: November 19, 2020

With the COVID-19 crisis continuing to drag on, businesses of all sizes are doubling down on their marketing efforts to salvage what’s left of their bottom lines. But marketers should be aware that the global pandemic, months of stay-at-home orders, and social distancing have completely changed consumer behavior. Simply putting more money into marketing toward the end of the year is not enough.

Marketers need to evolve their strategies accordingly to better fit the drastically transformed marketing landscape. Here are three steps marketers can take through the end of this year and beyond to help separate themselves from the competition and come out on top in 2021.

 

Clean Up Your Data

According to the famous 40/40/20 rule of marketing, 40 percent of the success of marketing campaigns will depend on accurate customer data, 40 percent on the offer provided, and only 20 percent on the creative execution. However, many marketers spend 80 percent or more of their resources on the creative, neglecting to ensure that their lists are up to date.

No matter how good your campaigns look, they won’t be effective if you can’t reach relevant customers in the first place. With the ongoing increase in ad fraud, false identifiers, and human error in consumer data, marketers need to focus their efforts on making sure that the data they use is recent, accurate, and filtered for errors and fraudulent entries.

According to a survey of 409 companies conducted by Forrester Consulting, 21 cents of every media dollar spent is wasted due to poor data quality. Serving your digital ads to bots and click-farms adds up to billions in lost annual revenue across the industry — and this year, that is not something businesses can afford to lose.

 

Alleviate COVID-Driven Concerns

This year has certainly brought a lot of contingency into people’s lives. Their work, recreation, and daily routines have all been affected by unforeseen changes, causing anxiety and lack of confidence in what to expect next. In this chaotic environment, campaigns that offer consumers peace of mind will be most effective.

Marketers should focus their messaging to alleviate worries about product availability and highlight the variety of purchase and/or delivery options as well as other measures taken by the brand to ensure a safe and convenient shopping experience.

Finally, given the financial hardships many have endured over the past year, marketers should also focus on highlighting flexible payment options, longer return windows, and other competitive promotions that take these difficulties into account.

 

Invest in AI Tools

To keep up with the continued digital transformation, marketers should take advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) tools that can help them save both time and money by unlocking powerful consumer insights and providing real-time campaign optimization.

Today, AI is effectively used in digital marketing to identify and track consumer behavior across multiple channels, from mobile to social media to email to television. By aggregating data from all these channels, AI helps create a holistic consumer profile, making ad targeting much more personalized and effective. Moreover, by automatically tracking advertising performance across platforms, AI tools enable marketers to adapt their campaigns in real time to increase both engagement and return on advertising spend (ROAS).

A recent study by ID Comms found that only 14 percent of marketers say that they truly understand how each media technology platform in their marketing stack contributes to the overall value chain. At the same time, a Gartner report found that nearly 60 percent of Martech executives are expecting “moderate or severe cuts” to their budgets in the coming months due to the economic impact of COVID-19.

Those who want to not only survive in this new environment but also come out on top will need to work smarter by diversifying their tactics, adjusting to changing consumer behavior, and by making full use of the modern technology platforms that can help them connect with the right audience at exactly the right time.

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