Two people within smartphones giving high fives.

It was French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr who said: “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” I’ll save you the trouble of translating. It means, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Though it’s true consumer attitudes have shifted to focus on health, safety and family in today’s COVID-19 world, the underlying basis of position marketing hasn’t changed: reach the right person with the right message at the right time.

Should I Market My Company Right Now?

When trying to assemble the best marketing strategies for your organization amid the current economic crisis, keep the following in mind:

Consumer Habits Are Changing

69% of consumers say they’ve tried new brands during quarantine.

Business strategy and research company, Magid recently conducted a survey in which 69% of consumers said they are trying new brands during quarantine.

This presents both an opportunity and a challenge. For established brands, it’s a time to shore up your loyal customers who may be enticed to try new offerings. Additionally, if you’re looking to grow market share or get new customers to try your products, they are more open to it than ever.

Consumer Spending Will Continue

In addition to being open to trying new brands, many consumers feel their spending will rebound after the current economic downturn. Magid’s survey also looked at individuals who are currently spending less than normal. Post-crisis:

  • 31% intend to increase their spending
  • 42% plan to restore spending to pre-crisis levels

Proof You Should Be Marketing Right Now

It’s not just one body of research that supports the logic for deploying the best marketing strategies amid uncertain times. There are plenty of others and they indicate the following:

  • Companies that don’t cut back on marketing outperform competitors.
  • Companies that are aggressive during uncertain times outsell their competitors more than 2 to 1.
  • Companies that are able to grow market share during crisis times sustain those gains.
  • Dozens of research projects tracking companies during and after an economic crisis or downturn show the same results: keep marketing.

Here are the highlights from just a few studies.

  • The Harvard Business Review concluded that economic downturns and crisis times are “intense crucibles of opportunity” for brands to engage consumers.
  • A study by ABP/Meldrum & Fewsmith tracked companies during and after the economic uncertainty in the mid-’70s. They reported that companies that did not cut their marketing expenditures experienced higher sales and net income during the downturn and 2 years following.
  • Separate studies done in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s during crisis events came to the same conclusion: Companies that remained aggressive with their marketing had overall sales that were 2.5 times the average of those that did not.
  • A study in the Harvard Business Review revealed that gains (or losses) made during a recession often continue. Specifically, companies that made aggressive moves during the last economic downturn sustained their gains. In fact, more than 70% of companies that grabbed market share were able to sustain their position, while less than a third of those that lost market share were ever able to regain it.

If you need more convincing, consider this. Procter & Gamble (P&G) is the world’s largest advertiser and has been for years. With 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion in sales each year, they know what they’re doing. If anybody could pause their marketing and be successful, you would think it would be them. So, what is the world’s largest advertiser doing amid uncertain times? They’re increasing their advertising and marketing spending.

“This is not a time to retrench,” said Jon Moeller, CFO at P&G. “There’s a big upside here in terms of reminding consumers of the benefits that they’ve experienced with our brands…”

If you’re not evaluating your plans and taking advantage of the best marketing strategies right now, you should be.

“This is not a time to retrench. There’s a big upside here in terms of reminding consumers of the benefits that they’ve experienced with our brands.”

What Are the Best Marketing Strategies Following the Coronavirus Outbreak?

While the world has changed dramatically in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the best marketing strategies still focus on consumers and their needs. What’s changed is the opportunity and the way consumers perceive brands, not the tactics we employ. These strategies continue to be best practices:

1. Educate Consumers

More than ever, consumers are seeking information. They’re more likely to engage with informative content than they are traditional advertising. If you can answer the questions your customers are asking or searching for, it builds trust.

When it comes to B2B, 78% of buyers spend more time researching purchases before making a decision. They’re doing their research online and likely looking for information to support their decision. B2C buyers are doing more research online as well. They are seeking unbiased information to evaluate brands.

Of those surveyed, 70% say they prefer to get information from companies or learn about products from a blog post or article rather than ads. Consequently, content marketing is one of the best marketing strategies in 2020.

2. Use Video

According to HubSpot’s The State of Video Marketing in 2020, 92% of marketers, video is considered one of the best marketing strategies for 2020.

When it comes to ROI, a majority of marketers said it provides them with strong returns on their investment. Almost every marketer who is using video said they plan to continue using video, with 95% seeking to maintain or increase their marketing spending levels.

And as far as videos on social go, they continue to increase in popularity across platforms, with videos uploaded directly to social media sites (rather than linking out to YouTube, Vimeo or other sources) providing the most engagement. For example, on Facebook, native video outperforms photos and links in average engagement.

Video’s a powerful weapon to drive your social marketing and continues to increase in popularity on social platforms, which leads us to our next marketing strategy.

3. Leverage Social Media

We couldn’t write an article on the best consumer marketing strategies without talking about social media. Low costs, targeting options and fast turn-around continue to make it an effective strategy for reaching consumers and should be an important part of your consumer marketing mix this year.

While we’ve all seen stories about campaigns catching fire on social media (and there’s always a chance something goes viral), hoping something goes viral isn’t a strategy. In fact, you want to worry less about likes and shares and more about conversions and conversations.

4. Market to Mobile Consumers

The march to mobile continues in 2020. More than half of all web traffic (52.6%) takes place on a mobile device. Google gives priority to content that is mobile-friendly and loads quickly.

When it comes to shoppers, 59% of eCommerce visits originate on a mobile device. Some of that can be attributed to what’s called social media commerce integrations. Whether you call it social shopping or mCommerce, mobile-driven sales are projected to exceed $284 billion in 2020, representing nearly half of the total U.S. eCommerce market.

Mobile marketing will grow even more in importance as 5G continues to roll out. With speeds that are 10 to 100 times faster than 4G, usage is expected to explode. If there’s one place to increase your business spending in 2020, it’s marketing to mobile.

5. Take Advantage of Email Marketing

With more than 306 billion emails sent every day, you’d think we’d all be so overloaded that email marketing would have lost its effectiveness. While it’s true that we quickly delete anything that looks like spam or a waste of our time, email marketing that’s done right continues to perform.

When it comes to best marketing strategies, the email campaigns that perform the best fall into 2 distinct categories:

  • Direct offers
  • Educational/informational

For many B2C brands, making a direct appeal to buy now can be effective especially when targeted to the right consumers. For B2B brands, the best marketing strategies for email fall in line with content marketing. Creating content that surfaces an unconsidered need, answers questions and builds trust can lead prospects through the buying journey and nurture them.

6. Employ Marketing Automation

Marketing automation can power nearly every marketing effort, and big data will play an even more significant role in 2020. We gather so much information about our customers and customer experiences, how they engage (or don’t) with our content and marketing and what leads to conversions. This allows us to better refine the best marketing strategies to target the right customers.

Artificial intelligence (AI) can provide consumer insights at increasingly sophisticated levels, while machine learning (ML) allows campaigns to become smarter over time. This data can be applied across marketing strategies and incorporated into marketing automation. Using tools such as A/B testing, lead nurturing and SEO tools, marketing automation can continue to optimize campaigns while delivering qualified leads.

7. Apply Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) is proving to be a very effective strategy for big-ticket items and B2B strategies. ABM identifies high-value prospects and creates personalized marketing efforts to nurture them throughout the customer journey. Organizations are using marketing automation to aid these efforts to engage customers and drip-feed relevant information as they progress through the buying cycle.

8. Enhance SEO Efforts

Web traffic these days comes from a variety of sources. The vast majority, however, comes from your SEO practices, such as content marketing, to drive organic search. Not only is it effective, but the better you perform, the less reliant you become on paid advertising and SEM. As your organic traffic increases, your costs for acquisition typically go down.

Graph of website traffic sources by channel.

How to Apply These Trends to Your Marketing Model

While the world around us has changed drastically, your marketing efforts shouldn’t. In this economic downturn, it’s paramount that you stay at the forefront of your customers’ minds as well as attract new prospects. Make a difference in today’s world by continuing to pursue marketing tactics proven to deliver results.

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