According to LinkedIn’s recent survey of marketing executives, 61% of companies are shifting their targeting due to Covid-19.

Here at DKC, we’ve been on the front lines of emergency marketing budget reallocations in major industries like hospitality, sports, consumer goods, nonprofits, and health care. With holiday ad buys and activations around the corner, we thought we’d share a few trends and best practices that may help your organization navigate a new reality.

What’s Shifting?

Overall, the shifts in marketing expenses shouldn’t surprise us. As events have become sometimes-impossible, 73% more organizations have decreased this line item than increased it. As out-of-home ads have become less valuable when people are quarantined, 32% more organizations have decreased this line item than increased it. And as TV becomes cost-prohibitive in cases, 21% more organizations have decreased this line item than increased it.

So what’s on the rise? Webinars, social media activations, online video, and paid digital are the big winners. As the graphic above shows, these are categories where others have shifted resources. In many cases, our teams have found success in these areas too.

Give Us More and Better Social

With screen time through the roof as a result of many employees working from home, estimates say social media usage has increased 1–2 hours lately for nearly one-third of users. Social media managers have thrown out their old content calendars and are forced to face a quickly changing conversation with several pitfalls for brands. Turning those blog posts into scroll-stopping video content and developing strategies to interact with your audiences on new platforms such as TikTok are simple ways a brand can use assets it already has to work harder. Don’t have the assets it takes to support an increased cadence of posting on TikTok? Use Twitter to bring a unique voice to your brand and cut through the noise by making your feed more than just brand promo.

Make It An Online Video

For Gen-Z YouTube has become among their go-to sources for search, so it’s in your best interest to create content using search-friendly headlines and organized into series that drive your business. And video content shouldn’t be limited to traditional marketing messages, during the pandemic we saw brand sentiment increase for CEOs and other company leaders stepped from behind the scenes to speak directly to consumers.

Move It From TV to Digital

While television is still the king of advertising, Covid-19 has accelerated some major shifts. Online content platforms saw rapid growth, online shopping become more of a norm, and consumers stopped visiting stores in person. Meanwhile, budgets quickly shrank, requiring CMO’s to be much more targeted. Digital video to the rescue! As an example, a major nonprofit we work with put together an ad campaign that would normally be tv-oriented. Instead, we shifted to buys on Facebook, Google/YouTube, and TikTok, with Instagram influencers activated too.

Change The Digital Mix

When budgets tighten in an economic crisis, objectives have to shift. For example, our team just completed a budget recommendation for an educational institution in New York. In the last year they spent a large percentage of digital marketing dollars on Google Display to build brand awareness. This year, we advised shifting to more remarketing, geared at lead generation instead of brand building. This way, the organization can concentrate on picking the low hanging fruit, and keep its digital acquisition channels profitable in a downturn.

If you’re looking at a shrinking budget and an ambitious bottom line, shift AWAY from:

· Experimental platforms

· Premium sponsorships

· Broad display ads based on topic

And TOWARD:

· Winning top-of-the-page search

· Display that’s targeted specifically to key consumers

· Facebook and Instagram ads optimized for conversion

What’s Next? Getting Ready for the Holidays

Leading up to an uncertain holiday season, with a presidential election dominating the conversation and large retailers opting out of Black Friday, brands will once again need to be prepared to be nimble with their social media strategy. Data backs that consumers are doing business with brands with values that align with their personal interests, so demonstrating how your brand does this, both on your brand and senior executive channels will be key. This holiday season be sure to enter the conversation with authenticity and leverage social tools to listen to your audience at a daily basis so you can stay one step ahead.

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