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As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact all industries, many businesses are reducing or pausing their marketing and advertising spend. While this is understandable, it is important for marketers to use this period as an opportunity to think long-term and double down on their marketing strategy. As we enter the ‘new normal’, it is the brands that can adapt and evolve accordingly that will resonate with their audiences and open new possibilities for growth.
Here are five must-dos marketers can implement to navigate their brand successfully into the ‘new normal’ and beyond:
- Communicate with empathy
Any brand that appears out of touch with its audience, especially in a crisis situation, risks immediate and long-term reputational damage so it is critical that a brand’s marketing strategy starts with a genuine understanding of how users think and feel.
By leveraging existing touchpoints through owned media, such as updating app and website content with relevant messaging, it demonstrates how brands can approach users with empathy and personalisation. Offering help, guidance, and sharing vital information about how the pandemic is affecting the business provides a level of reassurance for users. People will remember the brands that delivered exceptional experiences in a time of uncertainty, so marketers must pre-empt this with empathetic messaging.
- Respond to user behaviour
Recognising changes in user behaviour is key. The pandemic has led to a shift in day-to-day behaviour as people adapt to a new reality, leading to an increase in digital platform use. Recent research shows in-app revenue has continued to rise during the pandemic, with global consumer in-app spend increasing by 36% since mid-March, when lockdowns were implemented. With revenue rising across gaming and shopping apps in particular (37% and 35% respectively), it presents an opportunity for marketers to shift ad spend to these channels.
Drawing on attribution data allows marketers to analyse user behaviour over time, and monitor for changes in behaviour. By leveraging existing consumer data and insights, marketers can ensure they are maintaining marketing efficiency by focusing spend on current areas of engagement.
- Invest in existing users
During any time of uncertainty, a brand that empathises and invests in its existing customer base by delivering exceptional experiences, will re-enforce a brand’s commitment to its customers.
By offering promotions, free shipping, trials, extending return policies and delivering within 24 hours, brands can create relevant and meaningful experiences for their users. It is this customer-centric mindset that will ultimately build trust and loyalty with a brand – and in the midst of a pandemic, it is this lifetime customer value that is imperative to a brand’s longevity. Additionally, from an internal budget perspective, the acquisition of new users costs 5 to 10 times more than targeting a current user, so the most reliable method of safeguarding marketing spend is to invest in existing users.
- Build an effective remarketing strategy
Retargeting users at this time may seem relatively straightforward – many users are currently at home with more time to spare, and are readily available to receive a brand’s messaging. Yet, with funnels of communication becoming populated with rising competition from brands, marketers need to adjust their remarketing strategy in order to maintain user attention and engagement.
To successfully retarget users, marketers need to segment audiences with as much granularity as possible. By incorporating detail from their user-attributes and engagement behaviour, marketers can personalise messaging and campaigns to that specific segment. Research shows that being able to retarget with precision can significantly increase retention rates – by almost double.
- Double down on engagement
User engagement must be a focal point of any marketing strategy, and this is all the more important at a time like this. With brands shifting to digital platforms to meet consumer demand, the digital experience must remain consistent.
Brands need to provide seamless, cross-platform experiences for their users. Marketers must ensure there is a smooth transition between all communication channels that funnel to apps – including email, web, social, and SMS. To avoid friction, marketers can use techniques like deep linking to encourage a smooth transition between platforms. This will ensure each touchpoint provides a consistent experience and will, more importantly, enhance user engagement.
A final thought
Brands have a key opportunity during this period of change to place their users at the centre of their marketing strategy. By providing value and keeping their messaging consistent, brands will build trust, loyalty and engagement with their users. It is the brands that- can re-write their marketing playbook that will come out strong from any crisis.