The Ad Messages Consumers Want to See In A Pandemic

Just what is the right approach during a pandemic if you want to see some sort of marketing ROI?

These are unprecedented times for marketing teams, just as it is for everyone right now. Brands must decide whether or not to scale back their marketing efforts as a means of cutting costs, or carry on as they were pre-pandemic and risk not seeing much return on their investment.

Each business case is different in terms of what they can and can’t afford right now, but in the eyes of many marketers, it’s important to be there for their customers in both the good and the bad times. Ceasing or reducing contact temporarily is not an option.

And there’s research to suggest, too, that firms who spend more money on their marketing communication during recessions perform particularly well once the economy bounces back. In contrast, going ‘off air’ for long periods can be extremely damaging for a brand.

These are unprecedented times for marketing teams, just as it is for everyone right now. Brands must decide whether or not to scale back their marketing efforts as a means of cutting costs, or carry on as they were pre-pandemic and risk not seeing much return on their investment.

Each business case is different in terms of what they can and can’t afford right now, but in the eyes of many marketers, it’s important to be there for their customers in both the good and the bad times. Ceasing or reducing contact temporarily is not an option.

And there’s research to suggest, too, that firms who spend more money on their marketing communication during recessions perform particularly well once the economy bounces back. In contrast, going ‘off air’ for long periods can be extremely damaging for a brand.

But, if you are continuing to push ad messages to your customers in this uncertain and disconcerting environment, it’s crucial that you get the approach right.

Just what is the right approach during a pandemic?

 

But, if you are continuing to push ad messages to your customers in this uncertain and disconcerting environment, it’s crucial that you get the approach right.

Just what is the right approach during a pandemic?

 

Play it safe

For many brands, it’ll be a case of ‘play it safe’ in the short-term, which is probably about right.

Research from Kantar and Affectiva shows that there is consumer appetite for advertising right now – just 8% of people think that businesses should stop advertising during the pandemic.

However, 74% of consumers believe that brands should not exploit the current situation to promote the brand. That isn’t to say necessarily that you should cease all product/service marketing, but you need to be wise to not be seen to piggyback on COVID-19 for your own brand gain.

Brands also need to be careful to not be seen to be taking the pandemic too lightly. Kantar’s COVID-19 Barometer finds that, globally, 40% of people believe that brands should avoid humorous tones in advertising. So, caution is advised. But attitudes around this vary considerably from country to country, from 62% in India to just 29% in the Netherlands, so context matters.

In fact, context is the key with everything right now. The research shows that your product, audience and brand perception all play a part in how advertising is being perceived in the current crisis. So, use your expert judgement.

Play it safe

For many brands, it’ll be a case of ‘play it safe’ in the short-term, which is probably about right.

Research from Kantar and Affectiva shows that there is consumer appetite for advertising right now – just 8% of people think that businesses should stop advertising during the pandemic.

However, 74% of consumers believe that brands should not exploit the current situation to promote the brand. That isn’t to say necessarily that you should cease all product/service marketing, but you need to be wise to not be seen to piggyback on COVID-19 for your own brand gain.

Brands also need to be careful to not be seen to be taking the pandemic too lightly. Kantar’s COVID-19 Barometer finds that, globally, 40% of people believe that brands should avoid humorous tones in advertising. So, caution is advised. But attitudes around this vary considerably from country to country, from 62% in India to just 29% in the Netherlands, so context matters.

In fact, context is the key with everything right now. The research shows that your product, audience and brand perception all play a part in how advertising is being perceived in the current crisis. So, use your expert judgement.

Go direct

If you are spending money on advertising during the pandemic, it’s only normal to want to see some marketing ROI.

Few businesses can scarcely afford to spend money and not see a great return, even if they know it might mean their brand will be in better shape once we emerge on the other side.

It could well pay to go direct – maintaining brand awareness by being present in homes and offices. With brands often still favouring online communication – despite the obvious competition for consumer attention – this leaves the door open for direct mail, which doesn’t have anywhere near the same level of opposition.

Go direct

If you are spending money on advertising during the pandemic, it’s only normal to want to see some marketing ROI.

Few businesses can scarcely afford to spend money and not see a great return, even if they know it might mean their brand will be in better shape once we emerge on the other side.

It could well pay to go direct – maintaining brand awareness by being present in homes and offices. With brands often still favouring online communication – despite the obvious competition for consumer attention – this leaves the door open for direct mail, which doesn’t have anywhere near the same level of opposition.

Research shows that you’re almost guaranteed to be seen with direct mail, with the average person looking at a postal advertisement for 2.2 minutes.

Not only is direct mail able to cut through the online noise, it appears that consumers are much less ‘avoidant’ towards it than to other media – this specific feature could prove key during a time when people are holding brands to such high standards.

Research shows that you’re almost guaranteed to be seen with direct mail, with the average person looking at a postal advertisement for 2.2 minutes.

Not only is direct mail able to cut through the online noise, it appears that consumers are much less ‘avoidant’ towards it than to other media – this specific feature could prove key during a time when people are holding brands to such high standards.

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Final word

There could be greater risk in not communicating with your customers during the pandemic than spending money and not seeing much in terms of marketing ROI. The consumer appetite for advertising remains, but you’ve got to adopt a carefully considered approach so as not to offend. Direct mail has shown itself to be able to cut through the online noise, and comes with a high level of consumer acceptance. How could you use it to show you care?

Final word

There could be greater risk in not communicating with your customers during the pandemic than spending money and not seeing much in terms of marketing ROI. The consumer appetite for advertising remains, but you’ve got to adopt a carefully considered approach so as not to offend. Direct mail has shown itself to be able to cut through the online noise, and comes with a high level of consumer acceptance. How could you use it to show you care?

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