Navigating Advertising Strategy During the COVID Storm

Adobe reveals comprehensive survey results and strategy guide to help brand marketers achieve success.

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Navigating Advertising Strategy During the COVID Storm
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As stay-at-home orders begin to relax, brands are now asking themselves how to market to customers in this new reality and whether its warranted or desired to advertise to potential consumers in the first place. The line between being targeted and tone deaf is a fine one. Yet, insight gathered following the previous recession provides us with the knowledge that turning off the advertising taps isn’t a sustainable choice for a brand trying to navigate choppy waters.

According to John Quelch in his 2008 recession-era Harvard Business Review article, How to Market in a Downturn, “Although it’s wise to contain costs, failing to support brands or examine core customers’ changing needs can jeopardize performance over the long term.”

While the recession was a fundamentally different battle, the underlying result – lack of sales and financial hardship faced by consumers – is similar. With this in mind, Adobe Advertising Cloud commissioned a survey of over 1,000 global consumers and 500 brand marketers to examine current views towards advertising, how brands are reacting, what consumers are looking for (and what they aren’t) and where there are pockets of opportunity that marketers can leverage to ensure continued success.

Some of our key findings include:

  • Consumers still want advertising (as long as it’s targeted): Almost 90% of survey respondents actively want ads targeted to them – as long as they are relevant and useful
  • Gen Z can still be a luxury brand target demographic: Of all generations, Gen Z have expressed the most desire for continued luxury advertising engagement as over 40% of Gen Z want luxury or non-essential brand advertising directed to them – this, despite Gen Z being the generation most negatively affected by economic challenges due to COVID-19
  • Increased spending among millennial men and full-time employed:More than half of millennial men are shopping and spending more online than they did prior to the pandemic. And almost half (48%) of all consumers still in full-time employment are doing the same. Brands targeting these population segments can succeed
  • It’s time to stop the ‘we’re with you’ ads:Brand marketers believe that consumers want ads that showcase how brands are engaging with communities and how they are ‘helping’ people. But the reality is that brand marketers are almost 20% more likely to believe this than everyday consumers. It’s time to stop the COVID-19 ads celebrating community and focus instead on everyday essentials and things that take American minds away from the crisis
  • Visual mediums see vast increases:Connected TV and video are seeing increases in ad dollar spend – an average of 32% more according to brand marketers
  • More product please:Two thirds of Americans are turning to trusted, premium content more than pre-pandemic. Yet, ad prices are dropping significantly. Brands targeting older or more traditional viewers will do well to advertise on news sites that may feature negative, COVID-related information as these populations will be least likely to associate a brand with the negative messaging
  • New brands please: If a brand answers a need, then 56% of consumers will be receptive to it – even if they were unfamiliar with the brand name prior to COVID

Brands that leverage a customer experience platform will have a distinct advantage adjusting to the new normal outlined by some of the findings. Real-time purchasing patterns can be updated to profiles on a granular basis, keeping marketers up to date when choosing advertising campaign targets. By using data to understand individuals and the challenges they are facing, brands will be able to know what ads to issue and the sites on which to reach them. They will be able to manage assets, create site experiences and deliver ads that are completely connected from ideation through to execution and beyond. This will be vital for companies to continue delivering the kinds of brand engagements that consumers crave.

Turning off the lights when it comes to advertising isn’t an option, no matter how tempting that may be. Today, it’s about adjusting strategy and not curtailing it. By analyzing data and building robust, granular customer profiles, advertisers can succeed and navigate their way to success by engaging with demographics that still actively want to hear from them. And as our survey shows, consumers do want to hear from them. Just as experience delivery isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, so, too, is advertising experience delivery. COVID-19 has highlighted the need for heightened personalization, real-time engagement and constantly tailored messaging.

Click here to see more insights and download a strategy guide that takes the survey insights and delivers real, actionable steps to advertise in the COVID and post-COVID reality.

COVID-19 Response

As the situation with COVID-19 unfolds, Adobe is committed to giving you the support and resources to navigate this challenging time.

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