What Does the Crystal Ball Tell Us? Nothing, But History Might.
By: IDG | 04/23/2020
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to look at the current situation through a crystal ball and have all the difficult decisions be aided by the benefit of that magic? Or even better, hindsight? Unfortunately, as we all know, that is not possible, but what about using history? Right now, from a marketing perspective, the old adage that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it seems apropos right now.
Throughout time economic downturns – the Great Depression, more recently the Great Recession and what we are experiencing now – marketers have defended marketing spend and examined cutting budgets. In this unprecedented time, given how sudden the impact of COVID-19 has been felt globally, the need to sharpen the pencil and ensure that marketing investments are focused on the right KPIs and are keeping the company visible and viable is more critical than ever.
The great depression has myriad examples of companies who did it right, and are succeeding to this day – Kellogg vs. Post illustrating the need to stay visible; Proctor & Gamble investing in new marketing channels and the rise of soap operas; Yuengling with product innovation and the rise of ginger ale. It is easy to appreciate this history, read up on these case studies and learn from these companies’ lasting results – but what is right for NOW? We have picked a few industry articles to share current perspective as we all ponder that question, with an eye toward the what, how, and when of marketing during this time.
AdExchanger, mostly aimed at consumer goods retailers, has solid advice for anyone: “A crisis is temporary but displaying the sense that you are in tune with your customer and providing specific messages can instill a sense of trust and value that will be long lasting,” said Frances Zelazney, CMO of Signals Analytics. In that vein, it’s less about advertising and more about trying to be helpful, useful and informative, said Brian Wieser, global president of business intelligence at GroupM.
In an article from Business2Community, a central point emerges that during this time, who your customer is hasn’t changed, but what your customer cares about may have. Understanding that, and figuring how you can continue to serve those changing needs, is critical at this time.
Fortunately, IDG can provide some insights on how tech and security executives are responding to these unprecedented times through two recent studies. The CIO CV-19 Impact Study, looks at how the current pandemic is effecting IT leaders’ roles, priorities, and what they think the long-term effects will be on their IT organization and on business as a whole; and the CSO Pandemic Impact Survey which explores how COVID-19 is affecting the security within organizations as employees shift to work from home.
In this Forrester blog, James Staten takes a step back to urge bigger thinking during a time when companies can tend to hunker down. His advice is that transformational times like this create opportunities to disrupt traditional markets and craft net-new services that extend your firm’s value. “Amid all of these changes, it may seem counterintuitive to launch a companywide innovation campaign, yet there may be no better time to look for creative ways to solve problems for your customers and stake your claim as an innovation leader and driver of change.”
And one last article, from CNBC, that provides a glimmer of hope. “Long term, normality will resume. I would expect a sharp return to confidence. We are not dealing with a fundamental economic problem, we’re dealing with a virus with an economic impact. Once it goes, the economy and people will bounce back,” says Michael Scantlebury, founder at London ad agency Impero.
In today’s situation, if there is any economic bright light in what is obviously a significant global downturn, it is that technology may be the one sector that more and more individuals turn to for connection and a sense of normalcy. From how we work, to how we play, technology and creativity are vital. Marketers are known to balance art and science daily to drive business for their organizations and now we are really putting these skills to the test. As a way for our community to connect, we look forward to hearing more stories of trials, and some failures/lessons learned, but overall learning together as we navigate the road to a less stressful time.
Share your stories with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will add them to the post for your marketing colleagues to learn from.