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Destroying the Ad-and-Marketing Budget is the Worst Thing a Company Could do to its Brand During the Pandemic

Advertising budgets are shrinking in some industries, leading to pressure to pare back spending on new ads.

In the US alone, ad spend dropped by nearly $10 billion during the first quarter of this year. And many brands, faced with slowing sales growth and, generally, in defensive mode, are slashing budgets as they try to survive.

If the pressure is becoming too much, or if you think you should scale back advertising, here are some things to consider:

Changing spending patterns and the limited growth outlook are altering traditional advertising strategies. For example, a number of premium brands have been ramping up social and search marketing budgets to more effectively reach younger shoppers, but that’s not the only option. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

They are fuelling speculation that ads are stale and the media landscape is on the cusp of a transformation that could result in “native advertising” and hyper-targeted content and content marketing.

But even though one-size-fits-all advertising will probably go the way of print, buying a bunch of ads, websites and print publications with the hopes of generating sales revenue is no longer an option. But if you’re thinking of getting out of the advertising business altogether, keep reading because here are some great ideas about how to boost brand awareness in an age of intense digital competition.

Think outside the box with audience analytics

It turns out that in some instances you can create your own low-cost, high-impact content and then charge a premium for it, as indicated by my recent research.

Testing and then working with top-tier publishers can ensure that you’re targeting your audience right. These might also include PR and social media agencies where margins are more favourable and marketing budgets are bigger.

But don’t let price stop you from sampling the latest in audience data and recognising new patterns in your data. This will also help you protect your brand from later false advertising claims.

Focus on optimising social media posts, stories and links.

Digital marketers know it’s all about “doing” as opposed to “having” and there’s plenty of evidence that measures “x” and “y” do drive measurable metrics such as sales.

Best of all, well-executed experiments can add insight into how content works, along with the need to rethink some of your use of traditional advertising. New digital signals will give you a roadmap on how best to target customers in future.

A good idea for advertisers might be the “CRM” approach pioneered by Uber – familiar to most travellers in London and New York, where the app automatically calls on drivers based on a picture of you posted on Facebook.

Call this the next step in digital media targeting, especially where you have to compete with the blindingly bright color scheme of the ads you see on-screen.

Pledge your brand’s support for whatever social campaign your other clients are involved in.

Partnering with your peers on digital campaign activity is nothing new. One thing the digital marketing world can agree on is that it’s in the best interests of each brand to get behind whichever cause is being championed.

Putting your brand alongside the cause can add value for users, who will find it easier to engage and donors will find the image relevant.

If you’re struggling to remember how to afford current ad budgets, here’s a tip:

Don’t cut them off altogether! Doing so leaves you vulnerable to anyone trying to scare you into thinking you can’t afford an effective media mix.

But you’re not the only brand in the world, and your brand can always save itself from extinction by finding creative ways to reach the consumer using one-of-a-kind strategies.

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