Recent data from OpenX and The Harris Poll reveals how marketers are reacting to today’s “new normal.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic hyper-accelerated this past April, marketers understandably needed to react. Certain industries like travel enacted complete shutdowns, and even verticals that weren’t directly impacted, like auto, proceeded cautiously given the uncertainty around consumer spending habits.
According to “New Normal: Marketing in 2020 & Beyond” report mentioned above, 61% of market leaders cut their budgets once COVID started. The majority cut between 10-25%, yet 39% cut more than 25%.
As huge swaths of the population sheltered at home, spending habits did indeed evolve: the Harris Poll research found that 44% of consumers increased their online shopping since the onset of COVID, and 8% of consumers are now making daily online purchases.
Marketers, in turn, focused their energies on making it as easy as possible to sell online. 76% of marketers who offer the ability to buy online say they changed their marketing strategies to facilitate more online shopping and 39% added to their e-commerce offerings since the onset of COVID.
This yielded real results, as even in the face of vast economic uncertainty, 74% of marketers who offer the ability to buy online reported a post-COVID increase in online sales. In fact, 29% of market leaders say that even though total sales are down for the year, online sales are up.
From a more macro standpoint, it’s not just that marketers pivoted to digital media to drive short-term sales. Instead, this (hopefully) once-in-a-generation event forced marketers collectively to rethink the role that digital plays in their strategy. This is not about the next 10 weeks, or even the next 10 months. It’s about the next 10 years.
74% of marketers say they made changes to their marketing strategy during COVID-19 that will continue even when the pandemic is over, and 56% say they will continue to reallocate budgets to digital channels after the pandemic.
If there is a second wave of COVID-19, 80% of marketers feel they are ready, while 71% say their advertising/marketing strategy will differ from the first wave. Of this group, 37% say they would not cut as much budget, if any at all, and 50% say they will put a strategy in place to facilitate even more online shopping.
The past six months have changed marketing for good, and while we are all finding ways to cope with an incredibly challenging year, we are learning that marketers are no different: adapting, adjusting and trying to make the most of difficult circumstances.
Joey Leichman is VP of Buyer Development at OpenX, the world’s largest independent ad exchange and people-based marketing platform.
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