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Marketing During the Pandemic: 10 Stats You Should Know

Marketing during a pandemic was probably not on the agendas of many marketing professionals in 2019, yet it’s 2020 and here we are.

As businesses across the country continue to cope with the crisis, they’re asking themselves how marketing is being affected, and what they should do.

We’ve rounded up the most significant statistics on marketing during the pandemic to give you an insight into where we headed, what other businesses are doing, and—most importantly—what your customers want.

Read ahead and discover 10 stats you must know as you assess your marketing plans for the rest of 2020 and beyond.

1. Although three-quarters (73%) of advertisers have held back campaign launches, most (52%) are expected to resume or ramp up their advertising spending this summer. 

Marketers are just as in the dark about the effects of the lockdown restrictions on business as anyone else.

It’s perfectly rational to hold back on campaigns and reassess when they want to have their launches.

What’s notable is that more than half hope to resume their spending at the same level or increase it, even in the midst of the current economic downturn.

In periods of uncertainty, organizations will look to cut, meaning there’s a whole lot less marketing noise from your competitors.

During the Great Recession, brands who continued to invest in their marketing invariably came out the other side better off than their peers who held back.

Revised advertising spending in light of the coronavirus outbreak

2. 39% of social media users polled said they were spending more time on social media.

People are remote working and living under restrictions. This has naturally led to a large increase in social media use among consumers.

Businesses should look to their online social media channels in order to take advantage of this surge in users.

This doesn’t have to be just lead generation either, but customer service, too—whether it’s answering questions from clients or content creation to reassure them of new standards or procedures during the pandemic. 

3. Marketers expect a 66% increase in social media content creation during the pandemic, followed by blog content at 57% and video production at 50%.

As traditional marketing and advertising spend decreases, the inverse is true of digital marketing during the pandemic.

While a third of marketers will be reducing or keeping their content creation at the same level, two-thirds are increasing their output.

This is for two principle reasons: the first is the continued rise of content marketing as a top priority for businesses for bringing in leads; and the second is a reaction to the pandemic, with some marketers making the decision to double down on their content to improve their engagement online.

Related Post: Marketing in a Recession: Continuing to Invest in Your Brand

4. 87% of consumers appreciate brands that go out of their way to deliver timely and relevant information during the coronavirus pandemic.

Yes, it’s still important to push your outreach goals with regards to the content you promote, but don’t forget the big picture.

People find themselves having to adapt to the new normal; they’re concerned about their financial and emotional wellbeing.

This is the opportunity for SMBs to step up and be a resource to them. They might not understand how your business has been affected; they might want to know how your service is going to change during the pandemic.

Use the tools you have at your disposal to keep them updated and at ease with your situation. Letting them know you’re a tweet away, emailing them informational advice on how to take care of themselves, or measures you’re introducing to protect their safety—these are small but significant gestures that consumers will appreciate.

5. 89% of Gen Z and Millennials expect brands to take action to help with COVID-19

On that note, younger generations don’t just appreciate it when brands provide them information; they actively expect them to help with the pandemic.

With these generations making up the majority of the workforce, it’s imperative that businesses acknowledge and pay attention to their desires.

Of course, this is also dependent on your target demographic, and businesses that cater exclusively to Millennials or Gen Zers should be particularly alive to this.

How is your marketing playing a role in this? Are you effectively letting your audience know what you’re doing to help? Two-thirds of Gen Z consumers want brands to allow working from home to help fight the spread. Maybe you’ve already done this but haven’t thought to share it online.

Tell your customers what you’re doing to help, they will think positively about your business for taking action and keeping them informed of the steps you’ve taken during the crisis.

6. A plurality of consumers (37%) say they want advertising to make them feel safe and give them a sense of normality, while others (31%) want ads to make them feel positive.

It would be simple for businesses to see the increase in online activity during this time and seek to market to audiences as much as possible.

This is a mistake.

In difficult times, consumers don’t want brands to keep advertising to them, they want someone to give them support and guidance.

Yes, businesses should be looking to explore avenues to maintain revenue, but consumers should be treated with a light touch and as much compassion as possible.

Building your credibility as a compassionate and understanding business during times of crisis will be remembered by customers.

7. 40% of consumers say humorous communication is the wrong approach from brands

While consumers want to feel reassured and positive during the crisis, they don’t want brands cracking wise.

We could all use a laugh in hard times, but brands that adopt a humorous angle in their messaging run the danger of coming off as facetious to their customers.

It’s true that campaign messages vary wildly from one organization to another, but nonetheless companies should be very cautious in how their output will be perceived.

8. 42% of marketers mentioned that their marketing teams lacked the bandwidth to quickly adapt to shifting priorities and creating new content.

While we’re seeing businesses both cutting and investing, what they have in common is that demands for content creation have gone up.

Many marketers are struggling to meet new demands, whether it’s creating new kinds of content or just increasing output.

In content marketing, quality trumps quantity, so be careful not to fall into the trap of expecting more from less and ending up with lower-quality output.

How significant will COVID-19 be to branding and marketing efforts long-term?

9. Only 22% of marketing professionals noted the ability to effectively collaborate in real-time as a notable challenge.

One of the major consequences of the pandemic has of course been the widescale implementation of remote work across the country.

Overnight, employees had to transition to a completely different work environment, and businesses had to adopt communication tools to help facilitate this—Zoom was the biggest beneficiary of this change.

Marketers appear to have responded well to this change, with a large majority of them reporting success in their collaboration efforts with team members as a result of communication software.

Decision makers should understand whether the software they currently have in place is good enough for their workers to carry out their jobs effectively, and whether they should look into purchasing a UCaaS solution to help their collaboration if they don’t have one already.

Related Post: What Is Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)?

10. 70% of marketers have moved their face-to-face events partially or fully to a virtual platform, and many don’t see that as a short-term fix

On that note, UCaaS platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have given marketers the ability to take different approaches to meetings.

From one-to-one calls to large-scale conferences, these platforms have done a lot to demonstrate their worth to small and midsize businesses during the pandemic.

While collaboration tools and platforms were already seeing a big rise before the crisis, users are now seeing how they can provide the kind of flexibility they need during uncertain times in the future.

When all is said and done and normality resumes, communication platforms will continue to be used by marketers, in addition to face-to-face events.

For more information about marketing during the pandemic, watch our Marketing in Times of Uncertainty webinar from our Coffee With Impact series, featuring hosts Jamie Judkins, VP of Sales, ES99, and Stacie Thompson, VP/Director of Creative, ES99. Click here and download the webinar to watch on demand.