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Vivek Pandey, VP - Revenue Strategy & Analytics, Times Internet
‌CoronaVirus‌ ‌is‌ ‌ ‌rapidly‌ ‌accelerating‌ ‌long-term‌ ‌underlying‌ ‌industry‌ ‌trends
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The‌ ‌Dos‌ ‌and‌ ‌Don’ts‌ ‌of‌ ‌marketing‌ ‌during‌ ‌a‌ pandemic‌

‌CoronaVirus‌ ‌is‌ ‌ ‌rapidly‌ ‌accelerating‌ ‌long-term‌ ‌underlying‌ ‌industry‌ ‌trends
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  • The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown has brought about a sea change in how the world functions. It is also changing the way people consume.
  • New rules of surviving and thriving in these uncertain times are being written everyday‌.
  • Vivek Pandey, VP - Revenue Strategy & Analytics, Times Internet writes about some tips for marketers to come out of this current crisis victorious.

The‌ ‌COVID-19‌ ‌pandemic‌ ‌has‌ ‌fundamentally‌ ‌transformed‌ ‌the‌ ‌world‌ ‌as‌ ‌we‌ ‌know‌ ‌it.‌ ‌Consumers‌ ‌are‌ ‌living,‌ ‌shopping,‌ ‌thinking‌ ‌and‌ ‌interacting‌ ‌with‌ ‌each‌ ‌other‌ ‌in‌ ‌new‌ ‌ways.‌ ‌Similarly,‌ ‌they‌ ‌are‌ ‌looking‌ ‌at‌ ‌products‌ ‌&‌ ‌services‌ ‌from‌ ‌brands‌ ‌through‌ ‌a‌ ‌new‌ ‌lens‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌well.‌ ‌

While‌ ‌the‌ ‌CoronaVirus‌ ‌is‌ ‌reshaping‌ ‌the‌ ‌global‌ ‌advertising‌ ‌&‌ ‌marketing‌ ‌industry,‌ ‌it‌ ‌is‌ ‌rapidly‌ ‌accelerating‌ ‌long-term‌ ‌underlying‌ ‌industry‌ ‌trends‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌matter‌ ‌of‌ ‌weeks‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌outbreak.‌ ‌These‌ ‌new‌ ‌aspects‌ ‌of‌ ‌consumer‌ ‌behavior‌ ‌will‌ ‌live‌ ‌beyond‌ ‌the‌ ‌immediate‌ ‌effects‌ ‌of‌ ‌this‌ ‌crisis‌ ‌and‌ ‌not‌ ‌only‌ ‌permanently‌ ‌change‌ ‌what‌ ‌we‌ ‌value,‌ ‌it‌ ‌will‌ ‌also‌ ‌affect‌ ‌everything‌ ‌from‌ ‌how‌ ‌and‌ ‌where‌ ‌we‌ ‌shop,‌ ‌how‌ ‌we‌ ‌live‌ ‌and‌ ‌work.‌ ‌

As‌ ‌a‌ ‌marketer‌ ‌who‌ ‌is‌ ‌seeing‌ ‌this‌ ‌crisis‌ ‌evolve,‌ ‌it's‌ ‌crucial‌ ‌to‌ ‌explore‌ ‌the‌ ‌challenges‌ ‌happening‌ ‌right‌ ‌now‌ ‌so‌ ‌we‌ ‌can‌ ‌consider‌ ‌what‌ ‌your‌ ‌brand‌ ‌can‌ ‌do‌ ‌to‌ ‌prepare‌ ‌for‌ ‌what’s‌ ‌next.‌ Here‌ ‌are‌ ‌some‌ ‌dos‌ ‌and‌ ‌don’t‌ ‌of‌ ‌marketing‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌current‌ ‌crisis:‌ ‌

DO‌ ‌get‌ ‌to‌ ‌know‌ ‌your‌ ‌consumers‌ ‌
Most‌ ‌people‌ ‌around‌ ‌the‌ ‌world‌ ‌are‌ ‌deeply‌ ‌concerned‌ ‌about‌ ‌the‌ ‌impact‌ ‌of‌ ‌COVID-19‌ ‌on‌ ‌our‌ ‌lives‌ ‌and‌ ‌livelihoods.‌ ‌They‌ ‌are‌ ‌responding‌ ‌in‌ ‌various‌ ‌ways‌ ‌and‌ ‌have‌ ‌adopted‌ ‌new‌ ‌attitudes,‌ ‌behaviors‌ ‌and‌ ‌purchasing‌ ‌habits‌ ‌as‌ ‌they‌ ‌stay‌ ‌home.‌ ‌As‌ ‌people‌ ‌are‌ ‌adapting‌ ‌to‌ ‌a‌ ‌new‌ ‌normal,‌ ‌they‌ ‌are‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌fearful‌ ‌position‌ ‌of‌ ‌contemplating‌ ‌what‌ ‌this‌ ‌crisis‌ ‌means‌ ‌for‌ ‌them,‌ ‌but‌ ‌more‌ ‌importantly,‌ ‌what‌ ‌it‌ ‌means‌ ‌for‌ ‌their‌ ‌families‌ ‌&‌ ‌friends,‌ ‌and‌ ‌society‌ ‌at‌ ‌large.‌ ‌

Your‌ ‌brand’s‌ ‌consumers‌ ‌are‌ ‌also‌ ‌responding‌ ‌to‌ ‌this‌ ‌crisis‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌wide‌ ‌variety‌ ‌of‌ ‌ways.‌ ‌Some‌ ‌are‌ feeling‌ ‌anxious‌ ‌and‌ ‌worried,‌ ‌some‌ ‌must‌ ‌be‌ ‌panic-buying‌ ‌staples‌ ‌and‌ ‌hygiene‌ ‌products‌ ‌and‌ ‌so‌ ‌on.‌ ‌Similarly,‌ ‌some‌ ‌pockets‌ ‌of‌ ‌consumers‌ ‌may‌ ‌remain‌ ‌indifferent‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌pandemic‌ ‌and‌ ‌are‌ ‌continuing‌ ‌to‌ ‌live‌ ‌their‌ ‌lives‌ ‌at‌ ‌home‌ ‌as‌ ‌usual.‌ ‌The‌ ‌days‌ ‌of‌ ‌one-size-fits-all‌ ‌marketing‌ ‌are‌ ‌over.‌ ‌Companies‌ ‌need‌ ‌to‌ ‌understand‌ ‌how‌ ‌their‌ ‌consumers‌ ‌are‌ ‌reacting‌ ‌to‌ ‌this‌ ‌crisis‌ ‌and‌ ‌
develop‌ ‌customized‌ ‌marketing‌ ‌strategies‌ ‌for‌ ‌each‌ ‌of‌ ‌these‌ ‌consumer‌ ‌segments.‌ ‌

DO‌ ‌stay‌ ‌authentic‌ ‌in‌ ‌communication‌
Authenticity‌ ‌is‌ ‌crucial‌ ‌to‌ ‌create‌ ‌strong‌ ‌bonds‌ ‌with‌ ‌customers,‌ ‌especially‌ ‌during‌ ‌a‌ ‌crisis‌ ‌when‌ ‌you’d‌ ‌want‌ ‌to‌ ‌insert‌ ‌your‌ ‌brand‌ ‌into‌ ‌daily‌ ‌conversations.‌ ‌According‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌‌Kantar‌ ‌COVID-19‌ ‌barometer‌ ‌report‌,‌ ‌64%‌ ‌of‌ ‌consumers‌ ‌want‌ ‌brands‌ ‌to‌ ‌communicate‌ ‌their‌ ‌values‌ ‌through‌ ‌their‌ ‌messaging.‌ ‌Advertisers‌ ‌who‌ ‌are‌ ‌able‌ ‌to‌ ‌remain‌ ‌true‌ ‌to‌ ‌their‌ ‌brand‌ ‌and‌ ‌values‌ ‌will‌ ‌gain‌ ‌brand‌ ‌equity.‌ ‌

DO‌ ‌re-assess‌ ‌your‌ ‌post-pandemic‌ ‌media‌ ‌mix‌ ‌
Staying‌ ‌at‌ ‌home‌ ‌is‌ ‌affecting‌ ‌the‌ ‌way‌ ‌people‌ ‌are‌ ‌consuming‌ ‌online‌ ‌and‌ ‌offline‌ ‌media‌ ‌around‌ ‌the‌ ‌world.‌ ‌Coupled‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌shift‌ ‌in‌ ‌consumer‌ ‌behavior,‌ ‌certain‌ ‌segments‌ ‌like‌ ‌connected‌ ‌TV,‌ ‌desktop‌ ‌video‌ ‌and‌ ‌mobile‌ ‌video‌ ‌may‌ ‌see‌ ‌surges‌ ‌during‌ ‌weekdays,‌ ‌while‌ ‌certain‌ ‌platforms‌ ‌may‌ ‌see‌ ‌a‌ ‌flat‌ ‌line.‌ ‌

In‌ ‌these‌ ‌uncertain‌ ‌times,‌ ‌consumers‌ ‌are‌ ‌also‌ ‌leaning‌ ‌towards‌ ‌premium‌ ‌media‌ ‌like‌ ‌The‌ ‌Times‌ ‌Of‌ ‌India‌ ‌Online,‌ ‌Economic‌ ‌Times‌ ‌Online‌ ‌among‌ ‌others‌ ‌as‌ ‌they‌ ‌need‌ ‌trustworthy‌ ‌sources‌ ‌for‌ ‌news‌ ‌&‌ ‌information‌ ‌to‌ ‌stay‌ ‌connected‌ ‌over‌ ‌random‌ ‌user-generated‌ ‌content‌ ‌(UGC).‌ ‌This‌ ‌is‌ ‌an‌ ‌essential‌ ‌takeaway‌ ‌as‌ ‌you‌ ‌plan‌ ‌your‌ ‌marketing‌ ‌mix‌ ‌during‌ ‌this‌ ‌time.‌ ‌

DO‌ ‌re-look‌ ‌at‌ ‌your‌ ‌audience‌ ‌segmentation‌ ‌
In‌ ‌times‌ ‌of‌ ‌such‌ ‌crisis,‌ ‌customer‌ ‌attunement‌ ‌is‌ ‌crucial.‌ ‌If‌ ‌you‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌broad‌ ‌customer‌ ‌base‌ ‌today,‌ ‌brainstorm‌ ‌about‌ ‌ways‌ ‌to‌ ‌segment‌ ‌your‌ ‌audience‌ ‌into‌ ‌further‌ ‌segments‌ ‌based‌ ‌on‌ ‌their‌ ‌behavior,‌ ‌demographics,‌ ‌psychographics‌ ‌so‌ ‌that‌ ‌you‌ ‌are‌ ‌able‌ ‌to‌ ‌reach‌ ‌the‌ ‌right‌ ‌person‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌right‌ ‌time‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌correct‌ ‌messaging.‌ ‌

Closely‌ ‌monitor‌ ‌your‌ ‌own‌ ‌online‌ ‌platform’s‌ ‌web‌ ‌analytics‌ ‌and‌ ‌make‌ ‌a‌ ‌note‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌metrics‌ ‌that‌ ‌have‌ ‌shifted‌ ‌in‌ ‌terms‌ ‌of‌ ‌customer‌ ‌behavior.‌ ‌Once‌ ‌you‌ ‌segment‌ ‌your‌ ‌audience‌ ‌in‌ ‌terms‌ ‌of‌ ‌these‌ ‌shifts,‌ ‌adapt‌ ‌your‌ ‌marketing‌ ‌strategy,‌ ‌messaging‌ ‌and‌ ‌landing‌ ‌pages‌ ‌to‌ ‌provide‌ ‌the‌ ‌information‌ ‌customers‌ ‌are‌ ‌looking‌ ‌for,‌ ‌clearly‌ ‌and‌ ‌readily,‌ ‌for‌ ‌a‌ ‌better‌ ‌customer‌ ‌experience.‌ ‌

DON’T‌ ‌assume‌ ‌pre-pandemic‌ ‌consumer‌ ‌behavior‌ ‌
The‌ ‌standard‌ ‌media‌ ‌consumption‌ ‌patterns‌ ‌are‌ ‌transforming‌ ‌rapidly‌ ‌with‌ ‌box‌ ‌office‌ ‌closures,‌ ‌work-from-home‌ ‌guidelines‌ ‌and‌ ‌cancellations‌ ‌of‌ ‌sports‌ ‌leagues.‌ ‌This‌ ‌has‌ ‌obviously‌ ‌impacted‌ ‌the‌ ‌media‌ ‌consumption‌ ‌cycle.‌ ‌

Similarly,‌ ‌some‌ ‌brands‌ ‌are‌ ‌limiting‌ ‌their‌ ‌online‌ ‌presence‌ ‌from‌ ‌appearing‌ ‌on‌ ‌COVID-19‌ ‌related‌ ‌content.‌ ‌However,‌ ‌given‌ ‌the‌ ‌significant‌ ‌mindshare‌ ‌and‌ ‌unprecedented‌ ‌amount‌ ‌of‌ ‌media‌ ‌attention‌ ‌that‌ ‌COVID-19‌ ‌has‌ ‌rightfully‌ ‌garnered,‌ ‌blocking‌ ‌a‌ ‌brand’s‌ ‌ads‌ ‌on‌ ‌this‌ ‌content‌ ‌may‌ ‌lead‌ ‌to‌ ‌an‌ ‌inability‌ ‌to‌ ‌connect‌ ‌with‌ ‌potential‌ ‌audiences.‌ ‌ ‌

DON’T‌ ‌share‌ ‌insensitive‌ ‌or‌ ‌misleading‌ ‌content‌ ‌
The‌ ‌role‌ ‌of‌ ‌tone‌ ‌and‌ ‌messaging‌ ‌was‌ ‌backed‌ ‌up‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌Kantar‌ ‌COVID-19‌ ‌barometer‌ ‌report,‌ ‌which‌ ‌reported‌ ‌that‌ ‌more‌ ‌than‌ ‌70%‌ ‌consumers‌ ‌believe‌ ‌that‌ ‌brands‌ ‌should‌ ‌not‌ ‌exploit‌ ‌the‌ ‌situation‌ ‌to‌ ‌promote‌ ‌their‌ ‌brand.‌ ‌

While‌ ‌putting‌ ‌out‌ ‌an‌ ‌ad‌ ‌it's‌ ‌important‌ ‌to‌ ‌ask‌ ‌if‌ ‌the‌ ‌messaging‌ ‌is‌ ‌insensitive‌ ‌or‌ ‌may‌ ‌induce‌ ‌widespread‌ ‌panic.‌ ‌A‌ ‌good‌ ‌idea‌ ‌is‌ ‌to‌ ‌test‌ ‌potential‌ ‌ads‌ ‌and‌ ‌get‌ ‌feedback‌ ‌from‌ ‌potential‌ ‌customers‌ ‌before‌ ‌putting‌ ‌it‌ ‌out.‌ ‌

COVID-19IndiaCases: 2.21MDeaths: 43.3kRecovered: 1.48M
COVID-19WorldCases: 19.46MDeaths: 722kRecovered: 12.06M
COVID-19USACases: 4.89MDeaths: 159kRecovered: 1.65M