Staying the Course in 2020

Staying the Course

Things in AdTech are changing fast. Our physical world may have come to a screeching halt in the first half of the year, but the online world is still turning. Let us take this opportunity to understand how to stay the course for the second half of the year in this change of tide.

Staying the Course in 2020

While we have gone through unprecedented tragedy and recessions before, this feels new to just about all of us and navigating through this time will be like nothing we have ever had to do before.

We know that businesses are closing. Some temporarily and some permanently. We know consumers are staying home and many are not working.

How does this impact our role as marketers and our ability to do our jobs? For consumers not working, there is less disposable income. Many brands rely on inventory from outside the U.S., leading to product shortages. For other brands, in select categories where needs are high, we are also seeing inventory issues – there just is not enough inventory to support the demand. Cash flow is being impacted.

For all these reasons, advertisers are decreasing their marketing spend.

eMarketer has published some reports where we can see how marketing professionals are thinking about their advertising and it is across the board.

      eMarketer image 1       eMarketer image 2

What is interesting to me was the fact that nearly half of marketers will still be advertising, but the way in which they advertise, where and how they spend those dollars are being adjusted.

So, even though we hear that the best way to survive an economic downturn is to stay the course, we know that will come with some changes.

What is the key to marketing today?

I want to touch on a point about focusing on your most loyal customers and hand raisers first.

When we think about marketing, we think about it from the perspective of acquisition, prospecting to acquire new customers, and retention across active and lapsed customers.

If we looked at historic results, I think we would all see that our active customers are the most productive, followed by lapsed customers and then prospects. So when we are trying to keep business moving forward in a time where there may be cash flow issues or limited advertising dollars, there is a natural inclination to use those dollars on the most productive group – the active customers.

But I want to remind you that the best way to survive an economic downturn is to stay the course. Staying the course means continuing to market to all three consumer segments.

Audiences with Intent

Attrition is a real thing – maybe even more so today – as we know some consumers are not working. We need to make sure we are continually replacing the active customer segment by reactivation of lapsed customers and acquiring new customers.

This cannot change. Not even now.

But we can do it better.

We can further qualify these audiences with intent. Maybe now is not the time to prospect to look-a-like audiences that you think may be interested in your brand and limit your prospecting to those consumers that you know are interested in your brand.

Browsing data is the best indication of intent. These are your hand raisers. Someone has been to your site browsing specific products or product categories. They are showing you, by their activity, that they are interested and what they are interested in.

Now is the best time to understand your website visitors. From bricks to clicks, shopping behavior has changed. According to Big Commerce, US online orders increased 56% during the COVID-19 period. And, according to Marketing Profs, some 87% of US consumers say they are consuming more content across media channels because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

It does not matter if the customer is an active customer, or a lapsed customer or a prospect.

To use the most extreme example I can think of – let us talk about cruise lines. Cruise lines have been hit among the hardest by this virus for obvious reasons. But if a consumer is on your website and they are browsing a specific itinerary – that consumer is showing intent and they should be marketed to.

Should you market to all customers? No. Some are spooked for sure. But for those browsing, raising their hand, showing intent, why wouldn’t you? They have shown interest and you should retarget them after they leave your site.

I mentioned earlier about the importance of staying the course during this time.

And we talked about continuing to market to active and lapsed customers as well as prospects in order to make sure you come out the other side of this time in good shape.

Leveraging intent in your marketing will make a big difference across all three audiences. With intent data, you aren’t just guessing. Marketers can save dollars by targeting buyers, not just browsers.

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