Marketing Budgets During COVID-19

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Marketing Budgets During COVID-19

Marketing teams are faced with several challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Four leading challenges are collected and outlined in this report, including the need to use unfamiliar strategies on a decreased budget, difficulty with managing adaptive strategies amongst marketing teams, bandwidth issues that make producing content impossible for remote teams, and a pronounced need to manage brand image. Full details are provided below.

Adopting Unfamiliar Channels and Strategies on a Decreased Budget

  • As a result of the shift in marketing budgets in light of COVID-19, brands are being forced to implement new marketing strategies that may involve working with unfamiliar media or channels.
  • Picking up a new marketing strategy, channel, or media requires new resources that marketers will have to tap into, such as freelance video creators or agencies that specialize in specific content. The opportunity for creative content providers is therefore significant.
  • As an added challenge to working with new channels and trying new strategies, marketing departments are generally working under reduced budgets. Marketing budgets are often the first to be cut. This makes marketing exploration both critical and risky.

Difficulty with Managing Fluid Plans

  • The majority of modern marketing strategies are no longer static but are instead fluid, meaning they are capable of shifting quickly in response to changes in the market.
  • A significant percentage (48 percent) of 100 enterprise-level companies surveyed in April responded that their biggest challenge is providing visibility for their fluid plans and managing their fluid plans.
  • The main reason it is difficult for companies to manage their fluid plans at this time is the fact that most of their marketing teams are working from home. For 87 percent of marketing teams, the entire team is working from home.
  • Having a fluid plan is especially important with consideration to COVID-19 due to the necessity of rapidly changing marketing channels and diversifying message to attract and retain customer interest. Customers are currently faced with a significant amount of novel media and news messaging due to the pandemic, meaning brands can get lost in the swell if they don't stand out.
  • Companies that utilize enterprise-level planning and project management tools were 28 percent less likely to note management of fluid plans as a difficulty, indicating how helpful these tools can be in this department.

Lack of Bandwidth to Create Content

  • With the vast majority of marketing teams working from home (including 87 percent who are working entirely from home and 11 percent with more than 90 percent of their team working from home), marketing teams lack the necessary bandwidth to create content that they would traditionally be making in-house.
  • 42 percent of content teams are currently struggling with bandwidth issues in creating content.
  • The need to shift priorities to create new kinds of content is particularly challenging for content teams (in other words, making unfamiliar content such as video content is particularly difficult with low bandwidth).
  • "Content is going to be king" according to digital marketing consultant Melanie Balke, who recommends that companies who have the bandwidth should focus on making it remotely. Teams without this option are thus left behind.
  • Bandwidth challenges arise from the high usage home networks are experiencing due to quarantines and public institution closures. The bandwidth issue extends to collaborating services such as Microsoft Teams, making it even more challenging for marketing teams to work together.

Increased Need for Brand Management

  • Brand perception is a critical consideration and challenge for marketing teams during COVID-19. Consumers are paying close attention to how brands are responding. As an added challenge, consumers are flooding support centers with requests in part because their personal support system of relatives with technical know-how is not as available.
  • 45 percent of consumers are "closely seeing ads", 68 percent find it helpful to see ads, and 62 percent believe that companies running ads have good intentions in running them.
  • Brands must navigate between being sensitive to the crisis and not losing their overall brand messaging.
  • As a result of the changing times and the need for brand messaging to be on point, it is essential for marketing teams to keep landing pages, websites, and campaign message up-to-date consistently.
  • Brand management is particularly delicate during this time and consumers will not favorably remember companies that use this time period to blatantly exploit them, according to Harvard Business Review.
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  • "This means that marketers are either having to venture more deeply into areas they’ve only dabbled in, like video for example, or that they’re needing additional resources to help them create the content they need to survive in the coronavirus climate. "
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  • "The pandemic has created new resource challenges for content teams, with 42 percent indicating their organization lacks the bandwidth to create new content as a result of new priorities/requests"
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  • "The pandemic has introduced new complexities to, and constraints upon, the marketing mix. Cautious customer sentiment and a digital landscape flooded with an onslaught of news make it difficult to break through the online clutter."
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  • "In general, it’s absolutely necessary to keep sites, landing pages, and campaign messaging up to date, including potentially creating dedicated landing pages with specific messaging as new concerns crop up. But be aware of bandwidth issues that might arise from new creative and copy requests and plan accordingly."
Quotes
  • "Surging traffic on social and media platforms also supports Balke’s theory that, because people are cooped up indoors, “content is going to be king” during this pandemic. She recommends content marketing to any company with excess bandwidth. “If you have a whole team at home that usually would be [out] doing things, why not have them create content?”"
Quotes
  • "You will definitely need to adapt your content to be sensitive to the current situation, but don’t lose your brand in the process. Instead, use it to get people through this difficult time, whether that’s by providing trusted information, providing some much-needed comic relief, or anything in between. "
Quotes
  • "Adtaxi found that people want transparency and are open to ads that are addressing the COVID-19 crisis situation. Here’s what the survey discovered: 45% are closely seeing ads 68% find it helpful when ads show regard of the current scenario 62% understand and agree that companies serving these ads have good intentions at their heart"
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  • "Many consequences happen on the platforms' side of issues, not just with users' connections. Collaborative service providers like Microsoft have experienced lags and outages due to the widespread simultaneous use of their products. These performance issues mostly don't lead to significant problems, but could potentially cause data breaches or leaks under the right circumstances. Networks hosting multiple users are more likely to encounter connectivity issues. Families or apartments housing several roommates will likely use more of their bandwidth than usual. While their old bandwidth levels were sufficient for their previous usage, they may not be anymore."
Quotes
  • "The nuances of brand voice are more delicate than ever. Brands that use this time to be commercially exploitative will not fare well. "