How to Pivot Your Marketing Best Practices & Reach COVID-Conscious Consumers

Brand Building|Content Development|Thought Leadership|

It’s that time of year again — despite the many challenges this year has brought, 2021 planning is still on the agenda. While we’re far from the other side of the pandemic, our consumers’ sense of control is slowly being revived. As we look toward making a fresh start, it’s critical that we reevaluate marketing best practices. Sure, “timely, true, transparent and targeted” will always be the baseline but as we move forward in this new normal, it’s our responsibility as marketers to acknowledge and adapt to the changing needs of our consumers.

Here are four ways our team is pivoting to build supportive content and strengthen brands:

  1. Insist on Cultural & Social Relevance

Q4 is notoriously packed with messaging traps in a typical scenario. Sarcastic hashtags aside, 2020 brought an unprecedented global shift in priorities and is also an election year. Holiday campaigns and sales, travel incentives, pre-qualified financial and credit card promos, even aspirational “New Year, New You” tactics will likely fall flat this year. We must pause and reassess all programmatic content to avoid tone-deaf alienation of consumers.

Speaking of the holiday season, it’s no surprise that many rituals will undergo major changes. From tailgating (in your own driveway) to cooking lessons (via video call), some tried-and-true campaign concepts just won’t cut.

“Do your research, dig for the fascinating, celebrate the constants, and use this opportunity to discover and promote overlooked facets of your audiences’ cultures and traditions.”

  1. Aspire to Be “Okay”

Six months in and quarantine isolation is already documented as a primary factor in mental health setbacks across the country. Let’s step away from the spreadsheets, content schedules and acronyms for a second. Underneath the marketing tools and industry jargon, we’re all people first. That anxiety, uncertainty and endless urge for snacking are exactly what your consumers are dealing with, too. We’re so used to “pushing the envelope” and “setting the bar” that we’ve failed to realize an important fact: this year, it’s okay to just be okay. And your audience needs to hear that.

We are not advocating for mediocre content; it’s the exact opposite. Encourage interaction and boost engagement by meeting your audiences where they are — now, more than ever, your consumers are looking for understanding and they need an outlet. Find new ways to be supportive, transparent and maybe even a little raw with your messaging. This is an excellent chance to build a new layer or two into your brand voice. For example, gallows humor memes are raging across social platforms. While that likely won’t translate directly, considering what your audience finds funny and spotlighting the not so Insta-worthy human truths we’re all facing will give audiences the “in” they’ve needed to be more engaged with your brand.

  1. Rethink Go-To Formats

Screen fatigue and info overload are two of the biggest hurdles facing your messaging. In the era of our all-in-one home office/classroom/break room/daycare/couches it can seem impossible for consumers to disconnect from the workday and tune in to after-dinner distractions. One way to break through the clutter is to consider alternative content formats. A few that are top of mind include:

  •   Hosting live chats with your subject matter experts on LinkedIn
  •   Sponsoring a fan chatroom during events such as online concerts or tournaments
  •   Creating a parody Twitter account for your best- (or worst-) selling product
  •   Co-creating with your most loyal shoppers through social media takeovers
  •   Animating a white paper, case study or interesting research
  •   Creating a TikTok challenge to reboot old-school product placement

It’s so important to remember that we are all being inundated with messages right now. Before you post, share, comment or produce, check yourself and ask, “What does my audience do with this?” If it’s just a piece of white noise or, worse, an unnecessary disruption, hold onto the content until you have a clear goal.

  1. Commit to Meaningful Metrics

With so much creative experimentation happening across organizations, the standard quantitative stats may not “measure up”. (C’mon … that was a good one!) While brand awareness, sentiment and consumption often take a back seat to those easily summarized acronyms — we’re looking at you SQLs, MQLs, LTVs and CACs — it’s time to prioritize the qualitative side of things. Here are a few suggestions from our strategy team:

  •   Compare your brand’s share of voice across out-of-home/in-store and digital properties
  •   Analyze consumption quality such as time on page, scroll depth, and relation of links clicked
  •   Assess interaction quality (comments, shares, tags) of social media audiences
  •   Review backlinks and social shares and break it down by content type

That, of course, is not a free pass to ignore sales leads and e-cart abandonments but having a solid read on your brand’s perception in the marketplace will only strengthen future messaging and planning. When you’re ready to hit the ground running on 2021 marketing, we’re ready to help. Schedule a video call with Vince to get started.



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