The Era of Adaptation: Why—and how—brands must evolve strategies in wake of COVID-19

by | Apr 13, 2021 | Covid-19, Public Relations

How are marketers and communicators revamping their strategies after facing and mitigating the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic? New research from Nielsen finds that while marketers at organizations of all sizes rank customer acquisition as their top objective in 2021, smaller companies are more focused on customer retention than large companies. Nevertheless, to achieve both of those goals, social media, search and video rank as the top channels companies will invest in over the next 12 months—but they need to go beyond only these channels to acquire and retain customers.

The Era of Adaptation: Why—and how—brands must evolve strategies in wake of COVID-19

As marketing and advertising programs rebound, brands need to be intentional about which strategies and tactics they deploy to consumers, whose habits and preferences continue to shift, Nielsen reveals in its Annual Marketing Report: The Era of Adaptation. But for companies of all sizes, awareness around which channels and platforms to consider, including which approaches to take, vary greatly.

The Era of Adaptation: Why—and how—brands must evolve strategies in wake of COVID-19

“The pandemic exponentially challenged marketers, requiring them to take a hard look at the strategies they’ve historically used to reach audiences across the consumer journey and to adapt and redefine those decisions with data,” said Jamie Moldafsky, chief marketing and communications officer at Nielsen, in a news release. “As brands of all sizes chart their paths forward, the ability to access data and marketing analytics tools with speed and quality will be key to both navigating the follow-on effects of COVID-19 as well as establishing a more agile approach to future shifts in consumer preferences and emerging channels.”

The Era of Adaptation: Why—and how—brands must evolve strategies in wake of COVID-19

Marketing analytics tools are critical to ensuring marketing spend is well allocated

This is especially true as cookies go away. The data showed that three out of four advertisers are unsure about how to accurately measure ROI. Fortunately, many modern marketing tools are no longer out of reach for small- and mid-sized companies. That’s a key change, notable for two reasons: enterprise solutions have historically been too expensive for smaller companies, and smaller companies feel the pinch of budget cutbacks more severely than larger ones.

The Era of Adaptation: Why—and how—brands must evolve strategies in wake of COVID-19

Regardless of budget size, marketers struggle with data quality and accuracy

Although companies with smaller budgets find it less problematic, all brands should have maximum confidence in their data quality with the importance of person-level connections rising. In fact, 86 percent of marketers from companies of all sizes recognize the importance of first-party data, despite their lack of confidence in their data overall.

The Era of Adaptation: Why—and how—brands must evolve strategies in wake of COVID-19

Connected TV (CTV) and addressable measurement present a wealth of new opportunities for marketers

But internal knowledge gaps about the newness and nuanced nature of CTV rank highest among the challenges marketers face in implementing CTV into their marketing mix.

Omnichannel goes beyond the point of purchase

As consumers now use digital channels for more than just making purchases, marketers are modifying their omnichannel strategies to create a holistic experience for consumers, not just moving them to the point of purchase on a select few channels.

The Era of Adaptation: Why—and how—brands must evolve strategies in wake of COVID-19

Download the full report here.

This research is based on a Nielsen survey with marketers at more than 250 U.S. brands with marketing budgets spanning from less than $1 million to over $10 million.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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