2020 Marketing Story Is All About Pivoting
Way back in January – long before the world slowed to a crawl due to the COVID-19 pandemic – the marketing industry was booming. Many companies had determined their advertising plans before 2019 ever ended, and their new advertising campaigns were off and running when 2020 began.
Then came what many figured would be a small bump in the road – COVID-19. Little did we know all those months ago that the virus would actually be more like a treacherous pothole that nobody could figure out how to fix.
What did it mean for marketers? It meant they had to pivot in a big way. Many companies shifted their advertising dollars away from print and outdoor to digital and cut back their spending. They threw out their well-laid advertising plans and began trying to figure out what tone and message their marketing should reflect. Ads featuring big crowds and happy-go-lucky settings were gone, replaced by messages that focused on social awareness, authenticity, and comfort that better reflected the new norm and uncertain times we’ve all been experiencing.
And now? Eight months later, while the pandemic is still far from contained, advertising is beginning to change again. The country has started to open up slowly, and many marketing campaigns have reignited, albeit with a new look and attitude. The social distancing and “we’re all in this together” message will continue, but there’s now an effort to lighten up with many ads poking fun at Zoom meetings, too much togetherness, and the work from home situation.
With the holidays quickly approaching, advertising, particularly the time frame, will most certainly change for many big retailers. In the past, Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, signaled the unofficial start to Christmas shopping. This year, advertisers, who are expecting record online numbers, are chomping at the bit to serve up joyful, happy ads that will promote big sales that are likely to start this month and continue until Christmas.
The moral of the story? Brands that put forth positive, upbeat messages while also recognizing the virus’s challenges will be much more fruitful than those who have gone silent or haven’t kept pace with their messaging. History has proven that during challenging times the companies and brands that do the best job of pivoting while continuing to spend marketing dollars to get their message out there are the ones who not only survive but ultimately thrive.