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Advertising in the age of COVID-19 can feel, well, much like the pandemic itself­­­­––a bit frightening and confusing. Perhaps your business is limping along due to the months-long shutdown, making your advertising budget feel even tighter or, best case scenario, your company is status quo, but your marketing strategy must undergo a major overhaul to best reach your customers during this challenging time.

While things feel out of control at the moment, remember that YOU are in control of your business.

Here are some points to consider:

Whatever your advertising budget is, increase it.

While this wave of uncertainty may have you tempted to pull back on your ad budget, it’s in your best interest to maintain, or if possible––increase it. According to a recent Entrepreneur article, sitting idle is a huge mistake. The economy will boost at some point, and your business will be left behind if you’ve let the marketing ball drop. A recent study showed that many consumers find comfort in hearing from their favorite brands and businesses right now, granted it’s the right message. Keep reading for more on that topic.

Digital media is king right now.

If you’ve been considering making the jump from advertising in traditional media to digital, now’s the time. While traditional media formats such as magazines, newspapers, radio and TV, have long been on the decline, according to this article in Visual Capitalist, COVID-19 could spell the end for these platforms that once dominated ad budgets. In fact, spend across every type of traditional media format will see a decline in 2020, while most online media formats are expected to see an increase in spending. As consumers spend more time at home during this pandemic, media spending is reflecting their preferred consumption platforms, which include social media, online video, online display and search.

Send a message of hope and help.

In addition to potentially making major shifts in where you most effectively reach consumers during COVID-19, you will likely also need to rethink how your message will best get through. An ongoing study conducted by Entrepreneur recently found that 76% of consumers have recently picked up new habits, behaviors and routines in the wake of COVID-19, so you will need to spend time––and likely some budget–– studying how your target market has changed. Need a good starting point? Fifty-six percent of consumers are happy to hear how brands are helping out communities in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey conducted by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) and real-time market research platform Suzy. Get creative and think about how your company can give back in some small way––whether it’s a donation to frontline workers or special pricing on a product or service that can improve people’s mental health and happiness during this challenging time.

Enlist an adaptive, full-service digital marketing firm.

Navigating advertising and marketing decisions in the age of COVID-19 requires agile thinking. Without having concrete answers on when this may come to an end––and what our “new normal” may look like coming out of it––it’s imperative that you have the right team in place, ready to pivot at any given moment. Consider working with a firm that offers full-service advertising and digital marketing capabilities, so you can easily make tweaks and shifts in ad buys and messaging at a moment’s notice.

No doubt this roller coaster of uncertainty will eventually come to an end, but an “all hands on deck” approach is critical to ensure the success and survival of your business.

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