“We’re seeing . . . that a lot of brands are doing things that they have never done before, and that’s actually what is working,” Kaitlin McGrew, SEM strategist at PMG, said during our digital commerce marketing session of Live with Search Engine Land, adding that she has been witnessing brands offer deeper discounts on products that typically don’t get marked down to help bring key performance indicators close to their normal levels.
Fashion accessory brand Groove Life also took an approach that is counter to what many marketers might be considering these days: “We were like, ‘Well, we’ve got this creative, we’re planning on doing a sale anyway, so let’s just roll this out,’ and it performed phenomenally, so it was interesting to see that even a new thing that we’d never really tested actually performed really, really well,” said the company’s CMO, Bryant Garvin.
“We’ve been cautiously trying to figure out how to maintain a relatively solid [marketing] spend,” Tony Verre, vice president of e-commerce at The Integer Group, said of the direction he’s steering clients, “just enough so that we keep visibility in front, in combination with that new messaging.” The Integer Group’s own internal research has found that brands that “go dark” with their marketing efforts during recessions have a more difficult time ramping back up once the economy stabilizes.
Why we care. COVID-19 has disrupted some of the assumptions and patterns that many marketing strategies are built on. While many marketing fundamentals remain the same, they are now weighted differently: for example, tone and messaging have always been a consideration, but audiences are likely to be more sensitive to them now.
Consumer behaviors are continuing to evolve rapidly as the situation changes, so what worked last year, or even last week, might not work this week. Digital commerce marketers need to continuously evaluate their data and experiment with new approaches to identify what opportunities are out there. While the pre-pandemic marketing playbook may still prove useful, it should not dictate your strategies in this time of upheaval.
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