Marketing in the Era of Coronavirus

There will be many times of uncertainty in every marketer’s career. From new competitive threats and industry shake-ups, to product shortcomings and internal politics, we’ve all faced or will face situations that are unfamiliar and that can’t be resolved based solely on our experience and instinct.

Perhaps no time of uncertainty will ever have the global reach of today’s Coronavirus pandemic. I hope not. This is beyond our wildest fears and hits us at both a personal and a business level. Everything has changed and is continuing to change. The phrase, “anything-but-normal” has popped up as a reflection of our country’s attitude. As marketers, the way we conveyed our brands yesterday simply may not be the way we need to do it today. Experience and instinct seem less important than creativity and invention.

How we would like to help

Yesterday, we announced a program to help assess your current marketing efforts. Marketing attribution offers a unique ability here in terms of quickly gathering data about the effectiveness of various campaigns in terms of generating conversions, thus revenue, for your business. Our idea is to “plug in” our Universal Conversion Tracking Pixel to your website, take some readings for a few weeks, and then summarize what we find out along with a few recommendations. There’s no charge for this service… it’s totally and completely complimentary. We want to help using the tools we know best, and in this time of great uncertainty, I hope this can make a difference.

Do digital ads still work?

We’ve also taken a look across the base of LeadsRx accounts to see if we can glean any insights at an aggregate level that could help you in your marketing efforts. For example, we found that average daily ad clicks on Google and Facebook are down about 27% over the weeks since March 1 compared to the two months prior. We looked at about 100 of our customers that were advertising on these mediums.

Does this mean Google and Facebook are bad investments? Not necessarily. Here’s an article posted in The New York Times that shows how “Millions of Americans are rediscovering Facebook…” during this time of isolation and working from home. A craving for current news on Coronavirus is driving users to their Facebook feeds, and this could mean opportunity for the right kind of marketing.

But in another article here by WordStream, research found conversion rates have dropped by an average of 21% for paid search ads on Google. While that sounds horrible on the surface, the research goes on to find a double-digit increase on conversion rates for non-profits and charities.

My point here is that it’s time to be much more analytic and thoughtful with your marketing approach. You may have thought of Google and Facebook as great sources of new business in the past, and your instinct has developed over the years to know just how to “tweak” the systems to get really great conversion rates. But today is different, and in the spirit of “anything-but-normal”, it’s time to let analytics guide you through these now turbulent times.

Radio is still a great buy

Here’s another interesting insight we recently found in the world of radio advertising and it’s potential effectiveness. While broadcast ads may sound “old school” to some of you, the truth is this can be an incredibly important medium to consider. Research giant Nielsen just released new data indicating that 83% of American adults are spending the same or more time with radio as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Their report also found that 60% of adults trust radio to give timely information about Coronavirus.

Our own research here at LeadsRx found radio advertisers with a modest schedule of just 10 commercials per day are seeing a 17% increase in visitors per spot to their website. We feel this is quite significant, particularly in light of the reduced ad clicks we saw on Facebook and Google. For some businesses, radio listeners may be an audience you’ll want to attract as more and more individuals seek out timely information from trusted sources.

Let’s all be creative

The bottom line here is to leave pessimism and optimism behind and to start thinking outside the box of experience and instinct. Use analytics as the basis of establishing a new direction and a fresh approach. Don’t view the glass as half empty or half full… find a better fitting glass.