The impact of Covid-19 on marketing & advertising by Chirag Patnaik

The Covid-19 crisis has spared none – society, economy, business and mankind are all trying to navigate through this difficult time, challenges, crisis and shocks. Several steps are taken by brands, big or small, to overcome the challenges, to reshape their businesses and plans. Chirag Patnaik penns down his thoughts and findings about the impact of the pandemic on marketing and advertising. 

The pandemic has resulted in changes to advertising, marketing, promotional and media spends, forcing businesses and brands to re-evaluate their thinking about current and future advertising and marketing campaigns to maintain a steady stream of income. While brands currently seek to strike the right tone with their customers, the future portends market alteration, increased competition and a demand for creative and aggressive marketing practices.

In these testing times, Indian brands have reshaped their advertisement campaigns to be relevant, timely and to be fitted with the challenging time where the market has shrunk to its lowest, buyers have restricted their purchases only to essential commodities and work from home has become a new normal.

We found that consumer goods and services marketers in general have increased their digital marketing spends due to the pandemic. With the consumer buying behaviour being impacted, it has led to more online sales and rapid digital transformation. 

The digital consumption among consumers has seen a remarkable increase in every sphere from streaming entertainment to online purchases. At the same time, brands have resorted to digital marketing to reach out to both new and existing customers, resulting in an increase in digital marketing campaigns to achieve enhanced sales.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, some segments like online brokerages have seen a surge in growth. This is primarily because people who are unemployed want to take a shot at day trading. Anecdotal conversations with promoters of such brokerages indicate phenomenal 40% MOM growth. 

Though the pandemic had had an adverse impact on the economy and businesses, some marketers credited the pandemic for accelerated digital transformation of their business processes. Quite a large number of brands increased their digital marketing spends and planned to up their ad spends on performance marketing channels. While some opted for alternative distribution channels and partnerships, and others focused on improvements in sales conversions.

A positive outcome for businesses during the  pandemic saw a large number of businesses agreeing to the growing importance of marketing as a function due to increased digital marketing activities for customer acquisition. 

However many marketers are sceptical to make their digital campaigns too dependent on Facebook, Google and Amazon while many are apprehensive about traffic quality and consequently brand safety of their digital campaigns.

Consumers are more sensitive and their consumption patterns have changed. The future is unpredictable for many who are struggling to survive and  there are no ‘one size fits all’ solutions available to the brands and the advertisers. Ad agencies should make the best effort to optimize the media consumption based on media habits, respect consumer sentiment and come up with ad campaigns that are sensitive, more meaningful and positive in their contents.

Read Also: Tips and Thoughts by Chirag Patnaik on Marketing

Another trend that we will see increasing over a period of time is the shift of the small entrepreneur to online and the rise of the home entrepreneur. This was a difficult thing to do for a long time mainly because of the logistics of setting up a shopfront, setting up payment gateways, local delivery etc. But with the rise and maturity of e-commerce platform services like Shopify coupled with the intra-city delivery capability of Dunzo, it is now incredibly easy for a small and even a home.

Crisis, they say, brings its own opportunities. Marketers need to keep their eyes open to them.