Normally, marketers have a pretty clear idea of what works for their organization. They might tinker with channels or messages or offers, but there are certain fundamentals they can always rely on.
But this is not a normal time.
That’s one reason why COVID-19 has been so difficult for marketers to adapt to. Not only are we dealing with increased pressure on our teams and budgets, we’re also a little disoriented because so much of what we usually know and do has been thrown out the window.
Specifically, COVID-19 has undermined three essential elements of a typical marketing strategy.
- What we’re marketing may have changed. Some products could be difficult or even impossible to sell right now depending on shut-down orders or supply-chain constraints.
- Where we market may have changed. Because most states are under quarantine or stay-at-home orders, some channels (like live events, radio or OOH) may not reach the same audience they did before. Others may struggle because some of their best content, whether that’s baseball games or TV dramas, has gone dark.
- How we talk to audiences may have changed: We can’t use the same messages that we did previously. There’s a real danger of appearing insensitive to the worries and fears that people are feeling now, both for their health and their finances.
And those are just the things we know about. Because the pandemic’s impact has been so widespread, there may be other problems that marketers aren’t even aware of. That’s why marketing teams need to lean on analytics. It can give you the insight necessary to make good decisions, especially when it isn’t immediately clear what the right decision is.
Here are three ways you can use analytics to adapt your marketing strategy to this moment.
Use rapid reporting to understand what’s happening right now and what your target audience wants.
Automating your reporting — i.e. having your performance data feed automatically into a marketing dashboard or some other constantly updated report — allows you to see what’s happening as soon as possible. You can instantly tell how your campaigns are performing today, not next week or next month, when it’ll be too late. (Bonus points if you’ve set up your dashboard to compare results against your historical performance. )
Reporting on your website performance is going to be key right now. You need to get a good sense of what pages and content your visitors are seeking out. That reporting is a valuable clue about the products that people want to buy or the questions they may have. That, in turn, can guide your marketing and merchandising decisions.
And look at data that shows you what’s happening in the broader world. A social listening tool, or even just keyword trends from Google, can broaden your perspective.
Use attribution modeling to identify where you should market right now.
Attribution connects conversions, leads and sales to the marketing activities that produced them, allowing you to invest your budget and time in the channels with the greatest ROI.
And that’s information that marketers must have if their usual No. 1 channels, like radio or live events, are underperforming because of coronavirus. Attribution can help you find a replacement that’s a better fit for the current circumstances.
There are several attribution models — some of them, like last-click attribution, are pretty easy to implement. You simply look at the last thing that your visitor clicked before visiting your website or making a purchase. You may find that more sophisticated models, like data-driven attribution, can show how multiple touches and channels combined to drive activity, giving you a more complete portrait of how your marketing is working and where you should direct spend.
Use reporting and attribution to see how to move forward.
Once you access the insight that reporting and attribution provide, you’ve got the ability to quickly plan, run and review campaigns — and then use that knowledge to plan, run and review the next campaign, and again and again. And that’s what marketing analytics is: using performance data to decide how to move forward.
Maybe you decide to replace one of your previously best-performing channels, radio, with Over The Top (OTT) because more people are streaming TV while they’re stuck at home. Not only do your OTT messages get a lot of engagement, you start to pair them with geofenced offers. You constantly revise and refine your tactics so you can not only survive the current situation, but thrive.
It’s a crazy season, but fortunately, it won’t last forever. Until that time, analytics can deliver the guidance you need to act with confidence.
Take the Next Step
Alight Analytics is offering 90 days of analytics free to new clients now through May 31, 2020. Get the data you need to align and optimize your marketing and sales efforts. Schedule a consultation with Alight Analytics today.