90% of marketers are now changing their marketing approach, and 68% have also pulled advertising campaigns due to COVID 19, according to new research.

Two thirds of brands have pulled marketing campaigns due to COVID-19- report

A recent survey by Sixieme Son and DiSanti Hicks found that brand marketers are adjusting their messaging to make sure the tone is right, and are now forced to think of new ways to reach consumers.

How brand marketers respond to the crisis during the pandemic will make a difference in how the brand is perceived in the long-term. The survey shows that brand marketers are prepared and are making changes accordingly. The study found that:

• 62% of marketers are evaluating brand position amid COVID 19
• Over 50% of marketers surveyed said that COVID 19 has led to lower marketing budgets; more than one third said they have fewer external resources; and almost another third has fewer staff members.
• Alignment with COVID 19 news is the most prominent reason for pulling creative, followed by budget cuts and potential insensitivities. Also, almost 1 in 5 respondents pulled creative due to the tone not being right at this point in time.
• Over 50% of those who have pulled ads cited pulling social media ads; 42% have pulled print ads; with another 42% pulling TV ads; and 36% have pulled digital ads.

Fewer resources – led by lowered budgets – are the major ramification that marketing departments are faced with in today’s pandemic environment. Over 50% of marketers surveyed said that Covid-19 has led to lower marketing budgets; more than one third said they have fewer external resources; and almost another third have fewer staff members.

For nearly 90% of respondents, COVID 19 has changed their approach to marketing. The majority of marketing directors and above (68%) have pulled advertising campaigns due to COVID 19. When asked as to what types of ads they have pulled, over 50% of those who have pulled ads cited pulling social media ads; 42% have pulled print ads; with another 42% pulling TV ads; and 36% have pulled digital ads.

Alignment with COVID 19 news is the most prominent reason for pulling creative, followed by budget cuts and potential insensitivities. Also, almost 1 in 5 respondents pulled creative due to the tone not being right at this point in time. Twenty-three percent said they pulled creative because budgets were cut; and 21% felt their creative could be considered insensitive.

Almost 9 in 10 respondents also state they will make at least some changes to their marketing creative. About half of those looking to make a change to their creative wish to change the tone of their advertising. Similarly, 48% are creating COVID 19 specific advertising.

Among these marketers, about half are considering a change to the tone of their advertising and nearly half are considering new creative that is COVID 19 specific.(Repeat of the above sentence. Either one will work.) Just 9% said that they are not rethinking their advertising creative. Tone changes to advertising are most likely to be community-related or will include “empathy.”

"The striking aspect of this study is the huge proportion of these marketers (62%) who intend to reposition their brands. They'll be trending a fine balance between being too sensitive or nostalgic and being too upbeat or sugary,” said Michael Boumendil, co-founder & president, Sixieme Son. “Finding the right words, images and tone will require marketing deftness and emotional decency."

The vast majority of marketers surveyed (84%) are optimistic about their business improving in the future, and for most of them, they predict it will likely occur within three months to one year (75%).

“It’s no surprise that COVID 19 has spread to impact marketers from almost all categories. With 9 in 10 marketers changing their approach to marketing due to this pandemic situation, we are looking at one more way this virus is impacting our lives even beyond health.”

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