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The World Changed. Your Marketing Didn’t.

Woman and her dog lounge with a laptop

On January 30, 2020, 593 days ago, the World Health Organization declared Coronavirus a.k.a. COVID-19 to be a global pandemic. As we rapidly approach the second anniversary of that fateful date, I find myself reflecting on how many different ways the world has changed. The pandemic has affected every single aspect of our lives, from how we work, to how we learn, to how we play. It’s affected how we shop, eat, travel, clean, and even socialize with one another.  We are spending less money on gas because many Americans continue to work from home. We are spending more money on just about everything else. We shop more online and less in stores. We eat more take out and dine in less. We stream movies instead of going to the cinema.

The list goes on and on. Consumer behaviors and consumer spending has been fundamentally disrupted.  Chances are your company had to “pivot” during the pandemic. You may have changed your products or services. You may have changed the delivery of those products and services. But did you change the way you market those products and services? Probably not. Most companies are still employing the same marketing strategies and tactics they were using in 2019.  Here’s some food for thought:

  • Daytime television audiences increased 28% in the first few months of the pandemic but primetime television audiences stayed flat. 
  • With no one in the stands, TV ratings for professional sports (football, basketball, baseball, etc.) actually dropped. 
  • Drive time radio audiences have fallen because less people are driving to work. 
  • Audiences for video streaming increased 71% last year. 
  • Adults today spend nearly 45 hours a week watching TV and online video, which is twice as much as 2019.

So as people’s lives were disrupted during the pandemic, their attention turned inward, with more people staring at TV, computer, and cell phone screens. As a result, Harvard Business Review reported that social media spending by businesses on FacebookInstagram, and YouTube increased from 13.3% of U.S marketing budgets in February to 23.2% a few months later in June — a whopping 74% increase. So what does this mean for you? The obvious answer is to buy stock in Google. Just kidding.

The nation’s biggest brands and the agencies that work with them shifted their media dollars to social and online to capture more eyeballs during the pandemic. This trend continues in 2021, and we’re monitoring these trends for 2022.

At Madison+Main, we advised our clients to do the same thing. And many of them are reaping the rewards. The lesson here is simple — marketing is about capturing attention and one of the fundamental rules is placing your media where people are paying attention. #BoldBrandsWin 

*Sources: StatisticaBBCNeilsen, and AdWeek.