By Lindsay Motta9/10/2020

How to do More with a Shrinking Budget

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As brands continue to face several challenges this year, including the unknowns surrounding the pandemic and the election, many marketers and categories also face the added challenge of operating under tighter budgets.  

For those struggling, the initial reaction may be to reduce or cut advertising for the remainder of 2020, but doing so could drastically impact a brand’s success in the long term.  An article from ClickZ reports slowing advertising efforts now could diminish a brand’s overall impact and messaging could be less effective once marketing efforts ramp back up, leading to an 11% revenue decrease in 2021.  

It’s not only about identifying strategies that will help in surviving the current state of the market, but also staying competitive and setting your brand up for success well into the future.  

To do this, brands need to market smarter, but how?  

1. Take Advantage of Changing Habits and Media Consumption: Media consumption has seen a dynamic shift this year, as most people have adopted some form of stay-at-home living. According to Nielsen, media consumption has gone up significantlyat the height of the stay-at-home orders in mid-March, television usage was up 18% and social media app usage increased by 17% compared with early March.  

Now more than ever, it’s important to keep a pulse on where your target audience is spending their time and then meet them thereThis could mean revisiting traditional TV inventory, testing streaming services and connected TV opportunities, or investing more heavily in digital efforts such as social media and search.  

Our Media and Planning teams can identify your audience’s changing habits and current media consumption as a guide to determine distribution channelsOur proprietary customer conversation tool I.S.A.C.C. can help you show up in those channels with captivating messaging relatable to their current day-to-day will help drive awareness, consideration, and ultimately, purchases. 

2. Leverage Testing and Analytics Tools: Making the most of limited budgets requires a strong measurement program and tools (i.e. tracking pixels, Google Tags Manager, location tracking, and social listening) in place to ensure your investment is directly increasing sales.  

Some CPG brands such as kids’ snack brands, may have seen a decrease in sales with schools going remoteIn these cases, it’s important to frequently leverage real-time data dating back to the start of the pandemic to efficiently optimize the way they reach new, lapsed and at-risk consumers. Doing so will allow them to respond to changes created as new consumer habits are formed.  

Other CPG brands, such as toilet paper or cleaning products, have seen a surge in sales resulting from the pandemic to the point where they can barely keep certain products on shelf. While the increase in sales and high demand may seem like a win, leveraging social media listening data is imperative for them to understand the sentiment around their brand as consumers may not be able to purchase the products, volume of conversation around supply chain issues, and whether the low inventory is causing consumers to switch brands 

Having the right analytics program and measurement tools in place allows CPG brands to develop impactful campaigns that maximize available resources – without wasting them. By staying on top of a how your brand is performing, you’re able to easily identify new opportunities or react quickly to market changes, such as consumer behavioral shifts, supply chain issues or retailer challenges, to adjust your strategy.  

 3. Leverage Influencers to Fulfill Content Needs: At the height of the pandemic, brands had to get creative to produce content due to temporary closures and heavy restrictions regarding social distancingWhile traditional on-set productions are starting to ramp back up, they come with a higher cost both in time and price tag due to the ongoing restrictions surrounding COVID-19. With tighter budgets in place, brands are looking for alternative ways to offset a potential content drought.  

 Enter influencers. With the proper vetting and brief in place, influencers can create content on your brand’s behalf, distributing it to their highly engaged follower base. Additionally, brands have the opportunity to own and re-purpose those assets as they wish across their owned channels – creating digital, social media and TV ads at a more efficient cost. 

 Even before the pandemic, CPG brands were testing this strategy. One great example of this is Pine-Sol. While the brand was a category leader, they felt they needed a fresh look to appeal to younger demographics who were entering the home renting/buying phase in their life. They started with an insight that stemmed from consumer data and social listening  consumers still clean on Saturdays, listening to music and dancing along in order to make it more enjoyable. They came up with the campaign “Clean Your Way” and partnered with known dancing and lifestyle influencers Inanna Sarkis and Tianne and Heaven to brand relevancy and consideration. Inanna’s video launched first, resulting in 1.3MM video views in 72 hours and a 40% increase in website traffic to Pine-sol’s site. 

Overall, brands who commit now to being strategic about their budgets while weathering the storm are setting themselves up for success, including maintaining a hold on their brand awareness, market share and securing their place with consumers for the long term.