NEW YORK, United States — The coronavirus outbreak upended the global fashion industry, resulting in bankruptcies, widespread furloughs and layoffs and in an attempt to cut costs many companies slashed their marketing budgets, but as e-commerce sales surge brands are asking where they should spend their marketing dollars right now and in the year ahead.
To help shed light on this topic, BoF’s News and Features Editor Brian Baskin was joined by correspondents Chavie Lieber and Alexandra Mondalek in our #BoFLIVE event.
“Many brands right at the start of the pandemic… cut their marketing budgets practically to zero. It was just the easiest expense to go when sales started to drop when lockdowns were kicking in,” Baskin said. “At the same time e-commerce was still up and running for most companies… [and] I think everyone pretty much realised… ‘We need sales more than ever right now, we need new customers, we need marketing.’”
During this time of unprecedented uncertainty, brands are asking themselves, what are the options?
Billboards and Online Advertising
For brands reassessing their marketing strategies, now is the best time to seize more bang for your advertising buck. Prices across various marketing channels, from billboards to social media ads, are falling. For example, rates for ads on Google search results, Facebook and Instagram have fallen by 25 to 35 percent, according to data from brand performance firm Within. But when it comes to traditional advertising channels like billboards and securing a lower rate, Mondalek cautioned brands to “think about it in a different way that really speaks to the time we’re living versus just plastering a spring 2020 ad campaign up.”
A notable example is Coach who partnered with the Instagram account We’re Not Really Strangers, which posts inspiring messages, on a painted billboard in Manhattan to boost spirits.
Mondalek also encourages brands to utilise free resources like Within, which is a brand performance marketing agency. They have this thing called Retail Pulse, which is updated daily or every other day, and provides information on costs of purchasing advertising on different channels like Facebook or Google and provides an analysis on this on a daily basis
Although brands like Macy’s, Ulta, Dillard’s and TJ Maxx are pausing their affiliate marketing programs to mitigate financial losses caused by the virus, and influencers have seen sponsorships deals disappear overnight, the era of influencer marketing lives on, according to Lieber because now more than ever people are glued to their phones.
“For certain influencers who really have a deep following, people are looking to them for content, for comfort, for entertainment… so the connections are really stronger now than ever,” she said. “The influencer industry is not going anywhere, it’s still very strong, but there are major shifts happening.”
Right now, influencer rates are lower and many are offering more cross-platform promotion, said Lieber. “For a brand who was maybe a bit worried about spending all of their money on influencers could probably get more bang for their buck right now because the influencer… will probably negotiate with you right now because the deals are not where they used to be.”
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