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How to Plan and Optimize Your Media Strategy in Times of Crisis

Kayla Hammersmith Senior Content Marketing Manager, DialogTech

With CPCs and CPMs lower than they’ve been in years and consumers engaging with content more than ever before, now is the time to invest in media. Of course, that doesn’t mean what worked well for your brand before the COVID-19 crisis will be successful now.

In the grand finale of our Mission-Critical Marketing series, Jeff Campbell, Executive Vice President of Resolution, and Dave McAnally, VP of Marketing at DialogTech provided tips on how to plan and optimize your media strategy in these unprecedented times.

In addition to talking about how to activate your media plan right now, Jeff, Dave, and moderator, DialogTech’s Director of Agency Partnerships Laura Cook, chatted about how they’re staying active at home. Jeff’s go-to is heading outside (once, he hiked, kayaked, and biked all in one day!), Dave’s new basketball hoop is keeping him and his family busy, and Laura’s puppy is making it easy for her to up her step count.

If you want to step up your media strategy with all the wisdom from Jeff and Dave, watch the full on-demand webinar. For the biggest insights into trends to watch, pitfalls to avoid, and how to approach turning media back on, keep reading.

The Media Landscape Trends to Watch

At Resolution, Jeff works with some of the biggest advertisers in the world. In early March, once the NBA canceled their season and Tom Hanks announced he tested positive for coronavirus, Jeff saw media spend quickly decline.

Now that we’re a few months into the COVID-19 crisis, things are shifting.

Right now, Jeff noted four major trends:

  1. Businesses have slowed or paused ad spend to reevaluate their strategy
  2. Content consumption patterns have shifted as consumers adjust to a lifestyle at home; media usage across all channels is up
  3. New patterns in video consumption have emerged with the absence of live sports and other forms of tentpole entertainment
  4. There is a dramatic increase in media inventory and ad availability

These four trends lay the groundwork for what Jeff expects to see in the near future. With lower media prices, more inventory available, and more consumers online, he anticipates seeing more brands start advertising up again — especially with the Memorial Day sales coming up.

The Pitfalls Brands Should Avoid

According to Jeff, the biggest pitfall to avoid is looking at traditional measurement metrics. Brands shouldn’t expect to achieve what they did last year because of the drastic change in the economic climate. Instead, you need to adjust your metrics to consider how quickly things are shifting.

In addition to being flexible, brands should also avoid making wide cuts without looking at the data. Jeff has seen many brands cut display and programmatic advertising right away, but that’s not necessarily the right approach. Since these channels are growth areas and costs have fallen, they can still be part of your brand’s media strategy if you have the budget. Use a scalpel when looking for efficiencies so you can be more targeted in where you make cuts and where you invest.

Ultimately, Jeff advised brands to tread carefully but don’t hide. With prices dropping and more inventory available, now is a time to experiment.

The Role of the Phone Call is Changing — and Why First-Party Data Is Key

Because customers are online more than ever but in-person behavior is still limited, the relationship between the online and offline consumer journey has changed. Some conversations or purchases that might typically take place in person have shifted to the phone.

With more consumers calling about business hours and product or service availability, Dave advised businesses to ensure their telephony system provides key information to consumers as easily as possible and makes it easy for the right agents to answer calls quickly.

Plus, these phone calls are an important source of first-party data.

Now is the time to invest in leveraging your own data, so make sure tap into the rich insights from the voice of your customers with a call analytics platform.

How to Approach Turning Media Back On

If you’re one of the many brands who paused or slowed media spend when the COVID-19 crisis ramped up, this advice is for you.

Dave emphasized the importance of being agile and targeted when turning channels back on. Look at which audience segments are starting to convert and what channels they’re coming from. Get surgical with your approach and define which audiences and platforms are performing well for you, then start ramping media up there.

Jeff recommended first revisiting your paid search campaigns. Searchers are hand-raisers who are already looking for brands like you, so if you paused paid search then that’s the first channel to consider turning on.

For more insights into how brands can restart their media spend, watch the on-demand video, Planning and Optimizing Your Media Strategy in Times of Crisis.

For more wisdom from leading marketers on how to adapt for the COVID-19 crisis, explore our full Mission-Critical Marketing on-demand series. Featuring experts from Yext,, and Raare Solutions, you’ll learn best practices on how to pivot your brand messaging, search marketing, and media strategy for current events.

Check It Out