How to Adapt Your Marketing in a Crisis and Beyond

April 9, 2020

Businesses are facing unprecedented disruption as the world reels from the impacts of the current health crisis. Leaders are pushed to make tough decisions as they look to survive a potentially lengthy downturn. But the companies that will find opportunities to come out of this situation even stronger will have one thing in common: they will use data to make long-term decisions rather than reacting to the immediate circumstance.


In our recent webinar, we leveraged nearly 2 decades of collected insights within our ROI Genome data to illustrate how companies should plan for the future in the present disruptive moment. Future-Proof Your Market Position: Rethinking Marketing Strategy in Turbulent Times covered the three main stages of market disruption: crisis, stabilization and revitalization, and how brands can tackle the challenge of each stage with an eye on better preparing themselves for tomorrow.



The Crisis Stage

The crisis stage brings high levels of uncertainty, with new information appearing weekly, daily or even hourly. It’s a time of high volatility, with extreme measures being taken. There are 4 key considerations to keep in mind during this stage:


  • Plan regionally. No two regions are sharing the exact same experience right now.
  • Manage the message for contextual appropriateness. Right now, the key focus should be on humanity, along with being helpful. Brands should make sure that all messaging and visuals are contextually relevant with an authentic, genuine tone.
  • Reset your media mix. Brands should consider re-directing funds from unavailable channels to other channels that may still capture the same audience.
  • Make adjustments based on your own supply and demands. In a crisis, there can be disruptions to the supply chain, spikes in demand and variation in availability. If supply is inefficient, brands need to consider guiding customers to alternative products.


The Stabilization Stage

This stage may come in waves and is characterized by an adjustment to “new norms”, slower pace of new information, and more knowns than unknowns. The stabilization stage comes with two critical points of leadership:


  • Intervene, but don’t overreact.  Media cuts carry large financial implications. According to our ROI Genome research, a brand that reduces its media spend in 2020 by $50MM will stand to lose $130MM in revenue in 2020 alone.
  • Invest in brand equity messaging.  Based on what we’ve uncovered through our ROI Genome research, brand equity and messaging that focuses on the values of a brand outperform product, promotion or functionality messaging 80% of the time.


The Revitalization Stage

This stage is characterized by an ongoing period of movement toward economic recovery, and eventual economic vitality. Brands should be preparing for this stage even as they move through crisis and stabilization, and it’s important to consider that the revitalization stage may still go hand-in-hand with recovery challenges. In this stage, three things are critical:


  • Simulate possible outcomes via scenario planning. Scenario planning can help provide today’s data-driven decisions that predict tomorrow’s best outcomes.
  • Consider competitive implications and war-gaming. Smart brands are always considering competitors in their planning and considering moves they may be taking so that counter-steps can be made now in order to reach the desired outcomes such as revenue goals or maintaining market share.
  • Re-balance and be prepared to adjust your marketing mix quickly. Adjust to the settled new norms and re-balance marketing to be in tune with emerging demand trends. Use and revise your Revitalization Phase playbooks to ultimately adapt, evolve and thrive.


When we come through this current crisis, we will likely see a world changed. By adapting and evolving through these stages, businesses can set themselves up to thrive.


To get a deeper dive into the stages discussed above, access a recording of the Future-Proof Your Market Position: Rethinking Marketing Strategy in Turbulent Times webinar here.



Webinar: Future-Proofing Your Market Position

In this webinar, we take a deep dive into how brands should be planning, both in the present disruptive moment and for the future.

Watch now