Marketing effectiveness in an uncertain world

Claudia Sestini

Claudia Sestini

Global CMO

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Uncertain times require marketers to make confident, robust and data-informed decisions to survive and prosper. I sat down with Gain Theory Managing Partners Jon Webb and Matt Chappell to discuss three questions marketers have been asking us on this topic.

You can read or watch Jon’s and Matt’s answers below, which are part of a wider series of videos we have produced on the topic of marketing in uncertain times.

1. What questions should marketers be asking themselves?

When demand, distribution, supply, product and service availability are being impacted by events outside of their control, it’s an understandably stressful time for marketers.

Key takeaways:

  • Marketers should think beyond marketing and consider the impact of uncertainty on the entire company – sit down with finance, work out cash flow status, and debate whether it makes sense to advertise.
  • It’s important to how future economic scenarios might impact the business.
  • Context is key. Understand where your brand is, what it promises, what your brand values are, and where you want your brand to be in 3 months, 6 months, 1 year. Then work backwards from there.

2. What’s the impact of stopping advertising or curtailing specific campaigns?

Brands that increase or maintain spend during tough times can often improve their market share and ROI at a lower cost after a crisis than if they stopped advertising altogether.

Key takeaways:

  • Frame your thinking in terms of short-, medium-, and long-term measurement.
  • There are three reasons why advertising is important during uncertainty:
    1. Habits can change when there are big shifts in consumer lifestyle or life stages – people get married or have children, for example, and it can be a great time to target them.
    2. As per Thinkbox research, advertising has twice as much effect in the long term as it does in the short term. That impact will either be there if you advertise, or it won’t if you don’t.
    3. Think about the potential loss of your share of market or share of voice if your competitors are advertising.

3. What media channels marketers should pull budget from first when trying to reduce spend?

While some businesses may have no choice but to reduce their marketing budget to save the business, those that can invest in marketing should optimize media budgets.

Key takeaways:

  • Start by defining your KPIs. Instead of having multiple KPIs per campaign, focus on one.
  • Understand what your audience looks like and how to reach them. Are they existing or new customers? Existing customers can be reached through CRM, while broadcast is often the most efficient way to reach new customers.
  • Most customers can be reached through TV. Communicating a strong upper-funnel message and the overall saliency of the brand are key considerations.
  • PPC is great for lower funnel. For retailers pivoting to an online model, PPC is vital.

Ask the experts

Watch more videos from the Gain Theory team about marketing effectiveness in uncertain times. Our Ask the Experts series covers topics including:

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