How are SEA marketers adapting to the crisis?
We conducted a survey of over 200 ADA clients
(representing mid-large brands across a variety of
consumer-focused industries throughout Southeast
Asia and South Asia) in early May 2020. They told us:
- Nearly 50% of Southeast Asian marketers plan to
scale down their marketing budget
- Roughly 24% plan to continue spending the same
- Another 24% haven’t decided how to adjust their
budget as a response to this pandemic
- A tiny 2% plan to increase their spends to make up
for lost business.
Respondents also told us that a majority of them will
shift their focus to digital channels. Hardly surprising
as digital is considered more budget-friendly than
above-the-line channels, and because of the lack of
availability in linear TV inventory such as sports.
reflect new goals and priorities:
- New customer acquisition remains at the top of
priorities, both pre and post-COVID.
- However, the biggest shift is now seen in customer
insights which has the next highest increase in
important. The substantial increase to refocus on
customer insights reflects marketers’ desire to learn
how consumers are shifting behaviours because of
the pandemic, and how to retool their existing
- Attribution comes up next as many marketers are
more conscious about eliminating waste on
advertising channels and audience segments that are
no longer producing results.
Should I cut my budget?
For those who are still on the fence about cutting their budget as a response to the pandemic, the following matrix can act as a decision-making tool. It’s important to note that this isn’t an exhaustive matrix, and you should take into account your own businesses’ specific circumstances when plotting where you stand here.
The matrix (figure 2) looks at both the ability to serve, against consumer demand; where ability to serve is defined as your ability to serve your consumers despite the pandemic and whether your consumers still have the demand product/service.
For example, if you are in the aviation industry, your ability to serve is almost none since most airports are locked down, and demand for it is also rock bottom because of travel restrictions imposed by most governments.
On the flipside, if you are in the e-commerce business, your ability to serve is not hampered because of pandemic related restrictions and the demand has gone up because people are reluctant to buy through brick and mortar outlets.
Why Indiscriminate Budget Cuts are a Bad Idea?
Wherever you fall on the matrix above, it’s likely you’ll to deal with some form of marketing budget cut. The first instinct for marketers and their CEOs or CFOs is to make indiscriminate budget cuts across the board. This is the most common approach because it requires the least amount of cognitive strain.
But it is important to remember that not all areas of our marketing budget have the same impact. Making indiscriminate budget cuts across the board might result in short term savings, but could harm your brand in the long run. The figure below shows how indiscriminate budget cuts would reflect across a wide range of your marketing activity.
Watch our webinar “Planning Your Marketing in Uncertain Times: Adapt and Retool for the New World” to understand how and where to make strategic budget cuts that still help you meet our goals. Or read our complete white paper here.
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