To mark the launch of our new manifesto – setting out The Drum’s editorial mission to help readers solve their problems – we’re christening today Solutions Day on thedrum.com. And to set the tone, over the course of 24 hours our team of worldwide journalists will be spotlighting 24 recent examples of times when our industry demonstrated its remarkable talent for solving problems.

Problem: Predicated by Covid-19, most major global markets are facing a downturn and consumer confidence has hit an all-time low. So, what practical steps should brands, and their agencies, take in the face of what might just be the deepest economic crisis in history?

Solution: Marketers need to do less, better and use the data at their fingertips to inform a strategy that support consumers in a challenging time. 

Analysts and experts to assess the practical steps the ad industry can take in a downturn – whether they're based in Singapore, Seattle or Southbank. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Marketers need to remain calm and use the data at their fingertips to track (and respond to) changing consumer behaviour very closely. What they shouldn’t do is get caught in the trap of expecting consumer spend to remain moribund: if they do, they'll miss out on the falling cost of media and higher-than-normal engagement from customers stuck at home.

  • Brands need to build a “priority matrix” that will allow them to rank their ad spend based on actions that are either strategically important, financially important or both.  This will make budgets work harder on the right brand activities. 

  • Learning from past, and recent, recessions, businesses that innovate out of a recession by focusing on consumers will be the dominant brands of tomorrow.

  • Tech investment needs to remain steady in line with this, with the experts arguing that this turbulent climate has accelerated the need for organisations to shift towards digital-first models. This must continue at a fast pace if they are to survive a double dip.

Oscar Orozco, senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer, argues that history has repeatedly shown that brands who continue to sustain their marketing efforts through an economic downturn, yield higher ROI in the long-term.

“Considering current economic woes are brought on by a global pandemic, we can expect the bounce-back to be even stronger than we have seen in the past.

"With digital transformation accelerating across all verticals, marketers should shift budgets to performance marketing formats, and focus on mid and lower funnel campaigns and conversions.

“Restrategising and concentrating on attribution will lead to a faster rebound when the economic situation normalises.”

Read more Problem Solved articles in our Solutions Day hub.

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