2020 Rebound Guide: How to Solve 7 Marketing Challenges in an Uncertain Economy

Inside Criteo's advertising guide, we help marketers solve their biggest challenges and adapt their strategy for the economic rebound.
Updated on September 26, 2023

This week, one epicenter of the coronavirus—New York City—enters phase two of its reopening, which means retail stores, restaurants, hair salons, and car dealerships can welcome customers again, but with certain safety measures. In other parts of the U.S. and around the world, businesses have been open for some time.

At the peak of the coronavirus outbreak, major parts of the global economy turned almost completely virtual. Today, the world is starting to look more like it did prior to the outbreak, but consumers aren’t going back to their old shopping habits overnight.

Criteo recently surveyed more than 13,000 consumers around the world and many said they plan to continue the online shopping habits they formed over the course of the outbreak. More than half (53%) said they discovered at least one form of online shopping during quarantine that they want to continue.1

Marketers have had to adapt quickly to these new consumer behaviors and put a larger focus on digital. As we see the beginnings of an economic rebound in many countries, how can marketers get ahead of the challenges coming next?

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Marketing in the Economic Rebound

At Criteo, we talk to marketers every day. We hear many of their challenges and help create advertising campaigns that can adapt to their new realities.

We wanted to share this knowledge with everyone, so we launched our new guide 2020 Rebound: 7 Advertising Strategies for the Social Distancing Economy. Inside, we took the most common business challenges we’ve heard and developed solutions that every marketer can put into practice today.

Below, read about every challenge and solution and download the full guide for detailed steps to launch every strategy.

7 Big Marketing Challenges & Solutions

Challenge #1: Reduced Advertising Budget

Challenge: Reduced Advertising Budget. Needless to say, a lot has changed since advertisers originally set their 2020 budgets and they need to do more with less. Whether it be working with shrinking spend or a smaller staff, advertisers still need to meet their goals and keep their businesses growing.

Solution: Focus on performance marketing.

Performance marketing allows you to work toward specific business goals while knowing exactly how you’re spending your marketing dollars and being able to measure the success of your campaigns.

When you can see clear results and understand the ROI of each campaign, you can then consolidate your spend on your best-performing marketing channels and stay focused on business growth.

Challenge #2: Store Closures

Challenge: Store Closures. During the peak of the coronavirus outbreak, many nonessential retailers closed their brick-and-mortar stores due to government regulations. That meant all sales shifted to digital and ecommerce had to be their main revenue-driver. Now some retailers are reopening stores, but with increased health and safety measures. But many consumers are still practicing social distancing, avoiding crowded stores, and doing most of their shopping online.

Solution: Leverage loyalty to your stores to drive sales across channels.

When retailers had to close their physical locations, many chose to redistribute budgets from stores and offline sales to online tactics and ecommerce. Depending on the locations of their stores, retailers can launch digital campaigns to keep their loyal in-store shoppers informed about reopenings and encourage them to purchase virtually in the meantime.

Challenge #3: Retail Partner Disruptions

Challenge: Retail Partner Disruptions. Brands that rely on their retail partners for in-store sales have a similar challenge to retailers: They want to reach their offline shoppers online while stores remain closed, or their in-store buyers prefer to shop online from home. However, most brands don’t have point-of-sale data, so there’s a different solution for them.

Solution: Invest in retail media, including native ads on retailer websites.

Retail media gives brands access to ads on the retailer sites they already sell on, reaching consumers while they’re actively shopping and ready to buy.

With the surge of browsing and buying online, retail media helps brands gain prominence on the digital shelf—whether that’s the retailer’s website homepage, a search page, or a product description page.

Challenge #4: New Customer Acquisition

Challenge: New Customer Acquisition. The social distancing economy is driving high demand for products like webcams, gaming, crafts, and nonperishable food items. While many businesses are selling these must-have products, consumers don’t know which retailer has the products they need in stock. That’s why some online sellers are having trouble attracting new customers to their ecommerce sites.

Solution: Reach new audiences that are actively shopping for in-demand products.

In this time of rapid change, consumer behaviors are shifting week by week, which means demand is shifting for different products. You want your ads to reach consumers that are currently in the market for the in-demand products you sell.

Want to start engaging new customers today? Watch our webinar to see how to build your ad campaign audiences with Criteo >> 

Challenge #5: App Retention

Challenge: App Retention. As consumers increase their screen time while they stay at home, many are using mobile apps to shop, play games, consume content, and stay connected with friends and family. At Criteo, we surveyed US consumers in early April and found that 8 out of 10 respondents are using gaming apps, news apps, social networking apps, and video-streaming apps at least once per day. However, more than one-third of app users said they would be likely to delete an app they downloaded during this time. App businesses need a strategy to retain these users for the long term.

Solution: Focus on the user experience.

It’s in app marketers’ best interest to prioritize the in-app experience to turn a potentially short-term user into a loyal and active relationship.

Ready to stop new users from abandoning your app? Get a copy of Criteo’s Ultimate Guide to App Retention >>

Challenge #6: Creative & Messaging

Challenge: Creative & Messaging. The coronavirus outbreak has forced advertisers to think about how their message will be perceived by their customers. Many are changing their approach to digital advertising to ensure they’re being sensitive to consumers’ needs and their message isn’t tone-deaf.

Solution: Inspire and motivate consumers as they adapt to their new way of life.

A recent Kantar survey of more than 35,000 consumers around the world found that the majority of consumers (77%) think brands should “talk about how they are helpful in the new everyday life,” and 70% think brands should “offer a reassuring tone.” It’s crucial for marketers to keep advertising and adjust their creative and messaging.

Challenge #7: Reduced Demand

Challenge: Reduced Demand. The truth is that not every advertiser is going to offer products or services that are in high demand in a social distancing economy. Advertisers in categories such as travel, events, and automotive have experienced less demand during the pandemic, but this doesn’t mean they should stop marketing.

Solution: Build consumer trust in preparation for the rebound.

While the exact timeline of recovery is unclear, most marketers realize that the post-coronavirus world will be different and are looking for ways to help their customers post-crisis.

Download the full guide today to learn more about every solution and see real-world examples:

1Source: Criteo’s Peak to Recovery Survey, Global, May 13-29, 2020, n=13,532

Tricia Carr

Tricia is a writer and editor obsessed with learning new things. She's written about everything from retail trends and marketing technology to cocktails and vegan food. When she's not creating content, she's probably getting lost in New York or cooking breakfast food.

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