Getting "Digi" with It
Article Date: April 28, 2020
Smart Paid Media Strategies for BPMs in the COVID-19 Era
By Amy Meyers
Like every other industry, building materials manufacturers (BMMs) must confront the constantly changing dynamics caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – reduced production capacity due to stay-at-home orders, an uncertain supply chain and a slowdown in construction.
What’s that mean for the advertising budget or the advertising strategy for the organization? It was likely locked in place months ago – or even last year – when people were going to work, eating at restaurants and generally following normal media consumption habits.
In many cases, instinct – and budgetary pressures – might prompt BMMs to contemplate a retrenchment in advertising with the onset of a global pandemic.
Why advertise when demand for your product may have dropped due to an unpredictable crisis that has changed how we live and work? What kind of ROI could you gain by advertising during this period? Isn’t it better to save cash for better days when people are paying attention?
Key stakeholders important to BMMs – architects, designers, contractors and more – are paying close attention, perhaps even more so than in what would be classified as “normal” times. Understanding these dynamics and the changing rules of engagement can help you make informed decisions about how best to invest your advertising dollars during COVID-19.
Removing yourself from the conversation by cancelling all advertising during this period can have a negative, longer-term impact on overall brand visibility. Going dark undercuts the traction you had gained with previous campaigns, effectively ending momentum you had gained and ceasing the conversation with prospects and customers. Waiting to reinvest in advertising of any kind until the acute phase of this global pandemic has passed will leave you starting from scratch.
Moreover, consider the notion that your competitors may be taking advantage of the extra inventory that might be available. They are continuing the conversation with the marketplace, and they will benefit in maintaining – or even enhancing – engagement levels with customers and prospects, the same ones you hope will buy from you.
Doubling Down on Digital
BMMs accustomed to placing their dollars in traditional advertising can benefit greatly by moving that money to digital.
This is a critical consideration on a host of fronts.
First, industry professionals – architects, designers, specifiers and others – are now working from home, which means they are spending even more time in front of their computers. They likely have additional time to research products for upcoming projects. This is fertile ground to engage them with timely, impactful, smartly delivered digital advertising.
At BLD Marketing, we are using the “address and redirect” approach with our clients to help modify their paid advertising strategies so the programs deliver the very best ROI for the moment. That means pressing pause on more traditional (print) executions, delaying them until later in the year and moving dollars to programmatic digital advertising. It is a highly targeted approach that can achieve results with modest investment. Programmatic campaigns enable BMMs to follow their prospect’s journey on the web and then serve up ads based on their prospect’s activity.
It’s in the Numbers
Consider the performance of a programmatic digital advertising campaign BLD conducted in March of this year on behalf of a BMM client. The initiative coincided with the emergence of the Coronavirus and continued through the first stages of the national shutdown that ensued.
The campaign’s overall click-through rate for March was at 1.34 percent, well above the industry average (0.09 percent) and outpacing the performance of the entire 2019 campaign.
Compare March’s numbers to February’s performance, and the March campaign is even more impressive.
Website traffic driven by the ad campaign rose by more than a third in March when compared to February, a noticeable uptick. The increased level of activity – tied specifically to the campaign – offers even more evidence that key stakeholders are more readily engaging in content on the internet while they’re hunkered down at home.
Chart a New Course
We indeed are living in unprecedented times, and the headwinds of change for BMMs have just begun as the nation continues to address COVID-19.
Cost pressures always impact advertising commitments.
A smarter, more targeted investment – one that is engineered to get you in front of your prime targets at a time when their behavior has changed – will position you properly to maintain brand awareness now and pave the way for greater, more powerful engagement once life returns to normal.
About the Author:
With nearly three decades of professional experience, Amy Meyers serves as director of paid media for BLD Marketing, where she develops and implements integrated paid media strategies for the agency’s clients, who come exclusively from the building materials category. From audience and demographic analysis to media consumption habits and trends, Amy creates the optimal media mix for a client so they can effectively tell their story, gain maximum exposure, build brand equity and drive results in the marketplace. Amy’s experience extends across the business-to-business and business-to-consumer landscape. She is highly adept at fusing digital and traditional media platforms to achieve the very best results for clients and has managed media budgets in excess of $10 million.
BLD Marketing is a results-based, digitally-focused, full-service strategic marketing firm exclusively serving the commercial and residential building materials category.