The Great Shift

Brian Wieser

The COVID pandemic, as it has with nearly every other business around the world, has completely upended the way we perceive the limitations on ways business can be conducted, and the way marketers can interact with their audiences. The use of virtual sales channels and other digital transformation strategies have undergone remarkable acceleration.

All of these changes have forced marketing to rapidly transform itself, all without the aid of any playbook or standard operating procedure.

This publication serves as a guide for how COVID has shifted the landscape for four major sectors (Auto, CPG & E-comm, Telecom and Financial Services) and another (Entertainment) where the industry has gone through significant change and, as a result, we must alter the way we think of them as sources of inventory. Each section ends with some critical takeaways for marketers.

Some key takeaways:

  • Auto has rebounded from 40-45% declines at the low point in April to current levels of flat or better.
    • Car manufacturers have shifted to direct online relationships with consumers.
    • As a result, it will be vital for them to invest heavily in consumer insights to integrate new desired experience from customers in the buying process.
  • CPG manufacturers experienced a significant transition in how their products are sold, leading to a 277% increase in retail sales via e-commerce channels for food & beverage and health & personal care companies in 2Q20.
    • Manufacturers relying primarily on third parties like Amazon or other online sites will find tremendous opportunities in prioritizing investments in DTC initiatives since consumers are more primed than ever to buy online.
  • Telecommunications consumers have exponentially increased internet usage – telco has responded with faster, more robust broadband services to support working or schooling from home and streaming service growth to telehealth needs, e-commerce and contact tracing systems.
    • IoT connectivity is more favorable for mobile carriers because network improvements like 5G will enable wireless communications companies to offer today’s home-based services on a more equal footing.
    • Reliability, ease of use, access to additional services, etc., will become even more important as those get reinforced by ongoing consumer interactions.
  • Financial Services has fared well during the pandemic, aided by liquidity from central banks from around the world paired with new government-backed loan programs and stimulus payments made to consumers.
    • Banks have served as a digital role model for other industries with more digitally focused services into their product portfolios, if only because most of what banks offer, including trustworthiness and perceptions of durability and, are mostly virtual.
    • Banks will need to sustain their investment in branding to reinforce trust, as well as heavy investment in data-related infrastructure
  • Entertainment, particularly streaming services, soared in large part because spending on content packaged by streaming services has been growing much more rapidly than spending on content packaged by incumbents.
    • Going forward, studio owners will need to invest heavily in capabilities to aggregate and analyze data to understand consumers’ content and platform preferences, optimizing assets accordingly.