The Covid-19 pandemic has made it arguably more important than ever for marketers to be able to measure the value of every bit of advertising they do. The economic outlook is gloomy, finance departments are worried and limited marketing budgets are under scrutiny.
Yet direct marketing has its own problems. Many companies are struggling to fulfil orders or running out of stock, while others simply have nothing to sell. That would make brand marketing a more sensible option than direct response right now.
In fact, many marketing effectiveness experts were advising marketers to think long-term and invest in brand. Back in March, marketing consultant Peter Field told Marketing Week: "The only sensible course for any advertiser who wants to maintain a presence through this recession – and if your business is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy you aren’t going to be able to do this – is to be putting money into long-term brand building because the role of that investment is for the recovery, not for now."
However, recent results show many marketers have opted for the opposite. Google and Facebook both attributed better-than-expected first quarter performances to brands moving money from more broad-based brand advertising to direct response.