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As the global economy and companies with supply chain links to Asian markets are already feeling the effects of the coronavirus crisis, the United States is bracing and preparing for the still to-be-seen impact here. U.S. officials at the federal, state and local levels are now contemplating how the virus could change daily life and creating contingency plans in case more extreme precautions like temporary business and school closures are advised. Are you curious how smart marketers are currently planning to face and overcome coronavirus and its digital media impact? Here are three ways you can prepare now:

1. Seize the Opportunity to Connect With Customers

Think strategically about when, where and how to reach your audience in new or sophisticated ways via digital platforms.

Continuing to engage with U.S. consumers in an online environment, regardless of whether they are affected by the virus threat or not, is in the best interest of marketers. Because as long as the internet is still accessible and ad-supported, you can reach consumers and expect digital to drive measurable results to the bottom line. In fact, a number of studies over many years have shown those who advertise during economic downturns and times of crisis can actually increase market share when the right approach is taken.

One company taking the right approach? WeChat messaging app. According to the South China Morning Post, WeChat increased its user base by 115% year-over-year by giving housebound users in China a way to buy groceries directly through the app.

2. Keep Paid Digital Media Spends Holding Steady

While companies like Apple, Amazon, Hilton and many more are reporting projected losses for the first quarter of the year, it doesn’t seem to have affected overall paid media spends at this point, even as some companies shift advertising strategies, based upon product availability. Goodway’s U.S.-based advertisers have not pulled back on paid digital media spends due to virus fears, and there have been minimal strategic changes to campaigns due to product or service impacts at this time.

No matter the circumstances, stay the course and keep paid digital media spends in place to successfully confront coronavirus and its digital media impact. Daily life has a way of marching on, and when consumers are looking to buy what they need and want, you can be there with the right message at the right time. The competitive playing field also tends to be less crowded in uncertain times, which can work in your favor: You can get your message out and amplify it more easily and inexpensively to further build brand awareness and grow market share.

3. Experiment With and Test Digital Advertising Strategies

With the coronavirus outbreak and containment efforts happening in China now, people have fewer places to go and less to do outside the home. But the gloomy situation is rosy for marketers wanting an audience: Per eMarketer, time spent with mobile internet and TV has recently grown in that country since more people are stuck inside and turning to entertainment to ease boredom. Perhaps, this is the right time to experiment, test and invest in connected TV, search or social strategies. Though, before you do, know your brand’s value proposition and your audience so your message will resonate well. (In recent reports, 56% of consumers said relevant ads didn’t bother them.)

With coronavirus casting a shadow, it may be tempting to step back and take a wait-and-see approach during this crisis. But facing coronavirus and its digital media impact head-on by doing the opposite can pay off in both the short and long term. When you analyze all the data available to you and create and test relevant, novel digital advertising content and strategies, while keeping a focus on external factors and environmental signals, you’ll be able to appropriately connect with consumers and maximize your ad spend.

Christine Foster Headshot
Christine Foster is a creative type who is weirdly passionate about statistics. She holds degrees in communications and writing and spent the early part of her career in journalism before shifting focus to social media and advertising. She has held a variety of positions in the digital advertising space over the past decade and is currently the vice president of media solutions at Goodway Group.