Advertising Strategies and Lessons


Proven Again: Increased Marketing Drives Increased Sales During Downturn

April 13, 2020 Kathy Bryan

The benefits of marketing during a recession have been catalogued many times, with famous case studies proving the point:

  • Kellogg’s increased their ad spend during the Great Depression and became the top-selling ready-to-eat cereal brand.
  • Del Monte increased ad spend by 11% during the Great Recession, focusing on the value of canned fruit, and achieved a $58.6 million profit after losing $10.1 million the year prior.
  • In 2009, Domino’s spent millions to advertise their new pizza recipe. By the time the recession was over, Domino’s was America’s favorite pizza chain.

Although America is only at the beginning of the 2020 economic crisis, the fashion industry has already given us another advertising case study.

Steady Advertising Spend During COVID-19 Boosts Online Fashion Sales

Shutterstock_731340991 Woman shopping for clothes online.

According to data published by Measured, a marketing attribution technology company, fashion brands that have maintained or increased their marketing spend are already reaping the rewards. In fact, steady advertising spend by fashion brands resulted in an 81% average increase in online sales during the March 16-29 period compared to the same week in February. Conversely, for the brands that pulled back on marketing spend, online sales slipped 19% compared to the prior month and 40% year over year.

Even During The Quarantine, Consumers Have Needs And Wants

“There is demand, and if you market into it, you can continue,” commented Madon Bharadwaj, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Measured. While lives currently seem to be turned on their heads, consumers still want to feel good about their “new normals.” Americans are spending more than ever to stock up on essential items, like toilet paper and nonperishable food. But they’re also investing in optional purchases, including entertainment for kids currently home from school, holiday celebrations, clothing and in-home fitness.

Even The Unemployed Make Purchases During Recessions

With the recent spike in unemployment and news of workers taking pay cuts, it’s easy to assume people have no expendable income. But expenses have also been cut for many Americans, who are suddenly not paying for daycare, kids activities, restaurant meals and gas to commute to work. While some consumers will be focused on saving, others will seek comfort through purchases that make their days more comfortable or more enjoyable.

Marketing Must Be Customized To Be Relevant For Today

Only 8% of consumers want brands to “go dark” during the coronavirus crisis, but that doesn’t mean the advertising campaigns that were created in January will work today. Social distancing alone makes Americans see everything differently. Suddenly, advertising with people hugging or shaking hands feels like it’s tone deaf. And brands that appear to be trying to make a profit from the coronavirus crisis will not fare well. However, 77% of consumers expect brands to be helpful for their “new everyday life,” which can be achieved through tailored marketing, relevant product and service offerings and being part of the solution for the current health crisis.

Don’t Sit Back While Your Competition Gets Ahead

Digital Media Solutions® (DMS) helps brands flourish by leveraging proprietary martech and robust consumer intelligence to connect brands with consumers at the moments they’re most ready to take action.

Contact DMS

About the Author

Kathy Bryan

Kathy Bryan is the Chief Marketing Officer at Digital Media Solutions (DMS). In this role, Kathy is responsible for all aspects of marketing and communications for DMS, the leading global martech company leveraging innovative, performance-driven brand and marketplace solutions to connect consumers and advertisers.

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