The COVID-19 Hourglass: Brands Unsure About Return To Normal

Almost three-fourths of all marketers have adjusted their approach in response to the COVID-19 crisis, according to Marketing During Coronavirus, a new study from marketing and public relations firm Element-R Partners, LLC. And they have little patience for companies that have not. 

Of the marketers polled, 61% are annoyed when they receive emails or calls from firms that seem to be doing business at usual. In fact, 29% are highly irritated.

Only 11% say it doesn’t bother them at all, and 28% are neutral.   

Element-R Partners, LLC surveyed 127 digital, public relations and marketing communications professionals. Of this sample, 26% are not changing their approach.

Here are posted comments from some of the remaining 74% on what they’re doing: 

  • Routine low-key "check-in/check-up" emails and e-letter continuing but with different focus.
  • Social media posting; direct email outreach. Checking in w highly engaged clients (ones we talking with routinely and frequently). Fun posts unrelated to business or COVID-19 . . . Broadway shows you can download, tours of museums, etc.
  • Personal emails and calls to clients and pipeline Upbeat social media for WFH
  • Email to promote online sales of gift cards and products.
  • Social media marketing, content marketing, SEO, email marketing, about to kickoff some paid social and Google AdWords.



The study also asked the question that is on everyone’s minds: When will things get back to normal? 

The answer is that 46% of marketers are waiting to see “signs of normalcy.” Another 28% don’t know, and the remainder are divided among 7% who expect to return to normal, 7% in two weeks and 12% within three to six weeks. 

One caveat: This study was concluded on March 30, and these results may not reflect current expectations. 

A separate survey by MGY Travel Intelligence and Destinations International Foundation found that 95% of travel and tourism destinations expect to resume paid promotional advertising by June. And 80% have shifted their sales, marketing or messaging.

In addition, more than half expect to conduct paid promotional email campaigns, paid search and paid social media campaigns within the next 60 days, according to the study, as reflected in a post on Hotel Business. 

“COVID-19 has had a substantial financial impact on the tourism industry, and destination organizations have responded quickly by deferring marketing funds in a responsible manner,” states Craig Compagnone, COO, MMGY Global.

Compagnone adds: “However, search data is telling us that there is still a strong desire to travel, and we believe this pent-up demand will result in a high volume of shorter booking window trips when bans are lifted and consumers believe it is safe to get out and explore again.”


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