Kristin Slovinski
Kristin Slovinski 6 October 2020

How to Add Value in a ‘Woke,’ Post-Covid World

The issues that the adtech industry was facing in January 2020 – such as the need for suppliers to enable first-party data – now seem secondary in light of our turbulent global reality.

Now that the ‘panic mode’ has given way to a ‘new normal,’ businesses must be agile in a ‘post-Covid’ world.  The global rise of social tensions and economic challenges, which in turn lead to business uncertainties, are reminders that future-proofing cannot be overstated.

But how can we in the adtech world best achieve this? 

It might seem obvious, but it’s something so often forgotten in our industry:  to remain relevant, you’ve got to make sure you’re addressing the immediate and more human needs of your audience. 

Here’s how:

Don’t shy away from the issues of the day.

Challenge buyers to advertise next to hard news and state their position on topical matters, such as Covid-19 or Black Lives Matter. When a customer engages with your brand, they want to know where you stand, and what actions your company is taking to tackle pertinent issues. 

Studies continue to show a connection between corporate social responsibility initiatives and brand loyalty. We naturally consider a brand in a more positive light if we see them engaging meaningfully on issues we care about. It’s important to show consumers that you care about their lived experiences as people responding to social and economic flux. Being overly cautious about engaging these topics will only separate you from the world of your customer.

Offer the Right Content Fit

There’s been a step-change in the industry, with brands aligning their corporate and marketing values. It’s affecting how and where they advertise, as we’ve seen in the growing list of brands that joined the Facebook boycott. Industry brands, including Bayer, Adidas, Novartis, and Boeing, are among the hundreds of big-name companies that have added their names to the Stop Hate for Profit campaign.

This is an opportunity for publishers to promote their brand-safe platforms and grab at advertising budgets that would otherwise be allocated to Facebook. 

Don’t Just Target — Connect

Once a brand decides where to advertise, and to whom, how can they be sure they’ll reach the right people at the right time? A high click-through rate doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the right people are clicking. The key to deeper engagement with the right audiences is maintaining consistency across content and providing real value in relation to your CSR position. 

At ResearchGate, we’ve positioned our content based on what we know resonates most with our audience of scientific researchers: 65% prefer deeper educational content such as ebooks, whitepapers, and webinars — rather than direct product marketing. 

What’s more, we’ve learned that getting the customer to click and share their contact information is only the very beginning. You can’t start with a hard-sell immediately after getting a potential customer’s contact information — instead, you’ve got to nurture the relationship. Useful, relevant content marketing is a great way to forge a connection with consumers and cast your brand in a positive light. Consumers want to feel like they’re being given something meaningful, not being sold to. And the more timely and applicable your content is to their needs and frame of mind, the more likely it will resonate, forging an even deeper connection. 

Align Internal Strategy With External Efforts

Now that we’ve begun adjusting to a rapidly-changed world, it’s likely your clients will be refocusing on their long-term needs. It’s time to reflect on how you can address the buyer’s need for short-term gains while laying the groundwork for future partnerships. 

As you consider how to reposition your offer to add more value, ask yourself:

  • Is it intuitive? Are there ways you can build more efficiencies for the client, considering that they may be short-staffed or downsizing due to Covid-19’s economic impact? 
  • Are you adapting to your clients’ changing technological demands? Studies such as this one from BCG have shown that customer-facing and intuitive products, as well as innovation, feature most often in the longer-term priority demands of buyers. 
  • Does your customer service take into account your clients’ deeper concerns? These are usually not related to a current campaign, but rather to personal concerns such as their own job security or professional status. 
  • Are you providing this same support internally to your own team, so that they are empowered to extend that energy to your client base?  

​The future, of course, remains uncertain. But the more you can adapt your strategy to respond to your audience’s needs right now, the stronger your position will be — no matter what tomorrow holds.

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