Ten things ad firms should do to survive COVID

ad firms

We’re all dealing with an unprecedented level of uncertainty caused by the coronavirus.

But there are things businesses can do to mitigate some of the risks, and that includes those in the marketing world.

Below, Alex Matthews, Marketing Director, ECI Media Management, outlines the steps advertising firms might want to take to ensure they survive the coronavirus crisis.


The level of uncertainty caused by coronavirus and covid-19 is unprecedented.

It is having a profound effect on economies across the world, with no sector left untouched.

The advertising industry is no different: it responds to and is dependent on consumer behaviour, which has been forced to change dramatically in a matter of weeks.

While change is inevitable, there are steps that advertisers can take to mitigate to some extent the effect that the pandemic will have on their advertising performance.

Here’s a quick 10-step guide to how:

1: Agency agreement

Evaluate whether your agency agreement is up to date and working in your best interests, particularly in light of the new market situation

2: Media consumption

Media consumption habits have changed as people stay at home more and mass gatherings are banned.

Reach for cinema and OOH has decreased, while TV and digital/social media reach are seeing increases.

Radio reach is making some gains as isolation continues, while podcasts are also enjoying higher reach as people look for entertainment.

Marketers will need to assess how their media plans and targeting will be affected

3: Optimisation

Ensure that your marketing activities have been optimised according to new media patterns

4: Targets

Ascertain whether your media targets are still valid in the current market situation, or whether they need to be updated

5: Evaluation

As consumer and market behaviour changes rapidly, it’s more important than ever to evaluate your activity in order to optimise correctly

6: Annual media strategies

Assess whether your annual media strategies should be modified

7: Competition

Keep an eye on your competitors. Market changes will have a significant impact on their media buying

8: Negotiation

An increased supply and weaker demand will affect media pricing. If possible, be flexible and evaluate the share of committed budget versus ad hoc and last-minute buys

9: Finalised agreements

If you need to adjust how much of your budget is committed to agreements with media companies, talk to your agency as soon as possible to find a strategy

10: Communication

Maintain regular dialogue with key contacts at your agency to ensure that the optimisation process continues, and that you are up to date with the latest developments

The key in the coming months is to be flexible. Agility will be key to being able respond in the most effective way to the rapidly changing circumstances.