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Wharton Markets in Motion: Marketing in the Midst of a Pandemic

Following the unprecedented changes of 2020, the world at large continues to evolve, and marketers are strategizing in a rapidly fluctuating environment. While past may be prologue, the pandemic has brought the media industry into uncharted territory, and marketers and advertisers must remain nimble as we continue to adjust to a new normal. 

As such, Jamie Moldafsky, Nielsen’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, recently engaged in conversation with professors David Reibstein and Raghu Iyengar of The Wharton School, where she serves as Chairperson of the Customer Analytics Advisory Board. The discussion was a part of the school’s Markets in Motion series, which features conversations with marketing experts about how they are pivoting their business strategies and innovating in a time of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Caring for people and understanding the shifts around consumer behavior were pillars in navigating the start of the pandemic,” said Jamie. “There was an immediate need for real time information and communication. Providing clients with data right away, and quickly grasping the fundamental shifts to the work that we do was important.” 

Not only has the pandemic changed the needs of consumers and clients, but COVID-19 has also accelerated the way in which people engage with media. The media landscape has been fragmented for a long time, but COVID-19 truly amplified it. 

With people spending more time at home, marketers need to stay acutely informed about shifts in consumer behavior.

While speaking about the shifts in viewing patterns as a result of the pandemic, Raghu said, “Viewership is up and people have been spending more time watching TV, but media spending is down.”

“What was important is now critical and understanding where your consumers’ heads and hearts are is more important than ever,” Jamie noted. 

While asking about  Nielsen’s current measurement capabilities, David said, “There’s been this quest for years of how to get the different ways of reaching people and combine that, so we get a complete picture of an individual’s viewing.” 

Jamie noted, “Nielsen has been embarking on the path of developing a more common platform to measure how audiences interact with content and continues to help brands and publishers get a holistic view of consumers through our cross-media measurement solution, Nielsen ONE. Nielsen One will be cloud-based, so we will have the ability to get data to our clients more rapidly.  We will no longer have to look just at discrete channels but will have the ability to understand the consumer holistically.” 

“The desire for real time communication is incredible,” Jamie noted. “The intersection of data, media and technology is occurring at a time when the whole ecosystem around how people consume media has changed, and trust has become a critical ingredient in how every company operates because we are in such a challenging environment.”