COVID-19 April 22, 2020

COVID-19 Support: Perspectives from Consumer Marketing Leaders

Written By

Stripes Team

In response to the challenges many of our businesses are facing from COVID-19, Stripes has been hosting a series of virtual panel discussions led by subject matter experts from across our network to share lessons learned. You can also view summaries and key takeaways from our past panels here.

This column focuses on addressing consumer marketing-related challenges posed by COVID-19. We’re thankful to draw insights from:

  • Sharon Rothstein, Stripes Operating Partner and former CMO of Starbucks, Sephora, Godiva, and Starwood
  • Tressie Lieberman, VP of Digital Marketing and Off-Premise at Chipotle
  • Brian Magida, Stripes Executive Advisor and Senior Director of Performance Marketing at Warby Parker
  • Jesse Derris, Founder and CEO of Derris
  • Gabby Etrog Cohen, Chief Brand Officer at Rent the Runway

We thank our incredibly informed and insightful panelists for taking the time to participate, particularly while they are facing many of the issues we discussed during our session.

To view a recording of this session, please click here.

While each firm's response will be different, our panelists shared what's been working for their companies in response to COVID, including:

  1. Become comfortable with shorter testing cycles in order to take action quickly and decisively. At Chipotle, Tressie Lieberman's team has decided to forgo traditional decision-making and testing processes and to prioritize making customer-first decisions in real-time. This requires leadership support to ensure alignment and to bypass traditional approval routes.

  2. Adjust dynamically based on granular and current channel performance data. Brian Magida recommends against scaling total spend based on blended acquisition costs. Brands should evaluate, by channel, the cost and conversion rate of traffic and whether or not that channel is delivering on current company objectives. This is a good time to test channels if you understand a particular network and traffic costs or are able to secure a discount. He believes the largest opportunities are in "negotiated media," including digital, television, streaming, and podcasts.

  3. Take current data from experimental channels with a big grain of salt. Now may be a good time to leverage new channels for current objectives. However, Brian cautions against experimenting for the primary purpose of collecting data for future decisions, as current consumer behavior may not be representative of the norm.

  4. Practice restraint and avoid over-communication. Gabby Etrog Cohen encourages marketers to think about "what's the real why" behind every communication. Share selective and important messages that are more likely to capture attention.

  5. Look towards the “new normal”, and don’t limit your brand marketing by thinking too short term. Jesse Derris predicts: "Brands are going to be looked at for how they behave right now, [and] the brands that are handling it the best are looking at what 10 years [from now] looks like, not just getting through the next three months."



As the environment around us has been changing faster than ever, we expect to add or revisit topics and additional resources as they become pertinent and helpful. Should you have any follow-up questions from the summary above, or if you have any other suggested topics or questions for us to cover, please submit them through this form.