How Marketers Can Harness the Potential of Changing Shopping and Media Habits
With the ongoing pandemic continuing to keep many consumers largely at home, digital platforms are getting more attention than ever before, presenting immense opportunity for retailers to influence audiences. Despite the potential of meeting shoppers in these new spaces, however, many brands are cutting campaign spending in an effort to save capital in such uncertain markets. However, according to Nielsen, on average, brands realize 47 percent of their marketing efforts after one year, meaning that brands that shy away from addressing evolving consumer habits risk delaying future success and recovery from the COVID-19 period.
Instead of pausing their pre-pandemic efforts, marketers need to understand how their target consumers are specifically changing their habits because of the crisis and update their strategies accordingly — not just for the immediate future, but for the remainder of the year and in the longer term. Shoppers’ soaring presence on online platforms presents ample opportunity for retailers to get in front of target audiences, but only if they're strategic about it.
The key for ensuring any revamped campaigns are effective in addressing consumers’ new normal behavior is integrating data on their target demographics (e.g., age, value sets) into the strategies behind them. For example, media consumption may be, in general, increasing around the globe, but on which specific platforms are consumers most likely to engage with a given brand gathering? With company-specific insights on hand, marketers can devise strategies that appeal to their unique consumer base without risking any spend on placements geared at generalized populations. And by investing in the tools needed to collect this data over periods of time, marketers can be agile in addressing evolving consumer behaviors now and well into the future.
Identify the Most Impactful Media Placements
The highly curated nature of digital content these days means that once marketers identify the programs and platforms that make the most sense for their specific brand, there’s the chance for them to make a big impact with a single campaign.
While some retailers may be feeling at a loss for how to engage with ad-free streaming services, these platforms provide the opportunity for stimulating product placements. By subtly incorporating their products into programming that aligns with their brand’s values, companies can get in front of audiences that may inherently be more receptive to their offerings.
For brands preferring more traditional marketing methods, there’s the space to shine as competitors opt to temporarily suspend their own marketing efforts. With contenders pulling out of their placements, CPM remains lower than normal, meaning that those that persevere with advertising can do so for less — potentially also securing reduced advertising rates for months to come.
Recognize an Updated Path to Purchase
Shoppers’ migration to e-commerce means many potential buyers are only a click away from a retailer’s website, underscoring the importance of convincing creative in securing sales. Digital ads will continue to be important as brick-and-mortar stores start reopening as well. Because going out in public is much more intentional these days given COVID-19 concerns, online marketing needs to inspire consumers to make that initial journey. Many marketers are already adopting this strategy; a Nielsen study found that 64 percent of recent news content viewed was local news, which provides a unique opportunity for advertisers to show their brand value in this forum. For these ads, targeting audiences using locational data will be crucial in ensuring they reach the right audiences.
The coronavirus has dramatically altered how consumers engage with e-commerce and media, creating a critical moment in which marketers’ responses will affect months of business operations to come. In order to succeed against such rapid market fluctuations, marketers need to analyze insights on how their target demographics are uniquely evolving, instead of jumping blindly into generalized trends. This way, they can devise customized, nuanced strategies more likely to draw return on investment, thereby propelling their brands forward instead of falling behind.
Tina Wilson is executive vice president of media analytics and marketing effectiveness for Nielsen, a global measurement and data analytics company that provides the most complete and trusted view available of consumers and markets worldwide.
Related story: How the Pandemic is Revamping the Retail Landscape