Six months into the new year and the economic landscape still remains uncertain.
Meanwhile, vaccine rollouts globally have brought somewhat of much-needed normalcy to society. The declining number of Corona-19 cases, re-opening of more business, and the infusion of government aid are fueling the U.S economic recovery from the pandemic. As a result, new consumer segments are emerging. The rapid changes in decision buying criteria and behaviors are challenging how marketing machines for brands need to communicate to potential customers moving forward. Today, purchase behaviors are no longer just influenced by demographics but rather psychographic and attitudinal characteristics, and where people are in their lives. Marketing machines today need to begin by knowing that the post-pandemic customer segments will demand very personalized messages in an omnichannel approach to gain their loyalty and trust prior to purchase. Relationships are everything and these new consumer segments require brands to be engaging, personal, and align with their personal values at every step of the customer journey. Brands must be experience-driven! I hate to be the one to break it to you, but brands are no longer compete with competitors, but rather the last best experience their potential customer had. Marketing machines will be required to optimize marketing strategies and respond with agility. Which, in today’s world, is no longer a technology process but a modern marketing and business approach. This approach allows brands to find the right balance of factors by using hyper-personalization which will bring them closer to the right customer.
It’s Time to Pay to Play; Digital Marketing Channels
The pandemic has created an opportunity for brands to modernize their business models, focus on e-commerce and enhance the digital experience of their customers. More than ever, it is time to “pay to play” across digital marketing channels to get the most out of your marketing machine. When you pay for advertising, it has one main job; to lift awareness of a brand. With so many more consumers spending time browsing the internet and using social media, an effective marketing strategy is that of an omnichannel advertising approach. This approach creates a consistent experience across all digital touchpoints, using customers personal, historical, and real-time data, plus some predictive future behavioral targeting, to automatically trigger a digital brand experience (serving up a relevant ad). Thinking like a customer means creating a seamless, consistent message and experience (in a highly distracted world) and guiding it “cross channel” through the customer journey, both online and offline. This will not only serve to engage and interact with your audience but will also result in desired customer action. When you can further leverage other marketing channels such as earned media, influencer strategies, organic or paid social tactics and expand your online footprint collectively, you can be “paying to play” on the right platforms with the right audience, and your marketing budgets can be more effective across the channel mix. By reaching your target audience on third-party platforms where they spend their time online, you increase brand awareness and engagement in environments that are most receptive, which ultimately drives more sales!
New Rules of Organic & Paid Social Media
Having a social media presence as a brand is now imperative in a post-pandemic world. For brands that have already been on social media for a while, navigating the pandemic has forced many to shift the way they promote and talk about their products. As global awareness on issues increase and make their way onto social platforms, brands are now having to take a stance as to what conversations to take a part in…or not. For the first time brands are under social media “pressure” to publicly address issues that, as an organization, perhaps have never previously taken a public stance on, or give focus to with their audience. Today’s social communities demand to know more about the brands they are engaging with to ensure their values align on topics from sustainability, social issues, and, sometimes, even a political stance. Brands are needing to be “more human” and less automated on social media, providing more meaningful honest conversations. In a nutshell, on social media, consumers are asking brands to be authentic and real with their content. The pandemic has revolutionized many aspects across social media; from the number of people engaged, to the type of platforms that have become popular based on the type of media people are choosing to consume. As social media and the various platforms continue to innovate, adjust algorithms, and add new features, content creators will need to continue to innovate in lock-step to provide impactful information and bring awareness to various topics, adding more value to consumers building back a better world.
While the shift towards digital paid marketing strategies isn’t new ground, the evolution of digital tracking across all channels as we move forward in 2021 and beyond certainly will be. As we start to see changes with video content, SEO, and PPC automation, and the demise of third-party cookies, online users will get stricter with brands about privacy and transparency. Data privacy and the use of artificial intelligence, quite possibly the most significant change to digital advertising, will affect usage across various platforms. Due to the absence of federal policy, states are starting to develop their own privacy laws. Similar to GDPR in Europe, California passed its privacy legislation in 2018 and now other states are following suit. Early this year the Information Transparency and Personal Data Act was introduced to Congress. These key provisions are to protect the sensitive personal information of users, opt-in consents, opt-out consents, plain English privacy notices, control processor relationships, and much more. The bill aims to centralize federal privacy enforcement in the FTC. What this means for brands is that building audiences across platforms, and management of said audience with strategies within every stage of the funnel will be key in making big differences as to consumers’ awareness and readiness to purchase. You need to future proof your media strategies today, whether you’re using video advertising, paid search, display ads, paid third-party media, or social media to improve your marketing game of tomorrow.
Is Your Marketing Machine Fired Up & Ready to Target Your Potential New Customer?