It is time to shake off the doom and gloom of working under Covid-19 conditions and make more informed business decisions for more effective marketing results, now and in future, writes
Having lived with the global pandemic for six months now, economies are starting to slowly reopen, to breathe fresh life into markets under lockdown. Not a moment too soon, as this has been a crisis unlike any other. Marketing budgets were among the first to be cut and consumer spend is expected to only return to pre-Covid-19 levels in the next 18 to 24 months.
Yet the turmoil following these crises is nothing new, and history has taught us that recovery will follow. This is clearly seen when comparing leading indices’ data with that from BrandZ, the world’s largest brand equity platform, which shows that strong brands have continued to recover from economic shocks earlier and with more convincing performance and growth figures.
That said, under these conditions it’s no longer a case of marketing as business as usual. We all need to find ways to do more with less as the playbook for 2020 was largely thrown out the window but rest assured that brands matter now, more than ever.
There’s a temptation to be reactive and think short-term, but it’s important to balance those short-term gains with long-term brand building. This means re-estimating sales forecasts across markets and regions, and revisiting demand across portfolios, channels and point of sale.
Marketers need to understand that different categories will also follow different recovery plans, as hygiene products have seen increased demand throughout lockdown while restrictions on other products such as alcohol and tobacco sales in South Africa meant unexpectedly sharp declines.
What all categories do share is the fact that past data is no longer enough.
New data is needed to overlay brand and category trends while learning from historic performance and country-specific macro information like specific Covid-19 data and government policies, as well as consumer sentiment.
The long and the short of it: The future of marketing investment
In times of crisis, marketers’ top challenge right now is how to best optimise their marketing budget when consumer behaviour and media consumption is so rapidly changing.
Most organisations are pressed to make tough decisions on how to best allocate budgets, keeping both short-term sales uplift and long-term brand building in mind. But while many marketers have a measurement system in place, only about 23% of them have an integrated system in place.
The evidence from Kantar’s database tells us that focusing on just one objective means you are possibly grossly underestimating the overall impact of your marketing efforts. The short-term impact of media on sales is 13% and if you add the long term, the impact is doubled.
“To strive for as holistic a picture as possible, it’s key to integrate different sources of data into a singular framework. This is best implemented when organisations have data architecture in place. Having this infrastructure enables the organisation to leverage the power of data and analytics at scale and drive a culture of transparency within the organisation,” says Sagar Ramsinghani, Analytics Director, UAE, Kantar.
In this changing environment, where marketers are regularly deploying new ways to engage with consumers, it is critical that we continuously test and learn. Traditional measurement systems are backward looking and refreshed once every two years, which is today’s context may well be irrelevant.
The future of marketing optimisation lies always-on platform-based solutions that enable organisations to test and learn on a more regular basis and plan marketing actions based on expected outcomes.
Tips to get the best out of your content and media
When it comes to unlocking the power of creativity and optimising a multimedia touchpoint strategy, it makes sense to consider whether consumers’ responses to advertising have changed. Kantar’s Link ad-testing solution revealed that the reactions haven’t really changed when the same ads were tested pre- and during Covid-19.
Parallel studies conducted in digital behaviour also revealed that consumers continue to engage with online content in the same way as before – it’s how we consume content on different platforms that differs. So, while the video skip time for YouTube remains steady at seven seconds, it’s down to just three seconds for Facebook. When putting creative work on these channels, customise it for a greater chance of impact.
On the creative side, the back-to-basics strategy remains – have a strong creative idea that creates lasting impressions and integrates the brand. Getting this right could provide up to 10 times more ROI for your brand. And in the digital space, getting the creative right can get the ad from being avoided and blocked to liked and shared.
With out of home, cinema and event sponsorship off the cards for some time now, marketers are tempted to push all the budgets to digital. At Kantar, we know digital-only strategy can be restrictive. Synergy plays a big role in driving impact and having a TV and digital strategy provides the best ROI in today’s context. It’s key to have the content customised to the platform to ensure the creative is consumed in the right way to create desired impact.
In times of crisis when budgets are being slashed, the top learning has been around re-allocation of budgets to meaningful channels rather than completely going dark in order to avoid negative impact on brand and sales.
Watch this video for more on how to unlock superior marketing effectiveness in the new era of analytics: https://youtu.be/q0BCw_G1BUo
BIO: The world we live in today is powered by the data currency. As director of analytics at Kantar, Kent Diepraam an experienced advanced analytics professional with a demonstrated history of creating data-led business opportunities for growth. His skills span consumer behaviour, customer insight, analytical skills, and applying machine-learning techniques that enable businesses to examine their performance and predict logical step-changes in an upward trajectory. His knowledge and skills are solidified by a cum laude MBA, focused in strategic management from the Wits Business School.
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