I was recently reading a report on WARC about the upcoming trends for the year in advertising and it highlighted 5 key points which I thought summed up the current landscape quite nicely. Whilst digital disruption is still driving alot of the changes we see in organisations today, the lines between “traditional” and “digital” are becoming more and more blurred as we refocus on new omnichannel strategic models and ideas that are channel agnostic. With fresh thinking around the path to purchase as it becomes more connected, the customer experience is becoming more central to the overall marketing strategy then ever. Below are each of the 5 key points from the report that I’ve summarised with a few key take aways.
1 BRANDS ARE RETHINKING ‘DIGITAL”
Big-name brands no longer see digital as a separate discipline, and are renewing their emphasis on core brand-building programmes. New strategic models are emerging that work across ‘digital’ and ‘non-digital’ channels
This is more then a back to basics approach though as digital has diversified the suite of brand building techniques available to us. For example media mix modeling analysis has begun to start helping us understand how different combinations of media work together to best effect – WARC showed the example of different ways of combining TV & social media. It’s also expanding our portfolio of responsibilities as companies look for more whole of business innovations such as product or service delivery.
2 ‘SHOPPER’ MERGES WITH ‘MARKETING’
Fresh thinking on the path to purchase, including the role of emotion in the buying process, means that shopper marketing is becoming central to overall strategy.
There are two key reasons driving this shift, firstly technology is obviously changing the way people shop and engage with brands and secondly a growing understanding of the role that emotion plays in the shopping process. Taking these into account, a more sound understanding of the customer journey and the touchpoints along them is critical from awareness to acquisition and repurchase. Brands are beginning to see the value in building this knowledge as more and more of them are taking a customer focused approach to business.This trend towards more targeted customer insight will likely increase as retailers find typical promotions wearing down as sales volumes no longer grow relative to investment.
3 SMARTER CONTENT STRATEGIES ARE NEEDED
As more brands invest in content marketing, competition for eyeballs is growing. Content strategies are diversifying rapidly as brands look to stand out and the number of platforms grows. Sophisticated brands are reformatting content across platforms, and are developing strategies for content ‘discovery’.
Publishers and brands are looking at strategies to diversify their online properties beyond the typical pre roll and banner. Events like the IAB Content Newfronts indicate the new wave of content being created far beyond the typical TVC and show how video content is not necessarily all created equal. Gone are the days of the simple 30sec or 60sec TVC with the options for video content essentially being thrown open it creates new opportunities for creative ways for brands to talk to people along the path to purchase, tailoring the type of content to the situation.
4 THERE IS A BATTLE LOOMING OVER DATA
As investment in programmatic buying increases, sophisticated data strategies will be required. The importance of data management for programmatic is changing the relationship between brands, agencies and tech providers.
This is a really exciting space that allows us to be more effective then ever in refining our targeting and achieving higher conversion by delivering the right message to the right person and the right time. As the path to purchase becomes more connected, once we have an understanding of the customer journey we then have the ability to identify customers early on in the piece and talk to them with relevant information tailored to them and the stage they are at along it. This is not a quick fix solution however and the need for more effective data planning is driving changes for the both brands and agencies.
5 MULTICHANNEL IS A WORK IN PROGRESS
Research into the way channels work together has drawn only tentative conclusions. Some studies underplay social media’s direct impact on sales, but emphasise its importance within a broad media framework. Studies of cross- screen viewing suggest reach is the main benefit, rather than sales synergies.
Whilst research has struggled to quantify the impact of social media on the bottom line, it is generally accepted now that it is most effective as part of a broader strategy. Using social channels help to build up a brands online ecosystem over time help to take advantage of the longer tail of content. The multiplier effect of being exposed to a brand across multiple screens whilst consuming content also can’t be ignored as research shows that people typically watch TV whilst using other “second screen” devices.
Source: WARC Trends Toolkit 2014 – How to keep your brand ahead of the competition. In association with Deloitte.
Author: Alex Leece