What we have witnessed among the turmoil of 2020 is that only those brands that face challenges head on, will make the most of this situation. Knowing what works and – more importantly what doesn’t – is crucial for any marketing strategy. Quantifying the impact of your strategy on the overall business is game changing. Staying on top of it is key.
Below are six essential insights, based on the challenges our clients faced in 2020 and still do – and how every business can plan to overcome them:
1. Experiment more
So, how will you know what works and what doesn’t? You won’t. Not until you try it, and analyse its impact. Technology- and experience-backed experiments are a powerful tool to stay agile and constantly challenge sacred cows from the past. This is our biggest takeaway.
Many of our clients have turned to measurement solutions such as scenario planning and agile learning to test and learn their way to success. With agility at their hands, they already have a head start into 2021 and with scenario planning they had up to five times more growth compared with competitors who did not use it.
2. Digital on warp speed – but not alone
The shift in consumer behaviour brought with it a shift in media spend. Everything was going digital and this trend has accelerated heavily. However, two challenges remain in 2021.
If you have had success with going digital, remember that a multi-channel approach increases your ROI and broadens reach. Even if focusing primarily on digital channels, brands need to act on media synergies and not trust only in one channel. Our ROI Genome™ shows that ROI increases with every channel you add.
Brands also need to watch associated ROIs carefully. There were huge digital price changes within the past months coming from reduced or higher competition. This might lead to skewed future KPIs if you plan on them.
3. The omnipotent omnichannel
When talking about media synergies, the omnichannel strategy isn’t far, and it’s been massively impacted in 2020. We have seen cases where brands saw a 200% increase in online sales pre- versus post-COVID due to shut down high streets and other restrictions. It will be an interesting space to watch, especially brick-and-mortar retail.
Brands need to focus on e-commerce and implement new offers such as click-and-collect to connect consumers online and offline as the world continues to change. Our latest ROI Genome report has shown that brands who use omnichannel marketing can increase their ROI by 32%.
4. Are brands forgetting brand?
All these changes led to a new rise of performance marketing with marketers seeking instant validation and results. WARC had identified a 19% increase in investment in performance marketing in their marketer’s toolkit compared with the previous year. That came after educating the market on the long and short of it which calls for a 60-40 split.
Our ROI Genome shows there is a strong value in investing in brand, which tends to outperform product, promotion and functionality messaging 80% of the time. Brands mustn’t forget about long-term brand health while tracking short-term performance, no matter the disruption.
5. Trust in yourself – and your own data
When we speak about brands, channels, messaging, and promotions, we also need to consider our audience. With the death of the third-party cookie, addressing the right audience and tracking their way across channels becomes increasingly difficult. First-party CRM data is the key to success.
Activating, enhancing and optimising your data can make all the difference when creating campaigns and messaging. We’ve seen it with many clients who have used existing data, segmented it with our help and built segment-specific campaigns. Within a single market, one of our clients was able to push 10% of low value customers to a higher frequency profile, while 10% of their loyal customers with no recent purchase could be recovered. Four weeks of dedicated marketing campaigns supported the segment of new customers.
6. Seize the opportunities
Last but not least, it is all about creating new opportunities. Opportunities emerge from challenging times and 2020 was indeed challenging. As budgets were tightened and shifted, the rule book disappeared too. Many brands started trying new strategies or cemented their strategies.
To be successful in 2021 and way beyond, brands need to stay on that level of agility and constantly challenge their past ways. It’s never been good enough to just “do what we did last year”, so why would that be any different during a pandemic?
Kevin O’Farrell is associate vice president at Analytic Partners