Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "Leveraging Marketing Trends in an Ongoing Pandemic," reevaluates the ability to leverage key advertising trends during an ongoing and evolving pandemic, as they relate and in conjunction with five emerging consumer habits in 2021. The latest surge in cases, hospitalizations, and loss of life are key indicators that we are just not out of the woods yet. It is important to remember that keeping a watchful eye on the economy can generate as many opportunities as it impedes. Excluding any preconceived notions about COVID-19 or the media coverage detailing the state of the pandemic evolution, the ongoing recovery during this period should motivate businesses to seek and create opportunities that grow revenues.
Our Quote of the Day: "Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don't let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity." — R. I. Fitzhenry
Consumer Spend Recovered
McKinsey & Company's most recent report, dated August 19, 2021, signaled that US consumer spending would recover in 2Q22. One of the observations in the report states that the spending recovery is "driven by the confluence of increasing vaccination rates, stimulus payments in March 2021, an optimistic outlook toward economic recovery, and the general reopening of the economy. Consumers' pent-up demand and willingness to spend in some discretionary categories caused spending to grow 20 to 30 percent year over year, reaching 4 to 7 percent above pre-COVID-19 levels. While lower- and middle-income consumers drove much of the spending increase through the spring of 2021, we now see a change, with the recent increase coming primarily from higher-income groups."
One other note of significance is the brand loyalty factor. For decades, brand and marketer advertising initiatives' primary purpose was to create brand loyalty, and to a large degree, brand loyalty continues to be of high value for marketing considerations. However, new data obtained from the McKinsey report highlights that consumer behavior is adjusting as the economy reopens. Up to 30 to 40 percent of consumers continue to switch brands or retailers, which is driven first and foremost by younger consumers looking for the best value, in conjunction with more emphasis on purpose-driven alignment and quality.
This value-driven consumer ideology is an opportunity for brands and marketers to leverage a higher level of brand loyalty by incorporating marketing themes that speak to best value propositions, superior quality, and a purpose-driven mentality that helps to solve life challenges and make life better as a result. As the digital landscape is in a solid growth mode, marketers can achieve another marketing option to leverage this opportunity by adding personalized direct mail. Direct mail can be the driver for pointing consumers to online marketing destinations and further ensure that direct mail recipients who have read the offer are directed to online content to find and fulfill product purchasing.
Five 2021 Emerging Consumer Marketing Trends
(1) To begin with, consumer spending has recovered 2Q21. Moreover, the spending trend is clocking in at a growth rate of 20-30% year-over-year. When we look at pre-pandemic levels, there is a 4.7% year-over-year growth versus the pre-Covid-19 growth trajectory. Everyone should note that the uptick in consumer spending is partly due to the Biden Administration Covid Relief Bill, which put dollars into the pockets of millions for unemployment, along with free loans for businesses.
Further, many organizations conclude that they can add value and pricing considerations to the marketing strategy to leverage the current economic spending.
(2) e-Commerce is continuing to sustain growth at 35% plus year-over-year. Equally surprising, brick and mortar have recovered an additional 5% year-over-year growth from March through June. Both the digital and physical retail sales are in line with overall heightened consumer spending.
For marketers, this means that brands can merge marketing communications into a full-fledged offering that combines e-commerce and brick-and-mortar communications. As we keep a watchful eye on the effects of the emerging variants, package deliveries will continue to be of prime importance, with an added focus on securing third-party lettershop and fulfillment providers.
(3) As we have learned from the last major economic downturn, recoveries have demonstrated that they can be disjointed as not all sectors recover equally or are in lockstep. This economic recovery is no different in that there is evidence of a disparate recovery afoot.
For example, there is sustained momentum in a few categories, such as home-and-work-from-home-related needs, a normalizing performance recovery in grocery, and strong growth in consumers splurging after vaccination, where cosmetics and travel is surging. Creative marketers can leverage this recovery theme for the vaccinated with ideas such as special pricing, invitation-only social gatherings, and discounts for home supplies and renovations.
(4) We stated earlier that a loyalty challenge was growing, particularly among younger consumers. Most notably, 30-40% of younger consumers, especially millennials and GenZ, are set on switching brands or retailers if they don't hold the same values. This presents a golden opportunity for brands and marketers to create value-oriented campaigns for products while reducing the footprint of climate change and improving the overall environment. Value-based campaigns aren't necessarily driven by pricing alone. People will pay for an excellent product that provides top-of-line value. Pricing considerations are complicated when the marketing communication leads with pricing versus establishing value upfront. Value-based campaigns that target making life easier or better are the leaders that garner the most attention.
(5) The work-from-home dictate put forward by many businesses at the start of the lockdown in 2020 has generated another economy independent of other economic considerations. McKinsey refers to this economy as the "Homebody Economy."
In the homebody economy, 28% of consumers have invested and created new spaces for use in their primary domicile. Another 70% of companies are planning to continue some form of remote working even after the demise of this pandemic.
Savvy marketers and brands can take advantage of this trend by leveraging products and services that align with the "homebody." Unique rebranding product lines that demonstrate how they work for the 'Homebody' will go a long way here. New couches for couch potatoes come to mind.
As you may have guessed, email marketing is still useful and here to stay. This communication channel is responsible for over 230 billion messages per day! Multiple disciplines effectively utilize email marketing, including commercial, non-profits, personal, industrial, scientific, transportation, legal, and academic. During the pandemic, it is vitally important to create personalized email messages geared toward specific communications. Automated email responses driven by AI are also highly effective.
When a user is searching or browsing for a particular product or service, an automated personalized email response that includes or follows up with a promotional price or an explanatory video can be a game-changer. Interactive Content
When users can engage and interact with online content, the marketing world gives that engagement high marks, especially as an effective method for educating potential buyers. Now and throughout 2021, more organizations will look to create interactive content, including quizzes, polls, 360-degree videos, and augmented reality ads designed to engage and build momentum in the channel.
Omnichannel marketing is the execution whereby you publish content across multiple platforms. These platforms can include direct mail, email, apps, social media platforms, websites, and blogs. Omnichannel marketing is no longer an afterthought. This undertaking allows brands to connect with prospects and customers across various touchpoints, thus increasing and improving the personalized user experience.
Direct Mail Marketing
Direct mail marketing is the execution whereby you create and mail personalized printed content to individuals, groups, zip codes, demographics, and more. This platform is based on data compilation and uses variable data printing technology to create individual print collateral for a heightened personalized communication experience. This undertaking allows brands to connect with prospects and customers, directing them to various touchpoints, thus increasing and improving the user experience.
Leveraging Marketing Trends
By leveraging emerging marketing trends during a pandemic, a brand can improve its overall ability to reach more, particularly the invisible consumer. In all likelihood, prospects who see marketing messages across various channels tend to respond much better. Besides, keeping the brand's name and content in front of folks in an ongoing fashion across many consumer touchpoints will reap the benefits of establishing brand visibility over the long term. The other critical aspect is that brand messaging should be solution-based and built around caring for the needs and wishes of prospects and customers, regardless of the demographic. When a brand says, "We feel your pain," and have solutions to ease that pain, that is when the brand magic happens.
While the nation continues to learn how to co-exist in the short term during this evolving pandemic, the business will continue, and new growth opportunities will arise. Each time a door closes, a new one opens. That's life! And to that end, re-focusing and reimagining new opportunities will significantly aid in creating new marketing strategies and tactics. Thanks for reading "Leveraging Marketing Trends in an Ongoing Pandemic."
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