(By Bob McCurdy) We tend to run at a fast pace, so it is easy to overlook some of the more important marketing trends over the past year that can help us to provide clients with more competent advertising direction.
What follows highlights three key trends to review with clients as a smarter and well-versed client is always a better client:
- There is clearly a resurgence in the appreciation of a powerful “brand” persona that provides consumers with reasons to buy beyond price.
- Targeting has its limitations and inclusiveness (reach) is good. This theme continues to pick up momentum.
- There’s been an over reliance on instant gratification and short-term results.
Kraft-Heinz results: A return to sound marketing theory
Food giant Kraft Heinz discussed in its latest quarterly results call why its innovation and sales activations led to the brand’s woes and why it’s now re-focusing on building brands and growing from the core.
Comment: Re-balancing and appreciating the importance of “brands” versus focusing on discounting and price promotion.
Old Navy refocuses marketing on brand
Old Navy is re-evaluating its marketing approach, having concluded that a focus on price is counter-productive. “We had frankly become too heavily dependent on messaging around discounting, as opposed to bigger picture brand messaging focus on product and value that we know resonates with the Old Navy consumer,” CFO Teri List-Stoll said. Brands are re-assessing how they balance their spending in response to a crisis of short-termism, and an over investment in performance (promotional) marketing. This is set to be a major trend for 2020. Seventy percent of marketers agree that brands have over-invested in performance (promotion) at the expense of brand building.
Comment: Ditto comment above.
Adidas Runs Backwards
Adidas admits that a focus on efficiency rather than effectiveness led it to over-focus on ROI at the expense of brand building.
Comment: There’s a big difference between “cost efficient” and “cost effective”.
Canvas Worldwide CEO Paul Woolmington: “There is also a pendulum swing in the media space, where companies have lately over-indexed on the lower end of the funnel on the so-called “consumer journey”. And those companies have done so at the expense of the brand itself.”
Comment: Put the focus on developing the “brand” and not solely on short-term promotional/price discounting.
LinkedIn Finds That Digital Marketers Are Too Hasty to Try to Determine ROI
Marketers are short-changing their efforts by trying to measure ROI much too quickly, according to a new study by LinkedIn. A the same time, Forrester sees CMOs re-balancing their strategies away from an emphasis on short-term activation and putting more money into creative that builds long-term brand differentiation.
Comment: It takes time for commercial messaging and “life” to kick in the need for a product/service. The impact of a campaign does not end the day the campaign does. A strong brand image matters.
The crisis in creative effectiveness
The pursuit of creative awards has encouraged and rewarded a short-term mind-set, even though a short-term focus means those campaigns will inevitably under-perform in the long term. According to Peter Field’s work, the impact of award-winning creative is now at its lowest level in the 24 years largely as a result of short-term thinking that has led to eye-catching, but ultimately “disposable”, messaging.
Comment: Short-term impact is often the exact opposite of the long-term impact. The Eagles had it right it is about The Long Run.
Martyn Bentley, UK Commercial Director at the MarTech firm AudienceProject:
“Just because you can micro-target, it doesn’t mean it’s the only thing you should do.”
Comment: Growth comes from not by only marketing to the “interested”. Several large (multi-million $$) econometric studies have been conducted and one of the consistent findings was that reach was more important than targeting.
The business case for inclusive brands
“If you’re in a low-growth business right now, inclusion and diversity is your way to connect with an audience that’s been unreached, and that has not been engaged with. And they’re begging for you to engage with them.” – Fiona Carter, chief brand officer at telecoms firm AT&T.
When brands approach marketing in an open-minded way, amazing things can happen. Sporting goods stores will stop spending their entire budget on ads in sports magazines when they discover that moms are the ones buying the gear for their kids. The auto dealer will move more metal when they realize that their trading area is larger than thought and that the next town over is filled with potential customers who would drive a few extra miles for a good deal.
Comment: New targeting capabilities are great but if you are not reaching enough people to grow your business, you’re going to have issues. Always be thinking, “Who else?”
How ads protect auto brands’ market share
Results suggest that the decay of market share was pronounced and more rapid when a brand was not advertising, according to their paper, “The impact of advertising on market share: Controlling clutter, familiarity and goodwill decay”. When the brand was not advertising, market shares fell significantly.
Comment: Obvious, but important. Visibility out-performs invisibility. The absent are rarely remembered or shopped. When businesses go “dark”, revenue plummets.
Being “professional marketers who sell” means we should remain on top of the latest marketing trends/developments. There’s a lot of good stuff above to assist us in guiding our clients down the path of more productive advertising in 2020. The more our clients view us as marketing experts the more comfortable they will be with our recommended solutions. A win-win for all.