By Gary Taylor, deputy managing director, tmwi
While the last six months have had a negative impact on so many businesses across the board, there is now much talk of the acceleration effect, namely the positive changes that have come out of the challenges of 2020.
Many business leaders report having implemented behaviours or strategies that, in the normal course of life as we knew it, may have taken five or more years to come to fruition. Take working from home: whether you love or loathe the home office, it would have taken many years to become as widely accepted as it is today had we not all been forced into it.
And, often through sheer chance alone, for every business that has suffered losses through Covid, there will be another that has reported a strong year, mainly those whose business models lend themselves to our new lifestyles.
Ecommerce is one such sector. We have seen a rise in Direct To Consumer brands popping up, and I’ve no doubt that many have launched sooner than they might have intended, simply to take advantage of the situation.
Bother is one great example. The online grocer expedited its launch back in May at a time when households were fighting it out for home delivery slots as lockdown kept us out of the supermarket wherever possible. There has also been movement at Waitrose, as they parted ways with Ocado and signed a partnership instead with Deliveroo, which will see half a million consumers get access to key Waitrose products through their local Deliveroo service. And across the Atlantic Walmart is taking on its rival Amazon with the launch of a subscription programme that offers unlimited free delivery from its stores.
If commanding great swathes of the world to stay at home for prolonged periods of time was going to do anything for our lifestyles, the rapid rise of convenience retail was surely going to be the most certain outcome. But in the wake of these new partnerships marketers must now be quick to readjust their strategies to reflect the altered consumer mindset.
The rise of convenience shopping has set the bar yet higher in the fight for attention. When enough retailers are doing it well, others have no choice but to up their game – if someone has a bad experience on your site, they will find another outlet for their hard earned cash. Thanks to the digitisation of our lives, the consumer attention span has become so short that even a slow loading website, or a clunky checkout, will put them off.
The result is that brands have a brief window in which to impress. The path from consideration to purchase has become shorter, with decisions often made quicker and more impulsively. Marketers must have the ability to read, digest and translate data efficiently, and then project the results onto their campaigns through optimisation.
By accessing a wide range of data and, crucially, understanding what it is telling you, brands have the ability to continually optimise their media and marketing strategies, making seemingly minor adjustments that can have a significant impact on audience behaviour and the efficiency of the campaign budget.
At tmwi we operate an audience management platform and data refinery, in which a team of specialists analyses our client’s business and extracts what is often siloed first party data in order to improve a brand’s messaging and refine their targeting.
Programmatic activation of channels – perhaps marketing’s own version of convenience shopping – can then be implemented to drive the brand’s potential across digital environments. Rather than relying on automation, marketers should be using data signals to serve highly relevant creative to audiences by combining the curation of tech platforms with the expertise of their team and agency partners.
As much as retailers must ensure their online shopping experience is slick, smooth and speedy, and that they are offering everything the customer has come to expect, so too must agencies deliver the same standards for their clients.
The beneficiaries of the Covid-acceleration effect do not need to be limited to those businesses whose offering lends itself to our new methods of consumption. With the right application of data and strategic planning there are no consumer-facing brands who cannot also reap the rewards.