The Top Post-Pandemic
As the world starts to take a collective sigh of relief, it’s time for marketers to start looking forward. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way people think about everyday life. What started as a questionable obsession with toilet paper has transformed into much deeper consumer insights. Life may never go back to the way it was. The same could be said for television media and TV advertising. Some marketers will resent it, others will fall victim to it. But the smart ones will embrace it. Let’s take a look at the post-pandemic trends that have taken hold of 2021 and beyond.
The Digital Takeover
Let’s be clear, we were heading down this road regardless. It was only a matter of time before consumers accepted and adopted the ubiquity of e-commerce. However, the pandemic accelerated this digital transformation, seemingly, overnight. As a result, customers now expect a near-perfect omni-channel customer experience when completing online transactions with brands. Anything less than a seamless online transaction can be enough to lose a customer.
The Path Forward
Companies need to make sure their digital presence is buttoned up and consumer-friendly. For starters, you should walk yourself through your customer’s digital experience. Go to your website and chat online with one of your reps. Interact with your chatbot. Buy something online. Did any of those things require you to think? If so, your digital experience might not be as easy as it should be.
We’re All Connected To Our TVs
Speaking of digital, the lockdown sparked a digital streaming binge. Connected TV felt more prevalent than ever. Streaming platforms like HBO Max and NBC’s Peacock launched while we were stuck at home. Movies that would usually debut in theaters were now going straight to streaming services. However, the platforms aren’t the only things that connect us to our TV. Over The Top TV (OTT TV), which refers to the smart devices like Amazon FireStick and Roku, allow us to stay connected.
The OTT market size in 2020 was $171.36 billion. This number is projected to balloon to $1,039.03 billion by 2027, which is a higher projection than the pre-Covid estimate. Television media was expecting this shift, but as with all things digital, the pandemic put things into super drive. In fact, 78% of U.S consumers were using a subscription video on demand service in 2020, an increase of more than 25% in four years.
The Path Forward
Marketers should review their media plan to see if buying time on Connected TV makes sense. It’s important to be where your customers are. If your 2021 media dollars are all in traditional TV, your television advertising budget could likely be optimized by adding CTV.
Steve Dubane, Founder and CEO of Wingman Media, calls CTV a game-changer for digital-first advertisers looking to expand into television advertising. “CTV allows you to use first party data and third party data sets to hyper-target your audience, thus making your tv buys more efficient and the creative more relevant than what’s possible with traditional television advertising.”
What’s In Store For In-Store Visits?
We just spent a year not wanting anyone to come within six feet of us. It’s understandable why people were hesitant to shop in-store at all in 2020. Paired with the previously discussed rise in e-commerce and it can leave many wondering about the future of in-store retail. According to the U.S Census Bureau, Americans spent $791.7 billion during 2020 on e-commerce, up 32.4% from 2019. Furthermore, a recent survey revealed almost half of respondents won’t visit stores “for some time” or “for a long time.” But don’t hit the panic button just yet.
It’s important to note that this survey was conducted in April 2020, when cases were still rising. In fact, brick and mortars have been surprisingly resilient. Since 2016, brick and mortar sales grew at 3% annually. But in the past 12 months, that rate jumped to 6.5%. Consumers may start to feel more comfortable shopping in stores in 2021 as cases continue dropping, vaccinations increase, and restrictions ease.
The Path Forward
For now, make sure your customers are aware of your e-commerce sites so they can readily give you their business. It’s also important to note that in-store shopping is generally preferred over online when it comes to big ticket purchases. Consider using TV advertising to help drive your in-store traffic. Maybe an in-store only promotion will be just the push your customers need to pay you a visit in person again.
Relationships Are More Important Than Ever
COVID-19 forced us to rely on video conferencing to do business. As we’ve almost all experienced, virtual meetings come with their own set of challenges. Shotty WiFi, multiple people speaking at once, cameo appearances by loved ones, fur babies and our kiddos – we’ve been through it all. We’ve also had to translate in-person synergy and chemistry to the digital realm. As a result, our existing relationships and prior bonds with customers have been critical for business.
Furthermore, attracting new customers requires an evolved skillset focused on consumer insights and solutions. Gone are the days of selling people purely based off charm. You now have to build trust by truly listening to your customers and crafting a solution that fits their needs.
The Path Forward
If your TV advertising promises something, make sure you make good on that promise in your virtual meeting. By now, we’re all pretty familiar with video conferencing, but it’s imperative that your sales team and customer service reps know how to lead and navigate a virtual meeting. In 2021, be prepared with facts, data, and consumer insights. It’s time to sell the steak, not the sizzle.
Agility Is Key
In the words of Bruce Lee, “be water, my friend.” Just like with the sudden need for virtual meetings, during the pandemic companies learned how to pivot, pivot, and pivot some more. Your bulletproof marketing plan that worked for decades all of the sudden became irrelevant. You may have had TV advertising featuring your employees with no masks that immediately needed to be pulled. Your television media plan was centered around pro sports before the seasons were paused. Your adorable brick and mortar café now relies solely on deliveries. Most successful companies accepted the reality in front of them and quickly pivoted messaging to support it. This lesson shouldn’t be soon forgotten.
The Path Forward
In 2021, businesses should cut down on the red tape and prolonged lead times to be more agile in their decision making, especially in key areas like creative, budgeting, and media. Take a look at your approval processes. Is there an individual or department that doesn’t need to be involved? Are there meetings that could be emails? Identify what may be bottlenecking your process and figure out how to smoothly transition away from it.
Doing Good Is Good For Business
This past year was a lot to handle. Both 2020 and 2021 have seen their fair share of political, social, health, and world issues. Consumers are now more interested than ever before in where companies stand on these topics. Furthermore, customers now prefer to do business with companies that try and do good. A 2020 survey showed that 60% of consumers were making more eco-friendly, sustainable, or ethical purchases since the start of the pandemic.
The Path Forward
Take a look at your company. Is there a cause you currently support that your customers don’t know about? Is there a way that you can make your business more eco-friendly? Are you willing to voice your political stance? The answers to these questions must make sense for your business. Sometimes the answers can be found in your company’s core values. If the cause isn’t relevant to your company, your efforts will look inauthentic and performative.
Brand Loyalty Is Slipping Away
Loyalty, it’s a fickle beast. The pandemic appeared to bring on a change in consumer behavior, with almost half of consumers trying new brands. Another study showed that 73% of respondents have tried new shopping behaviors since the start of COVID-19. Consumers cited value, convenience, and availability as the primary factors for choosing where to shop.
The Path Forward
Marketers should look to invest more into loyalty and retention marketing to incentivize their customers to stay. Furthermore, marketers can view this as an opportunity to steal customers away from their competitors. What promotions can you run to welcome new customers and encourage them to leave the brands they were once loyal to? It’s also worth encouraging your customers to endorse your company online and on social media. This is especially important for big ticket items, niche products and other considered purchases as consumers look for real reviews before pulling the trigger.
Adjusting To The New Normal
The entire world went through a massive transformation this past year, for better and worse. Television media and TV advertising are agile tools with the right team behind them, adjustable to best serve market conditions. Make sure your digital presence is buttoned up and consider advertising on Connected TV. Let your customers know about your e-commerce sites while still encouraging them to shop in-store with promotions. Focus on your relationships with your customers and make sure your product or service meets expectations. Stay agile and cut down lead times. Consider a cause that your company can support and make sure your customers are aware of your efforts. Lastly, encourage customer loyalty and endorsements to keep your existing base and attract new customers. By studying the post-pandemic trends, you can help your business thrive in our new normal.
Looking to start advertising in the post-pandemic world? Consult with the experts. Contact us today to see how we can help you grow your business and adjust to life after COVID.