Consumer behaviours have arguably changed more in the last 18 months than ever before, as trends that were in their early phases before the pandemic have been accelerated by the shift to hybrid working for a considerable proportion of the population.
This has had profound impacts on high street retail sales and consumers’ use of physical leisure venues. Ecommerce and online subscription services have grown rapidly, meanwhile; as has adoption of technology, including shifts in how we consume TV streaming services, which are now mainstream. And that’s not even to mention the number of new pet owners. Add to that shifts around the environmental agenda and the unbalanced impact on how certain professions and regions have been impacted financially, and those changes look as though they are here to stay.
However, if we challenge ourselves as marketers, in the same timeframe how much have we adapted our own thinking to understand who our brands’ new consumers are, and how our existing loyal customers’ circumstances have changed?
If brands wish to make a step change in their use of location intelligence, they need to think beyond just planning door drops.
One area growing in importance is the utilisation of more intelligent location-based insights to support marketers’ efforts to adapt. With the growth in consumer and business information that contains a spatial element, it is now highly likely there is a location dimension to most marketing challenges, regardless of whether or not there are physical sites involved.
If brands wish to make a step change in their use of location intelligence, they need to think beyond just planning door drops. To make full use of the data available and get the best understanding of consumers, marketers should be analysing the demographic data of geographical areas, linking it to the behaviour profiles of target consumers, and then overlaying competitor insights.
Here are some examples of how this approach can generate competitive advantage for brands:
Getting a broader view of direct-to-consumer opportunities
FMCG brands have traditionally relied on distributors and retailers to reach their buyers, however as online commerce continues to grow, we have seen manufacturers shift towards forging routes to market that allow consumers to buy direct, rather than through retailers. Dyson and Unilever are just two key exponents of this strategy, with the latter’s ecommerce sales growing by 61% in its latest financial year.
However they will still only see a small percentage of their overall buyers come through direct routes. Linking purchasing trends through store data, or mapping back to audience intent data through research panels, allows for a broader view of where core category buyers are. These insights can be used at a geographical level to increase efficiency of digital media, making ad targeting more accurate, increasing click-through rates and therefore improving ROI.
More audience insight for out-of-home ads
By linking analysis of their current customer trends and profiles to out-of-home inventory, advertisers can increase their ability to reach their target audience, and potentially segment messaging.
Experian’s recently announced partnership with Talon Outdoor shows how this can be done. Brands can combine the billions of consented location data points in Talon’s data management platform with the audience characteristics and preferences profiled in Experian’s Audience Engine platform. This enables them to understand their audiences’ OOH exposure while gaining a richer view on consumer movement across the UK.
Understanding growth opportunities in global markets
For global marketers, the challenges are more complex as they look for consistent audience data to allow them to compare potential markets across multiple countries. This cross-territory information has traditionally been difficult to source, however Carto’s partnership with Experian demonstrates the type of insight now available.
By making use of insight on population demographics and expenditure globally, planners can confidently pull together plans to assess areas of high growth potential, and hence maximise marketing investment where they have to work within operational or budgetary constraints.
Stealing a march on competitors
Understanding which consumers are likely to buy from your brand and also your competitors means that advertisers can identify areas where you could most fruitfully direct your spend to grow penetration. With tactical deployment of targeted advertising and specific brand messaging, advertisers can better compete to increase market share.
Overall, it’s plain to see there’s no reversion to ‘normal’ behaviour for consumers in these hopefully late stages of the Covid pandemic. Instead there has been an evolution, and at an accelerated pace compared to the trends we were expecting to see back in 2019.
As such, business as usual is not an option for brands and marketers. They need new intelligence to keep up with the new consumer trends, and the understanding they can gain by combining location data with other sources of insight is now indispensable to succeeding in their markets.
To learn more about consumer trends in 2022, join Experian’s webinar, ‘Turning consumer insight into action’, on 18 January 2022 at 10am GMT.