There are many ways you can improve the results of your advertising campaign without increasing your investment. In over 30 years of managing advertising campaigns across a diverse set of industries here are some strategies we have found that can dramatically improve your results.
First: Develop more effective creative
Stephan Vogel, Ogilvy & Mather Germany’s chief creative officer says: “Nothing is more efficient than creative advertising. Creative advertising is more memorable, longer lasting, works with less media spending, and builds a fan community…faster.”
According to Nielsen 1, creativity drives 56% of a campaign’s sales ROI, and Google 2 reports that 70% of a campaign’s success is determined by the creative. Notice we did not say develop more expensive creative. Expensive advertising creative does not necessarily translate into more results.
Effective creative has critical elements that create desire and deliver response. One of the keys to creativity that produces results creative content that is solution-based and customer focused. When you show your prospects how you are going to help them solve a problem, save them time or money, or help them achieve their goals, then you have the foundation for solid creative.
Bad creative is vague. Have you ever watched or heard an ad and said to yourself “I have no idea what they are advertising.” That’s because the ad was vague. It did not give you any specifics to hold on to in order to move you from awareness to interest to action.
One way to deliver solution based creative is to have actual customer testimonials speaking about the experience they had and the benefit they received from your product or service. This gives you social proof. Social proof is a phenomenon where people follow and copy the actions of others in order to display accepted or correct behavior, based on the idea of normative social influence. This term was coined by Robert Cialdini, the same author who presented his six principles of persuasion. This helps your potential customer relate to your brand, feel comfortable using your service and sparks emotion. Testimonials are also usually very specific. They tell the before and after story of how your product or service actually delivered.
You also want to make sure your creative gives a call to action. Click here, call now, find out more, save now, act now, sign up here, get free information are just some simple three-word sentences that are powerful response drivers.
Second: Make sure you know your customer
Place your advertising where they watch, listen, read and spend their time. Do you know what motivates your typical customer to purchase? Do you know what they are passionate about or what emotions they are feeling when they are thinking about purchasing your product. Knowing customer motives will help guide both your creative and media decisions. In an article by Wes Morton titled “A marketers guide to modern media consumption by age group,” he gives these insightful and powerful insights.
- Tech adoption happens bottom up, from the youngest to oldest, necessitating new strategies to meet the younger generations where they are.
- As new generations mature into adulthood, their media habits crystalize while their buying power increases. Don’t forget about the wisest and biggest wallets in favor of chasing youth.
- No media really dies. Headlines like these are clickbait. The pie just shifts. Your marketing budget should reflect those consumer shifts.
Gen Z, people aged 12-25, are the socially conscious, woke, TikTok dancers that advertisers can’t talk enough about. This group can be boiled down to four channels: social, streaming TV, streaming music, and video games. That’s where 90% of your budget should go to reach ad land’s most desirable, youngest, and impressionable demographic. For young women, skew to streaming TV; for young men, invest more in video games. Social should be prioritized for each.
Millennials, consumers aged 26-44, embody digital disruption, inheriting their name from the millennia transition and Y2K. With the most dispersed media habits on our list, millennials epitomize the move to digital with the adoption of the internet, iPhone, and social. This shift has caused them to share media habits from both older and younger generations.
Gen X shares distributed media consumption with the millennial audience, albeit skewing toward older media forms like traditional TV. Curiously, Gen X also consumes the least amount of media at roughly eight hours. This generation is most likely to still have their pay TV bundles as well as new streaming TV subscriptions.
Gen X is busy. They are the most likely to be parents (of Gen Alpha) and occupy senior work positions. Although the least covered in advertising trades, they have the highest disposable income of any generation, according to the World Economic Forum.
Boomers love traditional TV. This is your dad who sends you clips from FOX News, CNN or MSNBC on how the country is going to hell. Boomers are the most likely to have pay TV packages, watching roughly 4.5 hours each day, almost 50% of their total media consumption.
When they are not parked in front of the TV, Boomers dabble in social media and streaming TV. All advertising that seeks to reach this audience should have TV buys baked in. The original TV generation are still the OG couch potatoes. They will have the cable plugged in for the foreseeable future but will slowly adopt new media to connect to post awkward comments to their kids and grandkids.
It’s not an understatement to say that the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically altered the way that we all lived our lives over the last year from how we watch TV to consumer spending habits. Some of those spending behaviors will most assuredly revert to the pre-pandemic norms as the country continues to open up, but at least 4 pandemic-inspired consumer spending shifts have become ingrained habits that are likely to stick around.
The folks at NielsenIQ recently conducted a study of millions of both in-person and online shopping occasions to identify which categories have demonstrated consistent and high-than-average growth in the periods post-pandemic when compared to pre-pandemic shopping periods. The data clearly shows sustained growth in 4 areas: cleaning and hygiene, experimental eating, new lifestyle adaptations, and an increased demand for convenience in shopping.
1. An Obsession With Cleanliness
During the heyday of the COVID-19 pandemic, disinfecting germs became a top priority for most people, leading to record levels of sales for cleaning and hygiene supplies including multipurpose cleaners, disinfectants, gloves, masks, and hand sanitizers. The aftermath of the pandemic has left us with a high number of self-described germaphobes indicating that the “cleanliness is paramount” mindset will remain and thus the increased sales for sanitizing products will continue into the future.
Another element factoring into the growth in demand for cleaning products was the homebound lifestyles brought on by the pandemic. More people spending the majority of their time at home, in addition to cooking at home, led to increased demand for kitchen and bath cleaners, floor care, and of course, paper products. As people return to the workplace, vacations, and more activities outside of the home, some of the heightened demand for these types of products is likely to wane.
2. Getting Creative in the Kitchen
One of the dramatic lifestyle shifts brought about by the pandemic was massive interest in home cooking. Shoppers took advantage of the opportunity to experiment with new recipes, foods, flavors, and ingredients. Among the items that enjoyed consistent in-store growth over the pandemic were seafood, plant-based meat alternatives, fresh herbs, and marinades, and industry experts expect to see these trends continue.
According to FMI’s most recent 2021 Power of Seafood report, a “surging tide of seafood buyers” resulted in a 28.4% increase in sales, which exceeded the sales growth of produce, meat, and deli departments. Seafood in all forms – frozen, fresh, and canned – generated over $16.6 billion in sales for food retailers in 2020. The report also found that the main motivator among for the increased consumption was a desire for healthier foods. Retailers can help sustain shopper interest in seafood going forward by focusing on the nutritional benefits of seafood, cooking tips, and meal ideas in their branding and marketing.
The biggest story when discussing shifts in the food industry centers on plant-based meat alternatives, which moved from obscurity to an important segment with sales increasing 25% in the one-year period from May 2020 to May 2021. During a time when people were searching for sustainable foods while cutting back on meat consumption, plant-based protein alternatives fit the bill, and this shift is expected to be a lasting one.
3. New Adaptations To Established Routines
While online retailers and grocery stores enjoyed huge gains when eating-at-home became the norm during the past year, the restaurant industry suffered major blows, resulting in billions of dollars of lost revenue and over 110,000 restaurant closures, according to the National Restaurant Association. Some of the hardest hit during the pandemic were coffee shops and breakfast establishments which lost out on business from school and work commuters. As people adjusted to leisurely mornings at home and home-brewed coffee, sales of breakfast foods grew. It is unclear whether these easygoing habits will remain or if morning routines will revert to pre-pandemic days as the country continues to open back up.
Aside from more cooks in America’s kitchens, the pandemic also necessitated a shift in beauty habits. Shoppers adopted a DIY attitude when it came to grooming and beauty and, and they increased experimentation with products that enhance natural beauty rather than covering or altering it. And this trend may be here to stay as shoppers have indicated that a good number of them plan to continue cutting and coloring their own hair and wearing less makeup overall.
Even while in-store purchases of beauty supplies and services declined, online purchases saw strong growth, particularly in DIY categories such as nail grooming and hair removal, which saw triple-digit growth in online sales.
4. Higher Demands for Simplicity and Convenience
After a year of extreme disruption, shoppers are keen to find ways to simplify their lives and daily routines. In addition to changing how consumers shopped – moving to online retailers and delivery services – the pandemic also greatly affected what they put into their carts. To begin with, demand for frozen food of every kind skyrocketed.
“Frozen foods were a pandemic powerhouse, bringing in $65.1 billion in retail sales in 2020, a 21% increase compared to a year ago,“ said AFFI president and CEO Alison Boder, who also noted that nearly all types of frozen foods saw double-digit sales increases. Shoppers appreciate the convenience of frozen foods, as well as the freshness and quality of frozen products which have evolved over time. Finally, frozen foods result in less food waste, an issue of increasing importance for many consumers. Signs indicate that the increased demand for frozen foods will continue long past the pandemic.
How to Nurture Consumer Spending Shifts
As we’ve seen above, several pandemic-inspired consumer spending habits continue to exhibit strong staying power, even as America is opening up and returning to normal. As in-store shopping regains some of its market shares, retailers can better position themselves to win by adjusting their approaches to marketing and meeting shopper’s needs by understanding how shopper mindsets and habits have evolved over the course of the past year.