The unfortunate COVID-19 new-wave has emerged not too long ago in Thailand. This new wave gave the chill to many marketers across many categories, as IPG Mediabrands observes the industry investment pauses temporarily in media spending and postponements of some activities.
Nearly one year ago, marketers experienced “D/I/S/T/A/N/C/E consumer,” the disruption in consumer’s behavior identified by IPG Mediabrands’ Chief Strategy Officer, Dr. Sora Kaitkanarat (Click to read “Envisioning Post COVID-19 Pandemic in Thailand The Era of D●I●S●T●A●N●C●E Consumers with 8 Emerging Behaviors Creating the “New Normal” to Last in Thai Society” article). Those eight emerging behaviors become a new normal that still exists today. The direct effect of the pandemic, together with the financial solutions to economically support Thais, has fastened the digital adoptions of Thai consumers beyond any other disruptions. According to the Global Web Index, 83.6% of Thai internet users age between 16 to 64 had bought something online. This online purchasing behavior places Thailand’s eCommerce penetration at the top three globally, which is the continuum behavior since the pandemic. Such continuum raises the question that, “could marketer immune to the new wave of COVID-19?”
The true plasma in creating immunity to marketing 2021 could very well be generated from an in-depth analysis of the symptoms and specified vaccines to prevent them. Chief Strategy Officer of IPG Mediabrands (Thailand) has identified seven critical symptoms to the ill marketing results that could very well cure by the seven key strategies, which are;
|S||Stagnant conversion||V||Vertical funnel|
|Y||Yoyo promotion||A||Activate Branding|
|M||Measuring measurement||C||Commercial Strategy|
|P||Personalized mess||C||Customize marketing|
|T||Total data flooding||I||Intellectual data management|
|O||Omnichannel spending||N||Navigate Conversion|
|M||Managing profit at cost||E||Expand the horizon|
Stagnant conversion: Vertical funnel
Consumers are more conscious and cautious in purchasing products and services, even in necessary daily items. There is less autopilot-buying and less impulsive purchase. Many brands have been doing price promotions in an attempt to maintain sales at cost. However, since the consumers have more access to compare products and reevaluate value, they take more time to make a purchasing decision. Focusing on the lower-funnel of the purchasing journey cannot be truly effective in converting consumers to purchase.
The first vaccine to the 2021 marketing is to analyze ‘Vertical funnel,’ starting from (1) awareness, (2) interest, (3) consideration, (4) intent, (5) value evaluation, and (6) sale. The result of the full-funnel analysis can lead to the right solutions to the sale drop. In various cases, price is not the top barrier that stops conversion, as consumers start to reevaluate the value of such a product to their needs. In such a case, providing relevant benefits to enhance the value equation could give a more effective anti-dose than lowering the price.
Yoyo promotion: Activate Branding
Several categories are facing price and promotion wars where consumers only purchase when there is a promotion. Even so, several types of promotion create a yoyo effect on the brand by diluting the brand value and driving down the profit margin. Arguably, real-time marketing and agility have been the driving force of marketing in the digital era. However, branding has been lost along the way. To cure the yoyo effect from restless promotion, re-activating the high-level brand communication into the daily content could heal the wound of brand value.
Brand value management is crucial in 2021 marketing as it enhances and sustains brand loyalty and elevates superiority to other competitors. The balance between the short-term goal and long-term value is the vaccine for the negative yoyo impact from promotion.
Measuring measurement: Commercial Strategy
Digital marketing widens the opportunity for marketers to pick the right tool for the right objectives. However, with the overwhelming number of tech tools, which come with countless measurements, it’s crucial to rethink the purpose.
The specific relation between the measurement and strategy is fundamentally crucial. Marketers could easily be caught in the hype of having sophisticated AdTech and MarTech. 2021 is the best time to get back to the essence of marketing, which is commercial strategy. By identifying the overarching strategy, marketers can identify the right measurement in which can be addressed by specific digital tools. By reprioritizing the planning flow, marketers can give immunity to the misled measurement hazard.
Personalized mess: Customize marketing
Connecting one-on-one at scale is an ideal approach for digital marketing with the aim to create hyper relevancy. However, with the capability of today’s data management, there could potentially be more personalize connectives than necessary.
The solution to maximizing the impact of a personalized approach is the marketing strategy that must also be customized—beginning with customizing the target by prioritizing the segmented consumers into a “High-Value Audience.” HVA is the most likely consumer that will impact the business results. With the top High-Value Audiences, the customized marketing strategy addressing each segment will enhance the results. The holistically personalized approach from target, strategy, content, and media injects the immunity to cure the missing link in personalize marketing.
Total data flooding: Intellectual data management
Having a data management platform (DMP) and collecting first-party data are the main bloodlines of digital solutions. The real data is an asset that many marketers aim to have as much as possible. However, this could lead to data flooding. Before investing in DMP or collecting first-party data, the key to make or break the success is data strategy.
The traditional 5V’s big data characteristics remain solid, Volume, Velocity, Variety, Veracity, and Value. To have ‘Valuable’ data, marketers must identify the purpose of owning data and usage strategy to impact long-term business results. By having a strategic framework and data strategy, the approach to data collection will be purposeful and focused, which will enhance the value of data to the business as well as optimizing eloquent investment.
Omnichannel spending: Navigate Conversion
Omnichannel media and omnichannel retailing have become the standard approach to today’s marketing. The path to both concepts could be a double edges sword since they both open opportunities for consumers and, at the same time, heighten the marketing investment. Arguably, some of the channels within the mix could potentially be just the placebo option.
To remove the placebo effect and keep only the effective vaccine within the omnichannel mix, marketers must analyze the full-funnel consumer behaviors to identify the ‘way-in,’ ‘drop-out,’ and conversion point along the decision journey. Utilizing such behavioral results will create the purposeful omnichannel approach that has a specific role and focus for each touchpoint to navigate consumers to convert to the brand and remaining in the loyalty loop.
Managing profit at cost: Expand the horizon
A significant part of successful marketing is all about sacrifice, only focuses on what matters most. Many marketers, during the economic slowdown, choose to lower the price or shift focus to smaller pack sizes to sustain profits and market share across all SKUs. Other marketers decide to exercise the 80/20 rule to manage only top SKUs where the top 20 products usually generate an 80% contribution to total sales.
With the power of digital communication in 2021, there is a profound potential to shine up the hidden gems. Through demand analysis of the market, particular niche SKUs or the low-profile SKUs could also become a lifesaver. By expanding the focus along the horizon of products portfolio that comes with various unique benefits, there is an opportunity that one specific product could match the unmet need of a particular consumer segment, which makes this opportunity becomes achievable through one-on-one marketing at scale.
All these symptoms are the list of a health check for the brand that these vaccines could protect. The S/Y/M/P/T/O/M & V/A/C/C/I/N/E model is purposefully created to help marketers cope with the new way of 2021. “2021 will be another tough year for marketers as there are various remaining unrest situations. The situation is unrested, but marketers must take at least a short rest to reevaluation the situation, approach, and strategy. So that, the marketers can create immunity to the tough situations to come,” said Dr. Sora Kaitkanarat.
Sora Kaitkanarat, Ph.D., Chief Strategy Officer – IPG Mediabrands (Thailand).
Mediabrands is the media and marketing solutions division of Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG). Mediabrands manages approximately $40 billion in marketing investment globally on behalf of its clients across its full-service agency networks UM and Initiative and through its award-winning specialty business units Reprise, MAGNA, Orion Holdings, Rapport, Healix, and the IPG Media Lab. Mediabrands clients include many of the world’s most recognizable and iconic brands from a broad portfolio of industry sectors including automotive, personal finance, consumer product goods (CPG), pharma, health and wellness, entertainment, financial services, energy, toys, and gaming, direct to consumer and e-commerce, retail, hospitality, food and beverage, fashion and beauty. The company employs more than 13,000 diverse marketing communication professionals in more than 130 countries.