Marketing, like all other departments in organisations, has seen rapid evolution in the past decade. COVID has further accelerated many of these trends and led to the birth of a few new ones.
Some of the biggest changes in Marketing in the past decade have been:
1. The rise of Digital as a cost-effective medium of disseminating your Brand messaging has been growing slowly but steadily in relevance. Some estimates reveal that while TV continues to be the lead medium, Digital now attracts upwards of 10% of all Media Investments.
2. Engagement & not just Advertising: Advertising which conventionally means communicating your Brand proposition in order to generate demand, has gradually started being complimented by Engagement, which is Brands participating in conversations that Consumers are interested in.
3. Influencers as Media: With the rise in media fragmentation & difficulties in reaching out to niche TGs, Influencers are emerging as key media devices for reaching out to an engaged target group.
4. Store as Media: Growth of Modern Trade has led to Shelf Ready Packs & Innovative Point of Buying Elements as a low-cost approach to Brand building rather than conventional mass media campaigns.
5. Innovations through pilots instead of research. Given the large number of product opportunities, many companies are reducing the time of launch by learning through pilots rather than conventional research
The COVID scenario has accelerated some of these changes or impacted others in unconventional ways.
A few top observations of these changes were observed during the lockdown and a few that I expect to stick.
Firstly, the lack of consumer mobility has given a further setback to conventional second-line media elements like Print, Radio, and Outdoor and all 3 have lost significantly to TV & Digital.
One of the big benefits to Digital has been the further strengthening of smart TVs, OTT devices, and Video Streaming platforms. This has only given greater prominence to Digital.
With a massive rise in Digital consumption with consumers under lockdown, and with limited opportunities for entertainment, the role of engagement has become even stronger. Platforms such as Instagram, Tic Toc, Facebook, and LinkedIn have seen a never-before consumer interest and hence a record number of Brands have explored new ways of engaging with consumers.
With Celebrities & Influencers alike under lockdown, we have seen many mainline Celebrities turning into influencers with huge interest and participation in Brand campaigns online.
The role of Store as media may have taken a bit of a back seat with limited shopping missions however, there has been a huge rise in Direct to Consumer initiatives, E-commerce platforms like Big Basket, Milk Basket, and deliveries through Dunzo have had a never-seen-before boom. Ecommerce is now a relevant part of the playbook of every Sales & Marketing Professional today.
Lastly, the last 3 months have seen an amazing surge of innovation across both Hygiene & Food Sectors with massively crunched timelines, both to take advantage of current opportunities, also in the face of limited opportunities for conventional research.
Many of the changes are learnt behaviour and once consumers, brands & celebrities all learn new ways of engaging, these trends will only accelerate, grow & lead to an even more colourful marketing landscape.