With the countdown to the UK’s second national lockdown well and truly under way, senior figures in the marketing industry insist that brands must learn the lessons of the first lockdown and tap into their customer data to finetune the targeting of their campaigns.
Yesterday, the Advertising Association joined calls for greater clarity from the Government over its Covid road map amid fears the industry will suffer yet another decline in the run up to Christmas; one of the most crucial times for advertising and marketing activity.
However, Blueberry Wave chief executive Steve Mattey said that if the sector can take any positives out of the current lockdown at all, “it is that we have seen this before and have quite a bit of certainty about what consumers will be doing”.
He continued: “We know through data where they browse, how, when and what they are consuming in video-on-demand and social media, and what has worked in online and offline channels during the last lockdown. So for me, making use of response and contextual data for driving online targeted advertising will be crucial – ensuring that the nature, type, timing and tone of the message is all built in using this insight.
“We have the most significant annual shopping event in Christmas upon us, and a building desire amongst the Dunkirk-spirit British consumers to make it a ‘special’ one. So there will be plenty of competition from brands to exploit this demand, and those that focus on using their knowledge bank of data will be those that maximise this opportunity.”
REaD Group customer engagement director Scott Logie reckons this lockdown will be different because companies are more set up to be working from home. He explained: “April was a disaster as people had too little time to settle into the new way of working. This time it should be different: for most companies, there will be very little change in fact.”
And while he agrees that many companies could suffer – most notably café and restaurants, gyms and fitness centres – there are opportunities for those brands set up to sell online.
Logie added: “This time we have a captive audience and the need to get ready for Christmas. Some well targeted, multi-channel campaigns, keeping in mind the sensitivity of the current situation, could result in some really good response rates.
“As a company, I feel we have got ourselves sorted so that it is ‘business as usual’ now. We are able to service our clients as well as we could do face-to-face and should be providing everything they need to keep their campaigns going. It’s the run up to Christmas, a really important time for retailers and charities in particular, and we have to ensure that we are there for them to provide whatever support they need.”
Ark Data chief executive Simon McLaven insists that, if anything, brands must market themselves with even more energy and vigour than ever before, adding: “The one thing that we can do this time around is take learnings from the previous lockdown and build them into our own campaigns.”
McLaven believes that one shining light during the pandemic has been the effectiveness of direct mail and door drops, delivering some exceptional results returns across a range of sectors.
He said: “It makes sense, were all at home more, digital campaigns are pinging into our phones by the second and becoming lost. if brands can stick to the tried and tested strategy of right person; right time; right message I really think they will reap the rewards from creative direct mail.”
Even so, McLavern is quick to warn brands to ensure that they run their customer data through leading deceased suppression files.
He concluded: “It would be all too easy right now to inadvertently mail someone who has recently lost a love one, heaping more upset on them at this worst of times and the effects would be so, so damaging to your own brand.”
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